Leveraging Video for Learning

projector-361784_1280In today’s digital age, where technology is advancing exponentially, new opportunities for communicating across time and space are changing like never before. The use of video as a medium for communicating and connecting is exploding. In the midst of this rapid growth, video can be a great asset for learning and teaching. Let’s examine some of the benefits to leveraging video for learning which includes the ability to re-play and review content, establish instructor presence, and visually demonstrate how to do something.

First, video affords learners the opportunity to re-play and review content, as needed. For example, videos of recorded lectures, instructors’ introductions, or an employee assignment from a corporate trainer can all be paused, played and re-played for present and future generations to come. Video permanently records the learning. Many interactive videos also include built-in automatic pauses with intermittent quizzes as a way of administering knowledge checks and corrective feedback to accompany learning. Including repetition over spaced intervals of learning is also important, and can be administered through video. As educational neuroscientist Janet Zadina attests, repetition results in the repeated firing of brain networks and is a critical component for most learning.

Second, video helps to establish a sense of instructor presence. One of video’s greatest assets is its ability to convey affect, personality, and human presence virtually. In online learning, the absence of a “guide on the side” can impact progress and deeper levels of knowledge construction and application. However, a facilitator whose presence guides the learning, challenges learners, and encourages attendees can facilitate deeper thinking and learning. Anytime an online course or workshop is offered to employees, it’s important to establish this sense of instructor presence. There are other ways to provide presence without video; i.e., threaded discussion boards, course announcements, audio or written feedback on learning assignments, etc. However, both recorded and live video can be ways to establish presence. Recorded video can be used for instructor introductions, to record an instructor’s response to previously submitted learner questions, to facilitate online pre-work before attending training, or to provide opportunities to hear experts or best practices online.

Live video, then, also has its place. Occasional use of live video in a synchronous web conferencing platform by both instructor and attendees, for example, can be used to convey personalities, leverage connection among learners, and provide visual connection cues in a virtual space. Feeling instructor support in training or learning workshops, whether you are in professional development, higher education, or corporate training helps to aid the learning process.

Third, video provides performance support by demonstrating how to complete or do something at the moment of need. When my husband wanted to complete home fix-up tasks like caulking the sink, bathtub faucet and counters, he found helpful videos on YouTube to learn the tips and tricks from experts who caulk professionally. When children need to learn how to create a hairstyle from Star Wars’ characters for Halloween costumes, they search for a “how to” video. Video provides both the visual and audio cues to understand and apply the “how” “where” and “what” for an immediate task at hand. Traditional print instructions are helpful to some, of course, but cognitive resources can be taxed more with print. But the powerful blend of hearing, seeing, and doing result in greater probability of transfer to long-term memory for cognitive storage and retrieval.

Overall, there are multiple benefits to leveraging video for learning. Just a few of those include the ability to re-play videos and reinforce spaced repetition of content, to foster instructor presence across time and space, and to leverage both visual and audio cues to efficiently teach how to do something at the time of need.

How have you used video to learn? What say you?

 

 

Celebrating a Decade: Howles Associates’ Anniversary

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This week our company celebrates its 10th anniversary in business, and our commitment to helping you craft and deliver powerful multimedia messages is stronger than ever. For ten years, it has been our privilege to have made a difference in your professional workplace and in the lives of your customers through Howles Associates, LLC, the online presentation experts.

Although our range of services over the years has evolved based on technologies of the time and clients’ needs, we still stand behind our time-worn mission to help you impact and effect change in your multimedia messaging. We accomplish this through video coaching, multimedia consulting, effective webinar delivery, video scripting and editing, video critiques, visual slide critiques, blended learning workshops on video, visual design, and multimedia, as well as keynotes.

And our commitment to our star service model has never changed. We remain proud to deliver our products and services with the utmost professionalism, multimedia expertise, excellent quality, evidence-based research, while embracing innovation and creativity every step of the way.

Most importantly, as we reflect on the last ten years it is you to whom we owe our greatest and deepest thanks. You have shared your pain points, your challenges, and your needs. You have trusted us with your messaging, explained your goals and desired results, and had the courage to implement what was needed. Working collaboratively with you has been one of our greatest, professional joys. We love the diversity of the client organizations, enjoy learning about your unique purposes, and we especially meeting people like you who want to make a difference. People who want to effect change.

All of us witnessed last weekend that even a small pebble thrown into a pond can create ripples of change never before thought imaginable. For example, the Women’s March in January, 2017 began simply with a Facebook invite from a retiree in Hawaii, Teresa Shook, to 40 of her friends. The ripple effect? Over 2 million marchers across the globe joined the Women’s March and Sister Marches. Now that’s effect.

Using multimedia messaging for your business through combinations of recorded or live voice, visual slides, video, and/or text can also make a difference in your business – all of these modalities can be leveraged effectively to create an effect. Whether it’s informative, educational, persuasive, or entertaining – multimedia tools can create powerful impact. And we love helping you do just that.

So on behalf of our scriptwriters and editors, our video coaches and designers, our graphic artists and web master, we thank you for entrusting Howles Associates with your business for the last 10 years. And we look forward to serving you another 10 years, and many years to come.

 

Backward Design Your Video Scripts

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Have you struggled with where to start when you script your video? It’s easy to get caught up in the myriad of “to do’s” for online videos. You need to set up good lighting, ensure you’re using quality video equipment, find the appropriate backdrop to your content, etc. However, there’s one “to do” element that should take front stage in video planning.

Your video script.

Your video script not only facilitates careful design ahead of time–which will save you a lot of time on shooting day–it also serves as your production blueprint. During a video shoot, it’s okay to not actually speak from your script so you can maintain a conversational and spontaneous feel, but regardless, it’s still helpful to script out your message ahead of time so you know where you’re headed.

Some individuals insist they can successfully “wing” their video productions, but this is quite rare because without pre-production planning, scripting and rehearsing ahead of time, your shoot will likely require many more re-takes. This translates into more cost and more time.

So how should you begin scripting?

A helpful technique to guide your scripting is backward design, which has been useful in other applications as well. As the name implies, this means the scriptwriter or designer works backwards. For example, you would first identify what kind of impact you want the video to produce? Do you want viewers to buy something, thing more highly of your brand, associate you with a unique message, learn something, be able to apply XYZ? Whatever it may be, identify the impact clearly and document it in writing.

Then based on the impact you want to have, identify what goals need to be accomplished to be successful. Keep goals limited to two-four in order to keep the scope manageable and achievable.

Your goals then drive the creation of an outline. As you write the outline, ensure your outline includes the call-to-action at the end or a memorable take-away. The outline should also include key points and sub-points to support your key message. You can use cut-away shots, testimonials, interviews, B roll, slide visuals, demos, and other types of visual content to support your message. In your outline, you also want to suggest how you will grab your viewer’s attention at the beginning. After all, you only have a few critical seconds to win viewers over, make a good impression, intrigue their curiosity, and keep them watching.

Now that you have an outline aligned with your desired impact and goals, set aside time to write your script from the outline. Your first attempt will be a rough draft for your eyes only. After completing the first draft, take a break for a day or so to let the script “breathe.” When you come back to review and edit your script with fresh eyes, you will find ways to improve concision and clarity. Once this editing is complete, it’s time to share the script with others.

Every piece of writing improves when it is reviewed by others, so make sure you ask one or two other people to do so. Remind colleagues to help you identify sections that may not flow well, do not make sense, are too lengthy or unclear, etc. Even the Declaration of Independence in 1776 named a lead writer, Thomas Jefferson, but the document benefitted from reviews and edits by other committee members as well, such as Benjamin Franklin and John Adams (patriotic peer reviews).

After you’ve received edits from others, it’s time for a final round of revisions. What works best at this stage is to read your script aloud. After all, the script will be delivered orally, so it should be rehearsed in the oral medium. When you read out loud, you will immediately hear phrases that sound awkward, are not conversational, or stick out in a distracting way. Make your final revisions, and then write the final script. Using this process, a script could endure at least three rounds of editing to trim the fat and ensure your script achieves its intended goals.

Backward design is a brilliant way to ensure your video message achieves what it set out to achieve. Script your videos with this process to place you well on your way to powerfully impacting your viewers.

What scripting tips have worked best for you? Let us know your thoughts below.

 

 

Video: The New Communication Medium

Video is not only growing exponentially, it’s also beginning to trump traditional methods of communication. For example, according to a QUMU press release, “video is today’s document.” And as Jim Lundy, CEO of Aragon Research states, “video is the new document.”

But apparently, documents are not the only communication medium video is trumping. Video is also becoming the “new phone call.”

When a new American President is first elected, it is customary for world leaders to call and offer their congratulations via telephone. Interestingly enough, when President-Elect Donald Trump was recently elected, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a congratulatory message as one might expect. But this time, he sent the congratulatory message via video (see YouTube video).

The Israeli leader’s video conveyed congratulatory words and tone similar to what a telephone medium could convey (“tele” meaning at a distance). Yet with video, the message goes beyond just words and tone. In just 45 seconds, we see and perceive the leader’s persona and personality, energy level, eye contact, expectations for working together, nonverbal body language, sincerity, and more. And by leveraging video to communicate this message, it can now be accessible worldwide, guaranteeing re-play capability and archiving for future generations.

This is a fascinating trend, and one that we can expect to see more and more. With accessible high quality video equipment and worldwide video distribution systems in place, video is becoming accessible to all, and not just world leaders.

In addition to congratulatory messages, we see video application growing in the field of education, employee on boarding, corporate YouTube channels, live event streaming, and talent development.

What other ways do you predict video will be used to communicate?

If you’d like to learn more about how to create effective video messages where you work, send us an inquiry by completing the fields below. Looking forward to hearing from you!