Videos are popular, there’s no denying that. And we all know how learning & development love to jump all over what’s popular. Or do we? If not, it’s true whether it’s the best solution or not L&D loves trying new things, learning new things, and sometimes doing things just because we recently learned it whether the ideal solution or not.
Not everyone is guilty of this and I know many make a big effort not to try solving a problem with the wrong solution. Many don’t do this but there still seems to be an unreasonable draw towards video since it’s so popular between YouTube and TikTok in our private lives.
Yes, they can be useful in our professional lives also but not as much as we’d like to think. And for software tutorials one of the worst solutions for anything longer than a very quick task is videos.
Yes, I said it, videos are a horrible way to learn software, especially complex company software if they’re not broken up into very specific short micro-videos, aka a form of microlearning.
Because video dominates our personal lives, it’s no surprise that software tutorial videos are also immensely popular. But is popularity synonymous with effectiveness?
Video tutorials might not be the best option when it comes to learning company software efficiently. You might be wondering, why is something as visually stimulating such a poor option for learning software.
There’s a lot to unpack here including why video doesn’t always work that well and what some better options are. Videos can certainly be engaging and provide a step-by-step demonstration of how to navigate through various software features. However, they often lack the interactivity and hands-on experience that are crucial for true comprehension and mastery.
Indeed, there exists a better alternative for learning software that also helps put things into real life context with real situations relating to how employees work they must do with the software.
It ensures effective learning and enhances employee performance within the company: custom eLearning with scenarios and software simulation.
This innovative approach combines realistic scenarios that help employees connect what they’re learning to how they’ll use it on the job. It also lets them practice in a safe environment! How cool is that?
It proves a more dynamic learning environment that actively engages employees in problem-solving and decision-making. By actively participating in software simulations, employees can grasp the intricacies of the software, understand how to apply it to their work better and develop the skills necessary to navigate complex situations with the software.
Software video tutorials are fine for a quick hit of one single task where employees know exactly what they need. But not for learning processes, practicing, and gaining a deeper knowledge of system software.
The days of passively watching videos aren’t going anywhere but deeper learning and practice for important company software requires something more. No more hoping to retain information through passively watching on the screen and calling it good.
That’s not good, it’s time to explore the world of custom eLearning with software simulations and witness firsthand how it revolutionizes the way we learn company software.
Get ready to uncover the secrets of effectively helping non-techie employees learn company software.
The Popularity of Software Tutorial Videos
You can learn almost any type of software on YouTube by searching software tutorials and then the software name. You can even learn a lot of different tips and tricks on TikTok though I’m not sure how many full tutorials you’ll find since it’s a short video format.
YouTube has been the #2 most visited site on the internet for a long time and TikTok isn’t doing too bad either in the top 20. TikTok’s website popularity doesn’t account for the app’s popularity, though, which is unarguably very popular.
Software tutorial videos have always been very popular both for consumers learning software as well as at work. Most workplaces even offer learning platforms such as Udemy and LinkedIn Learning which are almost exclusively video-based whether software or not.
That means video is the single most popular way to learn software whether complex or not. I learned how to use After Effects from videos and when I want to learn how to perform a task I usually run across a video.
Needless to say, video is damn popular.
With the rise of platforms like YouTube and the increasing accessibility of video creation tools, it’s easier than ever to find a tutorial for just about any software program. These videos offer a step-by-step demonstration of how to use different features and navigate through various interfaces, making them seem like an ideal learning resource for software.
However, popularity doesn’t always equate to effectiveness. While software tutorial videos may be visually engaging and provide a basic understanding of how to use certain functions, they have their limitations when it comes to truly learning company software.
There are many limitations to using video tutorials for learning software. Let’s dig a little deeper into those limitations.
Limitations of Video Tutorials for Learning Software
There are many limitations of video tutorials which make it easy and popular but not the best solutions for helping employees learn software. Here are a few of the reasons why contrary to their popularity video isn’t the best solution for video tutorials.
Lack of Interactivity
One major limitation of video tutorials is the lack of interactivity. Watching a video is a passive experience that doesn’t require active engagement or critical thinking. Of course, those people who care about learning the software will do whatever it takes to learn it, but it’s not going to ensure people learn the details they need to effectively do their job.
It’s easy for people to become passive observers rather than active learners. This can lead to a superficial understanding of the software without truly grasping its intricacies and doing it for yourself.
Heck, I’ve even cared about learning software but found myself zoning out a bit because of talking and then missing where the software walkthrough part started up again. Then that means I have to back up a bit.
And that’s not even mentioning getting tired of tabbing back and forth between the video and my software while trying to pause and not miss anything. That’s about as interactive as videos get and it just doesn’t cut it for real learning.
The only way you’re getting hands-on experience with a software video tutorial is if you’re tabbing back and forth doing what’s being done in the video and trying to keep up. Oops, didn’t move fast enough? Now you have to rewind and try to find the spot where you got left behind.
All that I can say about that is ugh because I’ve been through it way too many times and I don’t want to go through that at work too.
Learning by doing is the most effective way to learn when possible. It helps you retain information better and develops practical skills that can be applied directly to work. Without the opportunity to practice using the software firsthand, employees may struggle to apply what they’ve learned in real-world scenarios.
No Skill Checks
This one isn’t always relevant because employees are doing it while learning but sometimes it is. If the software being learned is essential and accuracy is vital then checking skills is important.
Videos can’t check for skills unless it’s a separate event from the video or the video is part of a course. All of that is so impractical when an eLearning course can provide better practice as well as skill checks all rolled into one package.
Tiring Format To Learn Software
Maybe you think I’m exaggerating but I don’t think I am, but learning software from a video is tiring. Some processes get tricky fast, constantly tabbing back and forth between a video and your software isn’t ideal.
I’ve also found some of the most helpful software tutorials in written formats and in fact, learned many complex tasks for SharePoint from Microsoft help articles alone with absolutely no video involved.
Not to mention I can skim a help article a lot easier than I can a video. But that one doesn’t apply to eLearning since it’s not easily scanable. But ultimately it comes down to video being the least effective and most tiring way to learn software. It’s just not practice even though it’s extremely popular.
There are better options for helping employees learn company software even though they aren’t as popular and are sometimes more expensive. Then again is it more expensive if it’s effective?
Enhancing Employee Performance through Custom eLearning
To overcome these limitations of software video tutorials, there’s nothing better than a mix of help articles and our favorite and specialty, custom eLearning solutions for software simulations.
Custom eLearning is an easy way to combine stories, scenarios, and realistic practice that puts into context the process needed to truly learn company software. It’s a practical application with all the best elements for a real story of how employees will use the software for their jobs.
There’s nothing better than creating an interactive learning environment that actively engages employees in problem-solving and decision-making while having them do the process the same way they’ll do it on the job.
By incorporating realistic software simulations and scenarios, employees can actively participate in how they’ll use the new tools for their jobs. The best part? They get to do it in a safe environment.
Most of the time company software isn’t available to employees yet (but it should be available soon because training as close to the time of need is essential!) so they can’t practice. Or worse, if they practice in the real system then they’re liable to mess something up. Eeek!
Realistic software simulations allow employees to get real practice with real-world scenarios but in a safe environment. That’s a much better way to learn if you ask me.
Let’s take a deeper look at the hands-on approach and how it allows employees to develop critical thinking skills and gain practical experience in navigating complex company software.
The Importance of Interactivity and Hands-on Experience
You already know videos can’t provide the level of interactivity a software simulation provides. But why is that even important?
There are two situations I can think of off the top of my head as to why video tutorials are bad for learning company software:
- Employees shouldn’t watch a video and practice in a real company system that could break something or cause issues.
- Training is often done before employees get access to company software, so they’re passively watching videos that are difficult to understand without actually doing anything.
That should be enough to scare you off of software video tutorials for company software. And then there’s the fact that performance is the goal of teaching employees how to use software. I mean, that’s why we think performance objectives are a better state of mind than learning objectives.
Performance means doing something and learning to do something is best learning by doing it but in a safe environment. That means interactive software simulations are the absolute best way to learn company software.
Interactivity is key when it comes to effective learning. By actively engaging with the software, employees will retain information and develop a deeper understanding of the software.
Custom eLearning development always includes interactive elements and employees get to click their way through their learning. No more sitting back slack-jawed while the video goes right by them.
With good storytelling and scenarios, there are sometimes also great opportunities for decision-making and challenging employees with situational learning.
Hands-on experience is crucial for learning software. By providing employees with the opportunity to practice using the (simulated) software themselves, they gain confidence in their abilities and develop the muscle memory necessary for efficiently navigating processes and critical thinking.
The results of interactivity in realistic software simulations are so much more powerful than passively watching a video. Practical experience allows people to become more proficient in using the software and using critical thinking to work their way through problems instead of always simply reaching for the phone for help.
Of course, there’s no reason you should discourage them from contacting someone if they need help. We would never encourage you to do that.
Now it’s time to move on to how scenarios and the context that can be built into software simulations will empower your employees with company software.
The Role of Scenarios And Context That Videos Don’t Provide
Next to interactivity, the biggest advantage of custom eLearning is the ability to create scenarios that closely resemble real-world situations. Videos typically provide a process that is straightforward and task-based. It’s simply not comprehensive in helping employees apply that information to their jobs, though. And sometimes software processes and procedures don’t make sense without the full context.
Videos may provide a general overview of how to use certain features, but they often lack context and fail to address specific challenges that employees may face. Software simulations in custom eLearning can be tailored to address specific job roles within the company, allowing employees to practice using the software in scenarios that are relevant to their daily tasks.
This contextual learning helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, ensuring that employees are prepared to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. Learning doesn’t get any better than that when you learn the software and how to apply the processes to your job.
Now that’s real learning!
Benefits of Custom eLearning for Learning Company Software
Earlier in this post you saw the limitations of video for learning software. Let’s flip that around and see some of the benefits of custom eLearning for learning company software.
With a custom eLearning course that’s well-built, there’s no lack of interactivity. Employees are using their brains and clicking through actual simulated software from the beginning.
Employees come out of their training with real-world experience that ensures they’re ready to do their job with the new system. That means they’re more comfortable in their job and ready to go.
Thorough software simulations can include skill checks when relevant. That means they can learn how to use the tool and also be asked to demonstrate exactly how to do the tasks they learned. That way it’s not a boring multiple-choice or true/false test, it’s a real, interactive skill check.
Software simulations are true to the software employees are learning. That means there’s no flipping back and forth between software and a video. Even if the software isn’t available to employees yet they can learn it by clicking through and performing the actions rather than passively observing. It’s not tiring at all!
Are you ready to transition from having your employees passively watch software tutorial videos and move into a more interactive way of learning? Read on!
Transitioning from Passive Watching to Active Learning
To transition from passive watching of video tutorials to active learning through custom eLearning, companies need to invest in developing comprehensive training programs for company software. That doesn’t mean all software tutorial videos are thrown in the recycle bin, though.
Software tutorial videos still have their place for quick and short tasks that don’t need a lot of context. They’re also useful for quick walkthroughs by a subject matter expert who needs to share something quickly. And lastly, they’re also useful when the number of employees needing to learn the software is few in numbers (less than 100-300 or so).
Designing software simulations is much more detailed than software tutorial videos, takes longer, and costs more money. A short tutorial video might take employees 3-5 minutes to watch and cost $4,000-$7,000 to develop. However, a custom software simulation course might take 15-20 minutes for employees to take and cost $15,000-$20,000 to create.
It’s more expensive but for scalable and effective training for company software, nothing beats a custom eLearning software simulation course. It’s more effective in every way and provides real practice when there’s something at stake for employees that they must get right and be efficient using the software.
Good training provides employees with the tools and resources they need to actively engage with software and feel comfortable using it. Companies can enhance employee performance and productivity with a good software simulation course that delivers real practice.
Custom eLearning not only equips employees with the skills necessary to navigate complex software systems but also empowers them to understand exactly how to apply what they learned to their jobs.
While software tutorial videos may be popular, they’re not always the most effective option for helping employees learn company software. Custom eLearning offers a more engaging and interactive learning experience that incorporates hands-on practice, scenarios, and context.
Videos are passive while realistic software simulations are interactive. By transitioning from passive watching to active learning, companies can enhance employee performance and ensure that their workforce is equipped with the skills necessary to excel in using company software.
So, even though videos are popular on YouTube and TikTok, they’re not the practice best solution for learning company software. It’s time for your organization to embrace the power of software simulations in custom eLearning and unlock the true potential of your employees.
We specialize in corporate IT training, especially realistic software simulations for company software. If you’re ready to help employees achieve better results with company software, schedule a free consultation, and let’s talk about your next company software launch.