It seems that I am not a very good tutorial video student. I like audio clips and MP3s but videoclips I find rather difficult to concentrate on, but many people enjoy watching lively videos or hearing human voices over reading text. However I dislike learning with video tutorials. I prefer having something written down in a manual that I can refer to whenever I feel like it. I can’t pull out a video in the car, and I don’t want to take training lessons with me on the go.

I want something I can read. Think over. Highlight. Skim and scan. Jot notes. Come back to tomorrow. Revisit next week. Print out and take with me.

I can’t do that with a video. I have to focus and listen hard to make sure I’ve captured everything. I lose track of the pointer or action on the screen. I have to concentrate and follow along. I can’t get distracted. I can’t set it down and come back later, unless I’ve bookmarked the video or noted the URL somewhere.

People don’t have one standard when it comes to learning. Humans typically belong to one of three learning type groups: tactile, auditory, or visual. So while you may love your video training courses, you can’t be sure that your associate learns well using the same media.

Here’s an example of different learning types: If I were learning to be a wildlife reserve guide, a map on the wall outlining all the paths and intersections available in the reserve could be used. I could use that map, ask for landmarks I’d spot at various points, and travel each path once and I would never got lost.

A fellow trainee guide however might be the complete opposite.  She might not need a map. She wouldn’t ask for landmarks. She would ask for a spoken description and would listened intently. She’d repeat the information back to make sure she’d gotten it all, and that was it – and she wouldn’t get lost.

Don’t Make them Listen to Learn

The current trend leaning towards teaching videos is a good one, because it lets auditory learners get the information they want in the media they like best. The problem is that in leaning towards videos, people are leaving the visual learners behind.

No more articles, no more posts. No more text. It’s all about video – and that’s… not very smart.

If you’re choosing to move away from text into the video world, you’re neglecting a third of your potential customers. All the visual learners would be happy to give you money for your expertise, if only they could get the information you have to sell them in a format that works best for their learning preferences.

So help them out. Offer them downloads.

I don’t mean offer a PDF checklist to go with your one-hour video. I don’t mean giving them a link to the video’s slideshow cue cards. I mean giving them transcripts, hard copies of every word spoken in that video you recorded.

When I get a PDF transcript option on a site, I’m relieved. I’m thankful. I’m grateful. I love the person for remembering that people who have my learning type and people who prefer old-fashioned text-only-please really do exist.

We’re not all into the coolness of video. Really. Especially when it comes to learning.

Speech-to-Text is Dead Easy, Folks

Here’s the long and short of it: If you’re going to do a video, it’s a really nice thing to offer your audience a PDF transcript, too. Really. Even if you don’t think PDFs are cool. Even if you hate text. Even if you’re the trendiest person on earth.

There are people who don’t want to listen to learn. Those people want what you’re offering. So forget being cool. Forget being trendy. Sure, stay on top of technology, but don’t forget that people learn in different ways.

It’s not hard to create a PDF transcript. Get a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking. Turn on your video and play it back into your microphone. The speech-to-text software gived you a pretty good rough draft of your transcript. Edit it, and post that PDF up for people to download.

Or, hire a transcription service. Many transcriptionists can turn your video or audio into a nice text document in damned good time. Heck, even we can transcribe audio and video for you. (Yes, there’s a difference between transcription and learning through listening. The two are not the same.)

Call me old-fashioned if you’d like. Go ahead and laugh that I’m behind the times. Poke fun that I’m resisting change or shunning technology. But just keep this in mind:

If you’re excluding your students, you’re not preparing them to be good medical practitioners!