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Experience over Age in Video Learning

The Wainhouse Research Blog

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on Unified Communications & Collaboration


Experience over Age in Video Learning

By: -
16 Mar 2017

The volume of articles covering how different the Millennial generation is from the older, Generation-X and Baby Boomer cohorts seems to have waned some in the past year. While I suspect reader fatigue is one likely cause of the decline, I wonder if in fact we’re not all that different.  And I have some data that backs me up.

Last October, Wainhouse Research conducted a survey of 1,801 workers who were at least 21 years old. The group was asked questions about its usage and attitudes toward various types of business video, both live streaming and on-demand.

The chart below shows how younger workers are much more likely to agree with the statement, “I learn more from watching on-demand training content then I do spending a similar amount of time in a live training session.” In fact, those 40 or younger, Millennials and youthful Gen-Xers, strongly agree with the statement almost twice as much as older Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. 

Agreement that On-Demand Training Is More Efficient Than Live Training by Age Group

What could cause older folks to be less likely to agree that time spent watching on-demand training content is MORE productive in terms of learning compared to live training? Certainly, the older you are the less exposure you had to technology in both K-12 and college, so there may be less familiarity compared to younger workers.  But age isn’t a perfect predictor of agreement – the youngest group, 21-25, also show lower levels of agreement than those in the 26 to 32 and 33 to 40 groups.

What’s a better predictor? Let’s segment the data on experience with video at work as the next chart shows. 

Agreement that On-Demand Training Is More Efficient Than Live Training Based on Usage of Business Video

Compared to segmenting by age, there is a stronger linear correlation between frequency of video use and agreement that one learns more from on-demand learning versus live training. The heaviest users of video, either daily or weekly, are two-to-five times more likely to strongly agree compared to the infrequent and non-users of business video.  Forty-nine percent of daily users strongly agree.

We see the same patterns with several other questions related to video learning technology, in onboarding, enterprise YouTube, and virtual classrooms.  Younger workers are more likely to agree that on-demand video provides value, but the youngest group (21 to 25) shows lower levels of agreement than those in the groups covering 26 to 40. But again, for each of these questions, when we segment for usage, we see more usage equals higher levels of agreement that the technology provides value.

The data offer a couple of takeaways: first, it’s not just for Millennials – on-demand learning is just as popular with the younger half of Generation-X. Second and more important, experience with video is a better predictor than age for seeing value in these programs. So if you have a video learning initiative, this points to a solution for increasing its success: put age aside, and look for ways to increase exposure to video learning for all employees. We’ve seen some interesting programs introduced by organizations, ranging from awareness events like contests to mentoring and coaching groups. Of course, the real key is to make sure your learning content is both easy to find and your employees find it useful.

Interested in video learning?  Want to coach your employees?  Want a method of tying video content to your LMS? 

We’ve just published a comprehensive study detailing the major players who are providing some highly innovative video solutions for learning.  Some of these are straightforward coaching and informal learning tools, some of them are video enabled LMSs, and some are video streaming and video content management systems.   You can read the new report’s abstract and download the executive summary here. Please contact me ([email protected]) or Alan Greenberg ([email protected]) with any questions.