We’re not quite there yet in terms of tapping into the true power of using video – especially in the context of learning and development (L&D). We’re still not really sure how to use it properly. We’ve reached a point with video for learning where it’s now widely recognised as being a vital part of the L&D toolkit, but it either remains an afterthought – “oh we may as well put a video on there to increase engagement” – and we’re not thinking of other approaches, how it can connect in more meaningful ways to the learning outcomes we’re seeking.
I want to encourage you not to see video as secondary to the learning content, but to consider it at the initial stages of design: truly understand its power, and create learning content with video enmeshed in the very fabric of the initiative. That means understanding how it relates to other forms of media (especially text) and also how to approach it through a different lens.
When you put video right at the core of your strategy when starting a new project, the results may truly astonish you, with learner impact and ROI literally smashing through the sound-barrier! Here are my suggestions to achieve amazing results:
1. Always over-film to give yourself plenty of options
So you’ve got a video that you’ve had someone shoot for you, or you’ve done it yourself? It doesn’t need to be just one video file that sits wherever it’s going to sit, waiting for your learners. Your video doesn’t need to be a one-trick pony.
Even before you start filming, look beyond the content you’d like to create – see the opportunity you’ve got with your interviewee/expert/storyteller (there’s a hint there). Think of other questions that connect and over-film.
Yes, you’ll end up with a shed load of content, but then you have content that you can layer – where you can slice and dice videos across your chosen platform, and interlace it with text, or photographs, or art, that takes people along a journey, a pathway that creates a learning environment.
2. Discover the passion, the heart, the story, the ‘why’
Ask too many questions, ask some questions twice. Ask people to tell you stories about what good and bad looks like, what happens when things go right or wrong, what inspires them, why anyone should care about what it is you’re discussing in the first place, are they proud of what they do? It all boils down to finding out what they’re passionate about – I call this, finding out about their own personal ‘why’.
Even if you’re working in one of the most techie roles you can get, there’s always a human angle. Even behind the hardest of data, you’ll find stories, and that’s what you want to get to. With the right questions, you can get people to drop out of the corporate rhetoric or tech talk for a moment, and say something from the heart that will inspire and connect.
3. Take a multi-layered approach
Move away from the idea of just having that one video that tries to encompass everything you want your learners to walk away with.
Naturally, have a core, essential video, but signpost them to the stories, or alternative views, or the video that reads between the lines a little and explains more about what’s in the main video. These are all things that, in an ideal world with epic attention spans, could be edited into one long video. You just need to find an alternative way to offer them.
If you take the layered approach, ask yourself which videos/content will people find most compelling? For example, is the process/fact oriented video better served up as text, with micro-videos that connect with it, to take viewers deeper into the context and importance?
In video production, there’s so much content that can end up on the cutting room floor, and often this is simply because we need to keep the length of the video down. By taking a layered approach, you’re able to keep hold of more content, and also give viewers a choice as to what they want to watch.
If you do this, you’ll suddenly find that you’ve got a whole range of new possibilities that can go beyond your own agenda and reach out to social media (they love a soundbite), marketing and HR (especially recruitment) and internal comms.
It’s about layering relevant and authentic content throughout your organisation, but also occasionally slapping it up on the walls that are facing both inside and out.
Ultimately, layering video for head and for heart is about making content available to your learners that gives them the choice to go deeper; using the power of video that goes beyond facts, into the realm of storytelling and biography; creating a learning environment that we can ‘feel’ as well as know.
Mark Davies is the founder of See Learning Films, a niche company that specialises in video production and in-house video training for L&D. Find out more at http://seelearning.co.uk/