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February 15, 2016

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Interactive video, the next step in OSH e-Learning

Online e-Learning is an established form of health and safety training, it’s promoted as being cost effective and importantly, for compliance, you can provide proof via a Learning Management System (LMS) that trainees have logged onto the course and passed the test. This test is often little more than some straightforward multiple choice questions. For something as vital as health and safety training is it enough to know that it didn’t cost too much and that people have looked at it? Duncan Brown, Company Director of production company Outtakes Ltd., would suggest not.

Video, after ten years of YouTube, is the most engaging and popular way of online learning. These days if you want to learn anything; from how to knit, to how to strip a motorcycle engine, you can simply watch a video online. People using this facility in their millions suggests that it is both a preferred and effective method of learning. More formal, work-based e-Learning is surely missing a trick.

People like to watch and learn through video so why does most work related e-Learning present them with the standard tick box model? I think it is unlikely that people in their millions would log on to learn about their hobby if all they were offered was essentially an animated presentation that asked them a series of questions. So video is good, but if you have to know that your trainees have seen and engaged with the material, you need to teach then it’s not good enough. Interactive video that teaches and tests and is recordable is about to transform e-Learning for good.

In this still from the introduction to an interactive office safety film there is a trip hazard created by the jacket on the floor. The trainee must click on it. Images courtesy of Mott MacDonald

In this still from the introduction to an interactive office safety film there is a trip hazard created by the jacket on the floor. The trainee must click on it.
Images courtesy of Mott MacDonald


To record that they have seen it. The popup window then gives further information about the hazard.

To record that they have seen it. The popup window then gives further information about the hazard. Images courtesy of Mott MacDonald

Imagine that you want to teach awareness of hazards in your workplace for example; film shot on your site or in a similar environment runs in near real-time. As the camera moves through the workplace the viewer must click on the hazards that they spot. They are rewarded with a popup box that not only affirms their choice, but also gives them more targeted learning. So, a popup about work at height activated by clicking on an unsecured ladder will contain more film, audio, text – whatever you like- that describes the best way to secure the ladder, the optimum angle for the ladder, the times when using a ladder is not appropriate and the alternative ways of reaching a job at height. Once the popup is finished the trainee is returned to the core video. Your LMS has recorded the click, you know they have recognised the hazard, and you also know that they have been given material about how to access work at height safely.

That is interactive video at its simplest. What else it can do is up to our collective imaginations, but even in this simple example your trainees will have learned more, and more quickly than in any other type of e-Learning. The real world of work is visual, audible and interactive and as far as possible training material should reflect that.

Interactive video production is not expensive, in fact its cost is comparative with ‘traditional’ elearning. By definition film shot in workplaces is realistic and easy for people to relate to. When interactivity provides the testing and the learning as described above, the whole training process is quicker, more targeted and does much more than just ‘tick the box’.

With an LMS recording every click and, perhaps more importantly, every time a click doesn’t happen, trainers have a record of what has been learned and what they need to refocus on. Interactive video is certainly different from traditional e-Learning but at the end of an hour of reading and answering questions, isn’t that what every trainee wants?

Outtakes LtdFullSizeRender (2) is an established (founded in 1994) corporate production company based in Greenwich SE London that has specialised in OSH films including its work with Jason Anker:
Duncan Brown, Company Director, has a unique understanding of the effectiveness of web-based interactive film.  Before founding Outtakes, Duncan was the publisher of the New Scientist and successfully launched new publications at other leading publishers such  as Emap and VNU.

For an overview of interactive video technology from James Cory- Wright Head of Learning Design at City & Guilds Kineo click here. 

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