How to rethink learning and development programmes with video storytelling

by | Jul 29, 2020 | Resources

From the start of lockdown, learning and development professionals were fast out of the blocks to reimagine how they could support a more virtual workforce.

Faced with an overnight increase in demand for online from both senior stakeholders and users many teams found themselves in the digital transformation slipstream. Initially, this might have meant creating or curating useful content or speedily converting face-to-face development programmes to virtual classrooms. As teams start re-boarding colleagues after furlough and reassessing strategic priorities it’s time to reflect on what’s working, what’s not and prepare for bolder changes.

As a medium, video has been one of lockdown’s winners helping people connect and work with each other so it’s no surprise that both live video platforms and video learning content top L&D’s ‘most successful’ list in Fosway’s recent research

On the user-generated side of things, this tallies with our experience at StoryTagger – teams are crying out for agile, human and scalable ways of sharing expertise and valuable experiences. With the current mass migration of learning to online we hope you find the following extracts useful. They’re from one of our most popular customer guides: How to embed video storytelling in development programmes.

First a quick word on live video

If you are experimenting with video conferencing tools to run online training you are not alone. According to Fosway, 53% L&D professionals rate virtual classrooms as the most successful platform in supporting their organisations during the pandemic. However, as you innovate it’s natural to see unexpected challenges surfacing too.


Most common challenges when pivoting from face-to-face to live video 

1. Not everyone finds it easy to concentrate or get their voice heard.

2. Trainers and delegates find long sessions exhausting.

3. Smaller classes mean more classes. 

4. Interaction is vital, but sessions are at risk of overrunning. 

5. Home working can make live calls difficult.

6. Time is limited for creativity or reflection.


How can you overcome these challenges? We believe live video will continue to play a central role in digital learning, but by blending the experience with asynchronous video storytelling you can make it more impactful.

Designing a development programme to include video storytelling

The first thing to do is to consider what you want to achieve and where it will add value. Are you designing a programme from scratch? Reimagining an existing development programme as a virtual classroom experience, or simply to improve how it works? 

As you think about the shape of the programme you may want to consider why, when and how you want your participants to:

  • Get to know each other.
  • Create dialogue, input into live sessions in advance or provide feedback.
  • Share tips, techniques or experiences that can build up a body of good practice.
  • Reflect on learning or practice.
  • Report on how they’re getting on at work.
  • Capture moments in time across their journey.


Use these popular examples to think about how to embed specific video activities

Our customers continue to innovate with StoryTagger and are always surprising us with new approaches and ways of doing things.


Explore individual needs, objectives and expectations. Give participants a chance to ask questions to their peers or facilitators.

Socialising and personal introductions

Create trusted environments to learn in and help people build meaningful networks. 


Give participants a chance to share how they’re feeling and how what they’ve learned has supported them between longer gaps in the programme.

F2F / virtual classroom session activities

Examples include presentation or elevator pitch practice, communicating a vision or complex story in a concise, impactful way.

Post session reflections

Share key takeaways aligned to specific learning and project needs. 

Facilitator updates

Key learning point reminders, nudges and setting of extra tasks.

Sharing practice and video learning diaries

How learning impacts role and behavior, report on experiments and work-based practice.

Impact and change stories

Capture participant feedback, prove impact and create a momentum for change. 


How to foster a positive environment for video storytelling

As with any technology or activity it’s important to properly embed video storytelling in your programme and make it clear that it’s a part of the learning and expected commitment. You may choose to include it as part of the mandated activities.

After all, for many people this may be the first time they’ve been asked to record a video for work so it’s crucial they know why they’re doing it, the value it’s going to bring and how it’s going to be used.

Here’s five principles to consider: 

  1. Share the value and purpose throughout your programme
    Position video reflection as a core part of the learning experience so everyone is expecting to participate to get the maximum value and skills out of the programme. Include references and call-to-actions at all key programme points to remind people to share their stories. This starts with your learner guide, course materials and joining instructions and continues with clear communications and nudging messages. The good news is StoryTagger has proven workflows to support take up which are built into the platform.
  2. Build trust
    It’s vital that no one feels they are being judged or held to account for the videos they create. There’s no right or wrong. It’s for their development and the development of the cohort. 
  3. Provide the right tools
    Videos don’t need to be super-polished, they just need to be authentic. It’s about the message and people being themselves. StoryTagger helps participants to reflect and share complex purpose-led stories in a simple, concise way.
  4. Support and guidelines
    To help people feel confident and equipped to share a useful video they’ll need guidelines and questions on what to think about. Guidance and structure is central to StoryTagger so you can set up interview structures and prompts to support reflection. There’s a chance one or two people from your cohort will need extra support or encouragement – they won’t be your pioneers but will want to join in once they see the value other participants are creating for themselves and others. There are filming tips in the StoryTagger app menu so refer to these or point them to this collection.
  5. Recognise people who share their videos
    Include discussion prompted by videos in the face-to-face sessions and set challenges based on what people say. As a principle, identify and thank people in communications referencing specific stories and achievements. It’s all part of the dialogue!

21st century skills to improve how we work

To sum up, video storytelling is about more than simply creating video content. It’s about giving people an opportunity to improve their reflective practice, communication, empathy and storytelling skills. By sharing a story, especially one about what we’ve learned or achieved we codify it. This helps us and others do things even better next time.


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