Video: Ready, Set, Prepare

By Elliott Masie, Chair, The Learning CONSORTIUM
(This article originally appeared in Chief Learning Officer Magazine in March, 2010: www.clomedia.com)

Video is the single most “disruptive” force on the horizon for the world of learning. In the next 36 months, the footprint of video content, video stories, video communication and video collaboration will rapidly expand in organizational learning.

Video Content Evolving: We have decades of history with video content. Starting with learning films – which paved the way for learning video cassettes, DVDs and then streamed video – organizations have frequently used moving images as a powerful way to tell stories and to provide instruction to their learners. We are now seeing the tools, techniques and access to video content radically expanding:

  • The Video Web: An increasing number of websites and web visits involve the viewing of a piece of video. From news to retail to intranet sites, we are seeing users respond to and request more and more video content. The web is literally shifting to a high video content medium.
  • YouTube: The rise of YouTube video has shifted the production value expectations of viewers. Originally, we wanted our video content to feel like it was made in Hollywood. Now, we will accept a simple webcam or even a mobile phone video at a lower production level, as long as the content is useful or interesting.
  • Stories, Stories, Stories: Learners are craving stories as a bigger part of their learning content. Home-grown video of stories from peers, subject matter experts, customers or even competitors will become a larger part of our video content. Stories are also playing a “make once – use many” role as both part of learning programs and as viral marketing and performance support elements.

Video Capture Changing: The tools of video capture are changing. We recently worked on a project with CNN to show how easily learning professionals could learn how to shoot high-value video with simple equipment. A few trends:

  • Point & Shoot and Low-End High Definition: We gave HD “flip cams” to six participants at Learning 2009 and had them shoot footage over three days. In just a few hours, they learned how to frame and edit a cohesive and compelling “story”. CNN videographer Ben Coyte taught them to take a series of video “stills” that would mix with audio to teach or illustrate a key point. This was done on cameras that cost less than $150 apiece.
  • Simpler Editing: Likewise, the tools of video editing have gotten much simpler.  And remember, our goal is not to produce Hollywood films but rather to illustrate and deploy content that will tell a story. Editing can even be done with online resources, such as including embedded links to intranet or external sites.

Video Communication & Collaboration: Almost every new monitor and laptop produced in 2010 will have the option of an embedded video camera. This is as provocative as the inclusion of sound cards in early PCs. Essentially, we will see the shift of video conferencing from a hardware, room-based and complex technology to a click and connect resource. The implications for learning are intriguing:

  • Virtual Teamwork: We will start to use video as an everyday tool to communicate and collaborate with our team members who are located on other floors, in other states or other countries. Video will allow us to have richer connections. Watch for the rise of video through the expansion of corporate instant messaging or collaboration sites like SharePoint.
  • Telepresence: While it currently costs more than $125,000 per site, watch for a more affordable high definition telepresence capacity to emerge in 24 months.  The ability to see, in real size, your colleagues in other locations and have the intimacy of shared spaces and tasks - like team building, interviews and sales - will be profound.
  • Video Teaching and Coaching: I already give about 30% of my keynote presentations via video, sometimes at two o’clock in the morning to Asia. Watch for the rise of video teaching and coaching from distributed experts who will be available on short notice for short segments of high-intensity teaching.
  • Blended Video Modes: I recently led a session that encompassed 4 sites and 27 participants. I blended real time video from the group with captured video elements from resources that could not join live. I had a desktop ability to launch these “clips” with ease, and also captured our live conversations to use in future sessions.  
  • Repurposing Content: Let’s assume that we will create video content from almost every event. I recently interviewed Capt.  Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who safely landed a passenger plane on the Hudson. Here is a short clip from that live session that has been viewed by over 9,000 people: http://learningwiki.editme.com/Sully

 

Yes, video is coming and will change some of what we do as learning professionals. It is critically important for learning organizations and leaders to get more comfortable, experimental and skillful when deploying video content, video stories and video communication in learning programs. With limited travel budgets and a video-hungry workforce, this is a “no-brainer” in terms of low-cost technology and innovation.