Interactive video: Drive learning retention and measurable business value

by Erika Trautman |

This story was originally published via Learning Solutions Magazine.

As an eLearning professional, you strive to find better ways to drive learning retention—teaching audiences so they’ll absorb and remember information. But eLearning practitioners are evolving from teaching by talking at their audience to teaching by involving their audience. And what better way to involve your audience than by offering them an experience they can interact with?

Interactive content can take many forms—quizzes, infographics, white papers, eBooks, and the list goes on—but I’m going to focus on interactive video and how you can use this technology to not only drive learning retention but also drive measurable business value.

Before we begin, it’s important to understand that not all interactive video solutions in the marketplace today are created equal. And that’s especially true when we look at their ability to make new knowledge stick and calculate performance analytics. Let’s start by first establishing why you should care about interactive video in the first place.

Why interactive video?

Innovation is disrupting how we work, communicate, consume, and play. The disruption is experiential, as we are no longer a passive audience that sits back to consume content pushed to us. We are now a population of interactive users—touching, swiping, and tapping our way into discovering the information we need to do a better job or live a better life.

What matters is that the viewer is in control. Control creates relevance for the audience, which results in highly impactful content for the enterprise.

To prove our theory that people want control of their content, Rapt Media surveyed 500 consumers to better understand their online consumption of content. We validated our assumption: 64 percent said they’re more likely to spend time watching video if given more options to interact with it.

Companies need to reimagine the way they digitally interact by putting the individual in the driver’s seat. One way to do this is to marry user experience with the power of video.

Not all interactive video technologies are created equal

Interactive video has been around for some time, but not all interactive video solutions are created equal regarding their ability to connect, engage, and deliver measurable return on investment. Here’s how the different types of interactive video break down and how to think about them:

Linear video with interactive hotspots (annotations)

Most interactive video technologies can overlay hotspots on linear videos. Hotspots enable the viewer to click out to more information about the topic they are watching.


  • Provides the user with more information
  • The user is interacting more than just hitting play and pause


  • This form is still a one-size-fits-all video
  • Linking out to more information doesn’t provide in-depth data and insights around content preferences, nor does it let the user choose a specific content path

Personalized video (data)

Personalized video pulls in data in advance (name, location, time, etc.), presenting the user with a video unique to them (“Hi, Alexander!”). With content specific to them, users feel like they’re seeing a one-to-one video.


  • Great for grabbing attention
  • Useful for walking users through complex information specific to them
  • Makes the content relevant to the user


  • Though personalized specifically for the individual, it is still a passive, linear experience, and the user doesn’t have control of the content they see
  • As a result, it doesn’t capitalize on the opportunity to derive real-time data and insights from the user behavior within the video

User-experience video (branching)

User-experience video, or branching interactive video, is all about user control, enabling users to drive their own experience, skip irrelevant content, and gather information at a self-determined pace.

User-experience video provides the equivalent value of a two-way conversation. The company delivers its information to the user, who makes choices within the video, customizing the experience. The user’s actions then allow the company to derive data and insights.


  • By providing users with control, you invite your employees and learners to lean forward and take part. The user is more invested in the content due to their participation, which leads to deeper engagement, enhanced learning, and accelerated behavior change.
  • You can measure and optimize choice-based behavioral insights to extract business value.
  • Companies that invest in tech that allows them to build immersive user experiences reap the rewards of ongoing successful employee learning, growth, and development.


  • Investing in this format requires a change to your strategy and workflow.
  • You need to think user experience first and video second, more than in the other two forms of interactive video above.

Let’s look at an example from Deloitte. The experience, Will You Fit Into Deloitte, is a point-of-view, interactive recruitment and onboarding video that takes users inside the company’s culture while also educating them on Deloitte’s various service lines. The user is in the driver’s seat and has the power to choose their own path, allowing users to learn more and continue to the application process.

Driving learning retention

As you can see, user experience video versus linear video allows the user to simplify a complex subject by choosing what information is most relevant and meaningful to them. With interactive video, eLearning practitioners can build one experience that speaks to multiple segments or target personas with different levels of information. This leads to learning retention and the ability to build in measurable calls to actions—all of which accelerates behavior change.

As I previously wrote here for Learning Solutions Magazine in “The Impact of Interactivity and Video on Learning,” in addition to enhanced engagement, interactive video content is also more likely to sink in. In fact, we’ve found that users retain data more readily (and remember it for longer) when it’s relayed through interactive video versus traditional video. They’re paying more attention to the content because it’s more engaging and relevant. It’s as simple as that.

By adding choices and interactivity to your video, you invite individuals to lean forward and participate.

The benefits of being able to access or discover information are significant. As author Paul Clothier writes in this Learning Solutions article, interacting with videos that offer branching and options can aid discovery. “This promotes learning and increases information retention,” Clothier said.

And while video-based learning typically takes cues from traditional classroom lectures, only branching interactive video allows for an experience more akin to a discussion where the learner chooses the lesson’s pace, repetition, and direction. With interactive video, you can present your content in more compelling, learner-friendly ways to boost lasting learning and behavior change while improving user satisfaction for powerful gains on your eLearning investment.

Driving measurable business value

By providing users with control, you ultimately drive desired behaviors because the user is more invested in the content due to their participation. Building your experiences with data, behaviors, and insights in mind means each interaction is an opportunity to provide meaningful data and insights. The insights also have business value, as they can help you be more effective and efficient by optimizing both the experience and channel for your different users.

By understanding your audience preferences, you can iterate and optimize your video experience and communicate with your learners based on their preferences. You can apply cost savings or new value calculations to find the rate of your return.

However, most people have a hard time transforming their thinking around video as a linear medium designed to deliver key messages. Changing your thinking and approach as it relates to user experience video requires new expertise, workflows, and metrics. To help learning practitioners interested in user-experience video calculate the potential business value of their interactive learning experience, we designed a step-by-step guide in our ROI Workbook (link below).


So, while there’s no denying that interactivity can help your eLearning content in terms of learning retention and being able to prove its ROI, it’s important to remember to choose your interactive tools wisely. As you’ve seen with the three main types of interactive video technologies, not all are created equal.

Ready to reimagine and build video experiences that are relevant to the individual, drive desired behaviors, and deliver meaningful data, insights, and return on investment? Download Rapt Media’s new Strategic Guide and ROI Workbook to start building user experiences with videos that drive valuable results.

Rapt Media Strategic Guide & ROI Workbook

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