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Video Training Tips
by Joan Krawitz, Vice President
Major Media Productions, Inc.
Video can be one of the most effective tools in your training arsenal.  In our training and consulting practice, we have found that many trainers and managers fail to get the most out of the tapes that are available to them.  The next time you preview or use a training video, try these tips. 
Set realistic objectives.  
What do you want viewers to be able to do after they watch the tape?  A videotape can give them some insight into ideas or skills that they need to learn, but don't expect the tape to do all the work.  If you want them to change their behavior, they will need a chance to discuss the ideas and practice the skills before they return to the workplace. 
Read the printed materials when you preview a tape. 
Most tapes come with excellent Leaders' Guides and participant workbooks  that you can use  to help viewers put the ideas into action. Don't make the mistake of popping the tape into your VCR and setting the printed material aside. 
Consider different viewing options.  
Training tapes aren't structured like feature films.  They are often more interesting and effective when viewed in segments.  In fact, many tapes are designed to be presented with breaks for discussion or practice. In many cases, these optional breaks are noted in the Leader's Guide, along with suggestions for activities. 
Brush up your facilitation skills.  
Your trainees will get far more out of any tape if you know how to lead group discussions.  The better your facilitation skills, the more they will learn. Ask them how key points in the video pertain to them. Then ask them to discuss how they might use the ideas to do their jobs better.  For instance, if the video deals with sales or service skills, ask the trainees to relate the ideas to your company's products and customers.  If your facilitation skills need work, you might want to ask Major Media about our training video, Facilitate!
Be creative. 
Choose a video that focuses on the right ideas or skills, and develop your own training plan around it.  Introduce examples from your company.  Think up role plays or case studies that will let your trainees apply the information to situations that are familiar to them.  Use your own creativity and understanding of your company to turn a generic video into a customized learning experience. 

Award-winning writer/producer and instructional designer, Joan Krawitz is a founding partner of Major Media Productions.  Major Media produces custom video, and provides consulting and training in facilitation skills, sales, service, management and team development.