With news of the recent passing of music icon Prince, many people are discussing how his music still feels relevant today. This is fascinating, as much of his more popular tunes are now 20+ years old.

Music is one of those rare things in life that can take on a timeless quality—living on in its original state for generations to come. Training, however, isn’t always as fortunate. If your training videos are adorned with mullets and parachute pants (like a Prince video), it’s probably time to re-think the look and feel of your courses.

training videos

Prince’s passing made us think about how nostalgia is a good thing—but not in every context. Let’s look at a few red flags that indicate your training is in desperate need of an update. It’s time to party beyond 1999.

Evaluating Relevancy in Training Videos and Graphics

Your company may have put together a really innovative and fun training video back in the 1980’s (like this Wendy’s video, for example)—but today, this messaging and angle feels laughable in its aged state.

We’ve talked before about how humor can be a good thing in training, but it shouldn’t be so overkill that it’s distracting for the learners. You’d also like learners to be laughing with your training, not at it. If you showed an outdated video like this one to employees today, do you think they’d remember the important lessons being taught here? Probably not. They’d be too busy laughing at the incessant rapping and the sunglasses-wearing guitar soloist.

The other angle to consider here is the quality. Videos recorded 20+ years ago are now extremely lacking in the quality and clarity that modern recording tools can deliver today—and if nothing else, updated videos and graphics have a sharpness that is missing from old-school productions.

Current Themes

Attitudes and themes radically change over time—which may be another reason your training materials aren’t as up-to-date as you’d think. Just in recent years, there have been dramatic changes to how we legally address topics such as marijuana use, same-sex marriage, and discrimination policies—all of which might be covered in your employee onboarding training in relation to benefits, drug testing, etc.

Even training basics like sexual harassment have become more complex with the introduction of social media. An outdated sexual harassment training video like this one doesn’t even address company policies for social media—because it wasn’t around when it was created. Skipping over important topics on a sensitive subject like this one is not only careless, but can get your business into sticky legal situations, too.

Training: Not as Timeless As Prince’s Music

The main takeaway here: While you may think your older training materials are still okay (maybe a little old, but okay)—you might want to reconsider.

Sure, Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” still sounds great today—but does that silly rap you put together still feel relevant for trainees? Unfortunately, training isn’t as timeless as Prince’s music. Re-evaluate your materials and make sure you’re up to date.