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Using a video or DVD in a training session.


Videos are still one of the most popular audiovisual media used in training. To make the most effective use of video is not easy and careful planning is required. The trainer should ensure the video forms an integral part of the training session, by identifying the main learning points from the video and using these for focussed discussion for example. A good training video holds the viewer's attention, and provides real-life information and scenarios that are not easy to create in a training session. (Selecting a video or DVD for use in training (024) is covered in a related checklist),

National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership

This checklist has relevance to the following standards:

D: working with people, unit 7


This checklist refers to training videos, CDs and DVDs offered by commercial suppliers, and subsequent references to videos in this checklist should be taken to include the additional formats. Training videos cover a wide range of practical workplace skills needed by employees and managers or may provide informational instruction on topics such as workplace health and safety regulations.

Action checklist

1. Obtain the video you wish to use

Purchase or hire well in advance. This is particularly important if you wish to hire, as popular titles are often booked up weeks ahead. Often you may only have the video for a very limited "slot", for example, one or two days only, and you need to make sure that there is time for proper preparation.

2. Prepare for the training session

a) Book the room, which must be suitable for the size of audience and for the display of visual media. When looking for an appropriate room, check that:

* any windows or sky-lights have curtains or blinds to avoid screen glare

* the acoustics are such that echo or other distractions do not occur

* seating is comfortable, allows for note-taking, and is adequate for the expected audience

* sufficient power points are available.

b) Book the equipment you need: video or DVD player, television or computer, overhead projector and a large display screen for example.

c) Make sure that the person operating the equipment is familiar with it.

d) A couple of days before the training session, check that all the equipment is working and that the video is at the correct starting point. Check this again immediately before the session starts.

3. Do your homework

a) Read any documentation supplied with the video, such as a facilitator's guide. This often gives useful information and may provide ready-made activities or points for discussion. The video may also be designed to be viewed in chunks rather than as a whole.

b) Preview the video at least once, making notes of important points to be drawn to the attention of the audience. When viewing the video, look for and note:

* points where you will want to pause for discussion

* areas where the video is weak and may need the trainer to expand

* irrelevant parts the trainees do not need to see.

4. Prepare for viewing

a) Plan when and how the video will be used: as an introduction to the subject, used in sections throughout the course, as a discussion starter, or played at the end as a summary of all the points made in the session. Remember that attention spans are generally short--15-25 minutes is average. Do not attempt to play a long video without breaks.

b) If you use highlights rather than showing the video in its entirety then the relevant clips should be carefully noted and planned for.

c) Prepare all handouts and overhead transparencies that will be used to reinforce the main points. The extras supplied with the video, where applicable, can be used, but it is often better to tailor them to the needs and experience of the audience.

d) Consider questions that you can ask of the audience after the video to reinforce the knowledge obtained.

5. Playing the video

a) Introduce the video before playing it. Let the trainees know why the video is being shown, what they should be looking out for, and what follow-up exercises there will be. Doing this should ensure that the trainees do not treat the video as just a "break" in the session, but as an integral part of it.

b) Save handouts until after the video has been viewed, otherwise trainees tend to read them while the video is being played and may miss important details. Remember that handouts should be used to provide a summary of the key points.

c) At the start of the video ask the audience whether they can hear and see the recording adequately. Make any necessary adjustments.

6. Use in training

Try to stimulate discussion about the video. If the trainees can discuss what they have seen and raise points it will reinforce the learning process. Saying something controversial can often help. Allow the audience to mention experiences they may have had which are similar to the ones they have seen. This is especially useful for those videos which continually show the "wrong" way of doing things. Again, if you bring this real-life aspect into the session, and allow the audience to participate and interact, they will be far more interested and willing to learn.

7. Evaluate the training

a) Obtain as much feedback as possible from the trainees as to the effectiveness of the video, not just by itself but as part of the overall course. This is vital because it enables improvements to be made where necessary and serves as a useful way of making the trainees think again about what they have seen and learnt.

b) If the course is to be run again, make any changes, if needed, to the choice of video or the way it was used, along with any of the extra material such as handouts or overhead transparencies.

Managers should avoid

* using out of date training videos

* distracting the audience with prolonged searching for video clips

* leaving everything to the last minute

* relying too much on the video to get the message across

* using the video purely for entertainment value.

Additional resources


Graphics for learning: proven guidelines for planning designing and evaluating visuals in training materials, Ruth Colvin Clark and Chopeta Lyons

San Francisco Calif: Pfeiffer, 2004

Making training and development work: a best practice guide, Thomas N Garavan, Carole Hogan and Amanda Cahir ODonnell

Cork, Ireland: Oak Tree Press, 2003

Train your team yourself: how to design and deliver effective inhouse training courses, Lisa Hadfield-Law

Oxford: How to Books, 2002

Training techniques tools and tips, Donna Willis

Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2002

This is a selection of books available for loan to members from the Management Information Centre. More information at:

Journal articles

Videos in training when to and how to use them, Gill Peeling

Training Officer, Sep 1995, vol 31 no 7, pp210-211

This is a selection of journal articles available from the Management Information Centre. More information at:

Related checklist

Selecting a video or DVD for use in training (024)

Internet resources

Suppliers of Audio-visual Training Resources:

Factsheet which lists suppliers with coverage areas and contact details. Look under Management Facts and Figures: Information Sources or contact the Management Information Centre for a copy.

Tel: 01536 207400 Email:
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Checklist 076
Publication:Chartered Management Institute: Checklists: Human Resources, Training and Development
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Previous Article:Using psychometric tests.

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