Script or speak? The importance of the learning voice
Last week, I was at the 2012 Peer Award conference and It was fascinating to see how learning professionals had met challenges with a whole range of learning techniques and approaches. But one topic in particular really resonated with me and that was the subject of voice. Nick Shackleton Jones, Group Head of elearning at BP shared with us their performance support system, which certainly gave a nod to their knowledge management roots. Stories from subject matter experts feature highly and encouraging people to share how they have utilised this knowledge is a key aspect. What was particularly interesting though was, being an organisation where learning truly is at the heart of the organisation, if high production values were regarded as important, the business case would be endorsed. However, a flip HD camera and authentic unscripted videos are the method of choice for these video stories and a good choice it is too. A trusted voice of experience always features highly in our learning design and short videos are often used. However in the past, clients new to online learning have been rather nervous about this more casual approach to videos and can be concerned that without a script and well polished performance, the credibility of the content could be compromised. However, it is useful to consider the age old question of how people really learn. When the debate on formal and informal begins between learning designers, what is at the heart of it is what learners really want to know – how do things really happen around here? There are plenty of ways to package and capture formal learning but having explore the structure, the frameworks and theories, learners then want to know how this plays out around here. It’s about supporting people through the learning cycle and when learners are ready to try out what they have learnt , the sharing of a story from a trusted peer on how things played out, what worked and didn’t worked its best achieved in a relaxed, informal and earnest telling of a true story is incredibly valuable. The value is in that story, not in production values – over engineer it and it loses the authenticity and also, the relevance – having a decent handheld camera available to take along to key events, conferences or even over coffee capture fresh insights in context and keep your learning up to date. So it’s time to break down another barrier to great online learning, good stories make for good learning and anyway, the hair and makeup team needed to look good on HD video is unlikely to to get signed off by procurement!