Video vs. eLearning: The Showdown — Thomas Spiglanin

This guest post comes to us from Thomas Spiglanin, senior project spiglanin-thomasleader at the Aerospace Corporation and upcoming speaker at FocusOn Learning 2016 Conference & Expo.

For some time now, the worlds of video and eLearning have been growing closer. Video historically has required expensive software and dedicated production hardware, and video producers have specialized in operating this equipment, turning out polished products for their customers. eLearning developers likewise specialized in operating their applications. Both have always required creativity and some innovation to turn out a quality product, and both the video producer and eLearning developer are keenly interested in engagement to encourage people to experience their products.

But video producers and eLearning developers approach their craft in two completely different ways. The eLearning developer implements the instructional design, which is tied to a number of objectives, which in turn connect to vetted requirements to address one or more performance needs. A good design calls for a range of activities for the learner to engage in, as well as maintaining visual appeal and that professional touch expected of a workplace product.

In contrast, the video producer works from a script, which is a highly visual document that serves as the design. He or she interprets the script and produces the assets needed for the final product that will be created by a video editor. While the producer and editor have significant roles in assuring an engaging final product, the script writer’s work is considered the creative product, with the other roles interpreting it. The writer needs to ensure that any objectives (tied to requirements to address performance needs) are met while crafting a story line that is engaging for viewers.

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Why this detailed comparison?

The eLearning and video worlds continue to operate differently, yet both are competing in a learning space in which short-form learning is becoming increasingly popular. People are perpetually busy and often on the go. Learning that fits into short blocks of time and works across a variety of platforms has a significant advantage over learning that does not. Video fits well into this space. Traditional eLearning products do not.

Add to this situation the fact that all of us with smartphones in our pockets can produce video. If we want more professionalism, powerful video editors that cost little to nothing can do the trick. Those of us charged with developing learning in the workplace would be well served to learn lessons from the video (and film) world. While we likely won’t have a need to develop a full-length feature film, we can learn to produce short, valuable, and effective videos for use on their own or to incorporate into more traditional learning products.

Take a deeper dive with Thomas on this topic at his workshop, Guerrilla Video Techniques for Beginners, at FocusOn Learning 2016 Conference & Expo on Tuesday, June 7, in Austin, Texas. Click here to learn more!

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