Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Flip your class or training with video

DSC03663-HatCotWbanquet-hangop-culiblog.jpg(foto hangop door Debra Solomon) 
What do you do if you want to prepare 'hangop' (see picture if you don't know what it is!)? Do you ask your neighbor, call your aunt or are you looking for information on the Internet? Friday's session about use of video for learning things showed that a mother look for it in a cookbook and her son  looked on the Internet for a movie. The clever use of video was central, to our session: how can you use video in learning and education? The afternoon began with a conversation about changing use of video which immediately yielded new insights about the power and the important place of this medium:
  • A student of high school fount a guy on youtube a guy who explains mathematics very well. This helps her understand it. 
  • How to tie your tie? : just search on Youtube for a convenient explanation.
  • A special knife bought but ultimately not know how it works? Instead of reading the manual a movie will help you out.
anneliesHow can you use video in education or learning? From two case studies - one from higher educationcollege and another one from a government organization, we examined (and watched) how video is used in different ways. Annelies Ranzijn (see photo) shared the experiences of Inholland with weblectures and I shared the experience of En nu online with the use of video within an online learning program, together we covered a beautiful range from professional to amateuristic use of video and everything in between. Some examples of how you can use video:
  • Weblectures of 5-7 minutes on general topics such as language.
  • How to- instruction video, for example, how to change email subscription explained in 1 minute. 
  • Tedtalks     
  • Screencasts by experts or teachers using a powerpoint or prezi with explanations
  • Recording Skype interviews and webinars so that others can watch them later
Professional videos or amateur? Although there is a difference in use of professional staff and equipment within the college and use of cheaper tools in the other case, one is not beter than the other. An investment in professional production lends itself more to larger numbers of students and in situations where content remains fairly constant, such as the comparative stages (vergelijkende trap) in the Dutch language. Amateur recording are perfect because they are low cost in situations with smaller numbers of participants and content changing rapidly, eg policy. Of course sometimes it is simply the available budget which determines whether you go for professional or amateur recordings!  
A number of lessons and observations from the two cases ... The interesting thing is that there are some lessons that are similar for both cases.
  • For example, in both selected cases, a choice was made for videos of around 10 minutes or shorter. Inholland started by recording all lectures, but stopped this practices. In some cases, a choice is made for a slightly longer video like a TEDTalk of a maximum of 20 minutes.
  • In both cases, a choice was made to work with own staff / teachers in the lead for designing and featuring in the videos, instead of professional actors or external persons. This increases the ownership and you make use of the existing knowledge from within the organization, which matches the context of the learning trajectory or module best. Not every teacher or professional is immediately excited to feature in a video, sometimes people do not feel secure enough to act in front of a camera or webcam. What you can do is start by inviting the people who are immediately excited for the new media and opportunities, then show the results to others and try to interest them as well. Producing a short weblecture requires you to know the core of your content.
  • Video allows you to bring situations from outside the classroom inside (interviews from overseas via skype, filming on a building site), which make a good link to the practice possible.
  • The learning outcomes of the videos is good. In both cases, watching the movies is optional, not mandatory. For example,  in the language classes, students may also choose to join the class without viewing the videos. Participants indicate clearly that they learned from videos, albeit in combination with assignments and discussions (there is no final test). In higher education, the test results have gone up. 
  • Finally, the statistics of the number of times a video has been viewed have proven to be very useful to know what works.   
Do you like to learn how to screencasten and live in the Netherlands? In September we offer a new screencast workshop by En nu online.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Help! - the professional2.0 is coming...

 professional20That professionals can be wilful and opiniated we already knew (only look at house!): several authors have written extensively about this phenomenon (such as the Caluw√©, Vermaak and Weggeman). With the recent technological developments such as social media and social intranets, professionals have even more spaces to profile themselves. Who are these new professionals living in our era of social media and what does this process of empowerment of professionals mean for organizations? During the learning trajectory 'learning and change with social media' we made a drawing of the new professional (see picture). She (in this case it was a woman) has at least one smartphone in her hand and apparently on the move (running). She is an independent thinker in her field, she takes initiative and is capable of finding the balance between different polarities, such as online and offline, private and professional, inside and outside the organization. In addition, the basis of her works and passion is from a connection with her own personal experiences, which gives her the drive to excel.

Serial mastery

Lynda Gratton, the well-known professor of management practice at the London Business School, has written a book with the title 'The Shift' about the global changes that are influence the workplace. She marks important changes for professionals: professionals will become what she calls a 'serial master' rather than a generalist. A master is a professional who possesses deep knowledge and skills in a variety of domains. The serial aspect of serial mastery consists in that the relevance of these domains will change and the professional during his / her career will have to venture into new domains, building on old topics, she calls this 'sliding and morphing'. It is therefore important that the professional can quickly learn and is a good networker.

Self-organised learning

Hans de Zwart (Senior Innovation Adviser for Global HR Technologies at Shell) is posing the following question online: can you design a curriculum for the professionals when their work is so dynamic and is changing all the time? Or should there be more focus on self-directed learning (do-it-yourself-learning, self-regulated learning)? There are currently more and more complex problems to be solved by professionals - and complex problems can not be solved with routine answers and best practices. In a complex situation you have an emergent practice, and you should work with trial and error, try things, reflect and adjust. So apart from the fact that professionals need to move into a new domain they must learn to solve complex problems. They do this in daily practice.

Online branding

Online communication is becoming increasingly important in finding the right professional for the job or project. If you a professional and you are not on Twitter and LinkedIn, you have been fairly invisible. Internally channels like Yammer or other social networks are becoming increasingly important to be visible within the organisation, especially in larger companies. Professionals should therefore clearly know what makes them distinctive and unique from other professionals. A professional2.0 will build an online reputation and that reputation is more durable than the job he / she has. The organisation only 'borrow' the reputation of the professional.

Organisations and the professional 2.0

What does this imply for organizations, strong, initiative-taking autonomous professionals? I have spoken several youngsters who are surprised about the slowness of communication in organizations and the lack of adequate resources and support. Professionals are 'serial masters', who design their own online brand, and be young and old. For me, these technological and social developments have the following implications for organizations: 
  • Look for new models of working in collaboration with professionals, not only in fixed employment, but also in networks
  • Develop new '21st century' skills such as dealing with social media, online networks etc.
  • Encourage and social learning within (online) communities instead of organizing training and education 
  • Provide a technological infrastructure within the organisation which works just as easy as social media
  • Support professionals by new and lighter forms of leadership: avoid too much hierarchy, give space and ensure that leaders themselves are professionals too, so avoid 100% managers
Interested in gift, skills and attitudes of the new professional? Read the blogpost on the portrait of a modern knowledge worker by Ewen Le Borgne. 
What impact of the various developments do you see for organizations? And to what extent is your organization already doing what I suggest above?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Voicethread: a creative way to use video online in training or workshops

With a group I explored the creative use of video by trainers and facilitators. Nowadays it is very common as trainer or facilitator to search Youtube videos and use in presentations. But what more can you do with this medium? Are there any creative forms?  We experimented with voicethread. One of us started with ​​a presentation recorded with screencast-o-matic. Voicethread is a paid tool. For $ 4.95 you can upload 3 videos. The experience is they are very helpful. Below you can watch our experiment in a.. video!
A few observations about voicethread
Participants think this a fun, interactive tool. In this case were used as the central content of the voice thread a video, but it may also be a number of pictures. It took us some time to figure out how to see where in the video everybody placed his/her reacion - you can see it when you scroll over the bar at the bottom of the page. Not everyone finds it attractive, it is quite 'angular' and does not look as a very dynamic tool, though opinions varied about the attractiveness of voicethread. It is an asynchronous tool, which means everyone responds to his own time, in that sense it is not a substitute for Skype or google hangout with video because those are synchronous video conferencing tools. The advantage of working asynchronous is that all contributions remain visible well traceable. The technique did not work for everybody, one person's sound was very low. So it may need some instructions how to use it. 

Working from the tool or the goal?
Working with online video requires a whole different way of working. You have to search and find the advantages of the medium you use. In a school setting, teachers noticed that a screen automatically attracts attention, and decided to use Prezi rather than powerpoint to make it more visually appealing. Based on the possibilities and limitation of the chosen technique you may be stimiulated to design other learning activities. The code in technology forces you to be creative. By getting to know the tool you can slowly make well informed decisions. A tool can limit you, but can also stimulate your creativity to come to new thingsAt the same time there is the eternal danger that he who has a hammer will be looking for a nail automatically. So stay critical about your choice of tools and avoid using voicethread because it seems fancy. The core characteristics of voicethread are its central use of video or photos, possibility of leaving reactions in any form you like (text, voice, video) and asynchronous use.

Given the core characteristic - how can you use Voicethread?
  • To get to know eachother, it is nice to hear a voice or see a face online. 
  • Use it to make sure people have already thought about the subject before a face-to-face meeting. 
  • Use it to flip your classroom. You can explain theory in a voicethread and use the face-to-face to practice.   
  • For co-creation. You may jointly develop an artifact or plan. People can keep adding things whenever they think of some new ideas to add. 
  • Center your voicethread around a question and ask input from others and allow people to react to each other.  
  • Film critical professional situations and ask people to observe and respond.