Webinar Recording: Talking heads – getting more from less

In Nov 2020 we hosted and recorded a webinar about Talking Heads video. You can watch it here: The talking head interview is a simple format that, from a technical point of view, is easy to master.  But working with this simple building block a surprising amount can be achieved.  Using case studies, this webinar will show you in-depth … Read more

How to use video in your eLearning

video presenter

Wondering how best to use video and audio in your e-learning?

We recently collaborated with Elucidat, whose authoring platform is used by many organisations to empower people-centred elearning.

We created a five-minute interactive piece to showcase Elucidat’s video and audio capabilities and help you decide which multimedia approach is right for your learning goals and budget.

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The history of video: First things first

Everyone loves a pub quiz, right? Every flavour of crisps in the middle of the table, multiple pencils and a quirky team name. If there was a round on video we would ace it; we’d play our Joker card. If there was a round on video for learning, well, everyone else might as well go home.

How much do you know about video? Try your hand at these and score ten points for each correct answer…

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10 uses of video in learning

I was asked to write something about which type of video is good for which learning application.  Let’s begin by asking “what is video actually good for in learning?”  People don’t want long, detailed information in a video, because it means sitting through something not so pertinent, till you get to the bit you want.  … Read more

eLN Glasgow – Show your work

shark eats girl

A couple of weeks ago we attended the eLearning Network Glasgow event ‘Show Your Work’. As my first eLN event and first event with Nice Media, the pressure was on (a slight exaggeration, but it’s always nice to make a good first impression). With Tom focused on his talk for the day, I was keen to meet some new people and get a feel for the latest L&D thinking especially with my new video production hat on.

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Can a video drama impact behaviour change in an organisation?

Behaviour change is really the end goal for L&D professionals. Learning can only add value when employees not only absorb knowledge, but take incentive to apply it positively in their role. Looking at the L&D landscape and beyond to our digital lives, video is a clear frontrunner in providing a learning format which is engaging and digestible.

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How to avoid boredom by committee – Drama script reviews

meeting

“You’re making some dramatized video for learning. The script you’ve produced is fantastic… Then the first feedback comes from the client and they’ve added a great chunk of unspeakable dialogue and taken out the best bits… Of course, they know their culture and they know their business, but what they don’t know is that their … Read more

Goodies and Baddies – Drama doesn’t have to be black and white

When we say a drama needs to be based on a conflict, and that involves a protagonist and an antagonist, it brings to mind a hard-nosed clash that you’ve seen with Batman versus the Joker or James Bond shooting at Goldfinger.  This can sound alarm bells.  While such whizzbang, violent conflicts are great fun to do, they’re not usually what we seek in the world of corporate drama.  The next models that come to mind are perhaps soap operas and other more human-scale dramas.  But even these frequently feature stand-up rows and tears, not the sort of thing we can usually entertain.

The fact remains, however, that to articulate a story in drama, conflict is essential, and the starting point is a protagonist and an antagonist.  So, how can we make these characters realistic, but nevertheless credible in dramatic terms?

The protagonist and antagonist want the same thing, but disagree on how to achieve it.  In a corporate context, this could be two people trying to solve a problem at work with one following the received wisdom on the topic and the other stubbornly doing it their own way.  Depending on whether it’s a compliance drama or one about innovation, one of them is the protagonist and the other the antagonist.  They are both working for the good of the employer, but one is misguided, the other struggling to do the right thing.  In this little conflict, neither is really a goodie or a baddie, but one is a protagonist, who advances the cause of the drama, the other the antagonist who stands in the way of the correct working method being enacted.

The most important thing about the protagonist/antagonist structure in a learning drama is that the protagonist can champion the right way to do things without seeming to lecture the audience.  To do the right thing they need to fight for what they believe in.  Whereas if they just tell us what they believe, they come across as merely a rather boring conformist.

Of course, the protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to fight against another character, the antagonist could be a setting a process or an idea.  If our protagonist is trying to conquer a task we could tell the story like a sports movie.  Sport is a vehicle for the participant to objectify an internal struggle.  And this is how the drama is constructed.  It’s an inner struggle, articulated through the mechanisms of sport, which takes place amidst a variety of antagonistic outer forces which together form a collective “antagonist”.  So you could say the antagonist is a multi-headed beast – several characters and events that block the protagonist.  (Of course, I’m only talking about one common model of sports movie here, there are others).

A workplace learning example that could be structured similarly is crisis management.  Here the manager needs to control all the elements in the scenario rather as one might in a game of chess.  The crisis is characterized as the antagonist and the manager needs to manage it by moving the pieces on the board as it were.  Like a sports movie there will be antagonistic elements, such as an angry person who refuses to fall into line, but they are not the antagonist, they are just an element of it.

The other day I watched Eddie the Eagle with my 6-year-old boy.  It’s a movie about the British no-hoper who, against all the odds, got into the Olympics as a ski jumper.  I found it interesting that his route to the Olympics was in stages based on the size of the ski jumps he could tackle.  These are rather like learning points which became plot points in the story.  As a result, I learned quite a bit about the size of the jumps and other technical details.  But, of course, the thing I remember best is the moral of the story, which is that it’s not about winning it’s about playing, and if you set yourself against the odds people will appreciate your valiant efforts.  So, it affected me as a very anti-sport person, as rather effective pro-sport propaganda.  And for a few days I remembered something of the technicalities of the sport as well.

Coming back to goodies and baddies – one reason we don’t want passionate, violent clashes in our workplace dramas is that we don’t want them in the workplace.  On the other hand, if we were to take a workplace topic, something people are unlikely to get passionate about, and pump it up to the level of a melodrama, we’d have a very entertaining film which no-one would think for a moment is based in reality, but the audience would love it and would no doubt remember it and tell their friends.


Real Drama for Learning

Script consultancy: we work with your team to turn workaday content into something truly dramatic.

Training:  Using our conceptual toolkit, we work with your team to give an understanding of the basics of dramatic construction.

Agency support: working with you at the bid stage, we provide creative support to elevate your video-oriented eLearning idea into a winning pitch.

Production: From idea to final film we work with you throughout the journey.

 

Real Drama for Learning – using emotion to communicate ideas.

Read moreGoodies and Baddies – Drama doesn’t have to be black and white