Video is the New Flip Chart
Video has been a part of adult learning for as long as anyone can remember.  So why all the fuss today about video and learning?

 

Learning video started out with the old film strip.  Curtains were closed in our seminar rooms, the lights dimmed and then the film projector was fired up with that familiar sound of clackety-clack.  

Movie projectors were superseded by big clunky video machines that often didn’t work.  Then DVDs came along and we played video from our computers.

The Difference Is That We Can Now Make the Video

What’s changed is that technology has become so cheap that anyone can afford to buy video equipment and churn out video that’s half-decent. And while the technology has plummeted in price, the sophistication of this newly affordable gear has skyrocketed.  

The quality of video we get from these new cheap cameras means we don’t need to do half as much work to get as good pictures as TV professionals do with higher-end cameras. Sure they need more control but the compromise gives us access to making great video.

As a result, trainers now have the potential to make engaging video for next to nothing that extends the reach of our learning beyond the classroom while also giving us the opportunity to bring the outside world into the classroom. Learning is even more accessible. It doesn’t just help the trainer and trainee.

For the organization, on-demand learning video offers learners the opportunity to fit learning around their disparate schedules. And it saves the time, cost, and stress of travel.

Bringing the Outside World In

Trainers who deliver the same class once a month or even several times a month understand the challenge of bringing subject matter experts (SMEs) into the classroom.  

Having SMEs in the classroom makes the learning more “real world” and gives learners direct access to people on the ground.  

But ask an SME to give up an hour every week or so and you get a flat no. “I gotta do my day job!” they’ll tell you.  

Video gives you the opportunity to record your SME so you can have her appearance every time you run the class without having to imposing on her time.

Plus, as the SME talks about a chemical process in the plant, you can use the video opportunity to cut to video that shows what she’s talking about bringing her content to life. This is more enriching than the SME talking about it, showing dull, lifeless PowerPoint slides or worse still using an overhead projector.

Taking Learning Outside the Classroom

Not everyone in the workplace needs a whole course.  Sometimes it’s a quick nugget to help solve a problem on the run.  Video is very good in short, sharp nuggets.  It’s perfect for just-in-time learning.  

Once upon a time, someone in the field could call a trainer for a quick learning moment. Nowadays, trainers don’t have as much time.  So video enables them to access key learning when they need it.

On-demand learning, which is what you get from video, dovetails nicely into some adult learning principles we all hold close such as self-paced, interactive and at a place where the learner wants it as well as at a time the learner wants it.

Of course video will be playing a big part in mobile learning as we make learning available in what I call the 4-As… learning Anytime, Anywhere, for Anyone, and Anyhow.

Helping the Organization

We all know that organizations get excited when they can see opportunities to save money. So delivering learning via video gets the attention of the finance folks. Even if it only reduces face-to-face needs by 30%, it is saving money.

It saves much of the time lost as high performers sit in airports and trudge through security lines waiting for flights to attend training on the other side of the country.  

And it saves hotel costs because content that was formerly delivered face-to-face can be delivered via video. This can lead to four face-to-face days becoming two face-to-face days because content is pre-learned.

Well-shot video also improves some learning.

Implications for Workplace Learning Professionals

So video offers a bunch of advantages for trainers. Having the skill to create video for e-learning, use in a classroom, or distribution by mobile is going to be very important in the next few years.

Trainers who are seriously investigating video will find three areas of development crucial to their success. The first is technical. The second is psychological. And the third is workflow.

First, trainers will need to learn how to get good shots using consumer level cameras. Good shots attract eyeballs. Bad shots do not. If you have shaky-cam, poorly composed shots, or poor audio, viewers will quickly click away from your video, or worse still, let their minds wander.

Many techniques professionals use in the media business can be applied to entry-level and consumer-level cameras. This comes down to how to operate the camera as well as develop a sense for visual composition.

Second, learning professionals need to learn the psychology of media and video communication. E-learning grows from the same root principles as classroom communication but requires a different set of skills.

Third, learning professionals need to learn how to make video efficiently. It’s not something they should dabble with. Trainers should learn workflows that enable them to churn out more video rather than less. And workflows that minimize mistakes.

Master these three areas and trainers will be creating fabulous content, doing it fast, and doing it affordably. And in the process they’ll be extending their learning beyond the classroom and bringing the world into the classroom via video. The net result will be learning for learners that can be taken anywhere, anytime, anyhow and by anyone.



Jonathan Halls is the author of the ASTD Best Selling book, Rapid Video Development for Trainers. ASTD has just launched an intensive two-day workshop based on the book, Rapid Video Development for Learning Certificate.