Interactive Drama Event – What did we learn?

On Thursday 9th of June, Nice Media, in collaboration with TellUs, held an exclusive event to give a premiere screening of the ‘The Leadership Angel’, a short interactive video course.

Our guests at the Covent Garden Hotel were a vibrant mix of experts who make and commission training, and other creatives with an interest in interactive storytelling and the technology that powers it. The event was a showcase, but also an opportunity to talk about making successful interactive drama for learning.

We demoed the video with Joanna Neary compering as her Angel character. At each interaction point, she asked the audience to choose their response. Everyone seemed very driven to choose correctly, but we did see some wrong choice ‘consequences’. The reward was a lot of laughter.

After the demo Tom Hickmore (Creative Director of Nice Media) Paul Fardoe (TellUs) and Anita Sullivan (elearning consultant and Angel writer) gave talks on the making of the project.

Here are some highlights:

Tom- “A lot of the interactive video in the public realm follows a fast-flowing ‘string of pearls’ design. We wanted to make a chunkier drama with a more complex branching structure, offering richer learning. We also wanted the piece to be fun. With a heightened treatment there’s a lot of licence to play with characters, settings and performances to make something really memorable and entertaining. Heightened treatments can also help you to keep the scenes short, interactions punchy. Another advantage of non-realism is that it CAN be cheaper.”

Anita– “A heightened treatment needs to be built from the ground up, with the audience and learning objectives. We must also consider what narrative needs to function, especially as those demands can present a challenge in a corporate setting. Interactive drama must have living characters, with flaws and blind-spots. It needs conflict and jeopardy. It needs complexity, shades of grey. Stakes need to be high and players should be allowed to fail… and play again. For the learning to work, we need to be brave with our interactive storytelling.”

Paul– “We allow you to capture information around learning engagement, or testing, finding out which videos people watched and which options they chose. It also allows different content to be presented, depending on the learner login. You don’t necessarily need a LMS to do all this. We can embed these videos or send out links that can be used without any type of platform or system and still capture actionable data. This can prove efficacy and inform ongoing development.”

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After the presentation, we opened the floor to discussion. Interestingly, a lot of the questions were about audience:

  • How can interactive video content be globalised?
  • What is appropriate content for interactive video?
  • Is any content inappropriate?

Nice and TellUs say:

Anything that is about human interaction is appropriate for interactive video. The subject can be highly procedural or highly sensitive. If there are consequences or opportunities embedded in the subject then interactive video can bring those to life and show them 360.

Interactive technology can present targeted versions of the same training to different audiences. But to get globalisation right you need to really understand your audience(es): the preconceptions, preferences and tolerances. And to do that, you need to check your own!

Interactive video with a heightened-reality is a fantastic way to present the universal and engage even the most resistant audiences. If you are put into an interactive environment you have to engage. You have to play.

The event was a great success. If you were there, thanks for being involved. If you weren’t, look out for future blogs that will expand on some of these hot topics.

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