Friday, 19 June 2020

Living On Video

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
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It’s amazing how we search these days and clearly when I think about it, less than half for me is on Google.

I spend more and more time on YouTube and other video streaming. When I look at his video consumption, its about 20mins max live TV (usually at mealtimes), and 2+ hours a day on YouTube.

Like with any teenager, the rest is Xbox, games etc, as you would expect.

When you buy most things these days, there is a link or a VR code to a website, sometimes a PDF document, often a site of video content. Video is engaging to humans in many different ways and we seem to retain more from seeing something done, rather than something being merely described. Training experts will also confirm that by actually ‘doing tasks’, we retain the most.

Malcolm Gladwells excellent book ‘Outliers’, shares the other interesting fact that once we achieve 10,000 hours of experience in doing anything, that seems to be the magic switch that converts us from ordinary, to potential extraordinary. Examples are Bill Gates, The Beatles (Weeks doing three gigs a day in Hamburg) and others. Indeed, repeated watching of YouTube videos have a similar effect on me. I (probably like you), have tackled numerous things after watching it done 5 times or more.

Most of those attempts of mine have been successful so far, including dismantling part of a washing machine, and it working when all the bits were put together again. So far so good. 

I know as well, I am not alone on this one. I know plenty of friends and relatives, of all ages who have done the same. A caveat at this point is needed. Do try everything at least once if you can manage it, the first one could have just been a ‘duff one’.

So, if we are doing this in our real outside work lives, why do we not make more of it in our working lives? We have many more facilities such as eLearning available these days and relatively cheap cloud or local storage now available to us. Many clients I work with who have elearning, will have ready baked courses for Office, Word etc. They will not see courses for their primarily systems of record, housing and finance systems etc commonly available.  I don’t particularly blame system suppliers for this either. At best I think their offerings would be very vanilla at best. A possible afterthought too.

Users should not beat up suppliers for lack of training materials, it’s a sad fact that actually the best stuff is homegrown. By that I mean very process specific and tuned in to specific organisation codes, processes and local procedures. When I suggest this it usually brings a few groans and realisation that some work is needed. Opening MS-Word and adding dozens of screenshots into a big humongous document is generally in the mind of my clients. That’s not what is in my mind, thinking in a 2020 type of stylee.

I get two reactions when I mention video with voiceover, 50% horror and 50% excitement. Spooky eh, polarisation. It really needs a local voice to help navigate and explain to users how all those processes hang together in detail. Sometimes clients ask me, “Could you do it Tony?”. I generally answer, would you like my lovely Mancunian tones used for your video, up here in Fife or down in Somerset? Well, you know ‘Garlic Bread?’, ‘Tgipt’, ‘Big Light’, ‘Mars Bar’, ‘Car Park’, ‘Wonderwall’. Well, it will have to be someone truly local wont it?

Most processes can be broken down into about 5 – 7 videos of about 4 minutes in duration. With a basic story board each video can be completed in about 20 minutes. This is a process that takes a little bit of quality time, but actually manages to crystallise a lot of your trainer or subject matter expert knowledge for reuse dozens or even hundreds of times. When new staff start a role, they can easily have some one-to-one training, but have a volume of videos to watch as many times afterwards to absorb the ‘right’ way to tackle any process. This is a key complaint of so many of my clients, achieving consistency.

When supplier software updates arrive that change the UI, or processes are to change, modify those videos, and tell staff they need to update their processes. You could even produce an update video that gives an overview of those upgrade changes. Way more convenient that those ‘programmer speak’ notes of amendments, you get now.

Lastly, people ask, will this not all be expensive?

Well on that one, a variety of free and perfectly adequate utilities are available, such as iSpring FreeCam, or something you may already have for corporate comms use, Adobe Captivate. Outputting as Windows Video files I have found most flexible by far. It’s certainly not tricky.

While it may take some effort to put together, it achieves the equivalent of dehydrating your trainer and re-hydrating him or her, on demand at any future time or place, to be repeated as long as necessary. Face to face training would still occur, but supported with the most convenient way to take on new knowledge.

What on earth is your training team waiting for?

Related Post: We have all seen procurements go wrong. Often its a little external help that makes a massive difference


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

Trans-X - Living On VideoTrans-X - Living On Video.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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