Creative Problem Solving Video Project

A quick video that explores a creative problem solving technique I use often in my instructional design work when organizing content, writing scripts, or designing graphics.

When I learn any new tools or techniques, I always assign myself a short project. This project started with my desire to explore the challenges in upgrading to the latest Camtasia platform. With most tools being simplified or moved to unusual locations, I challenged myself to work through each road block.

I started with a text-based foundation, my previous blog Creative Thinking at 2 PM – Avoiding Writer’s Block.

This project showcases graphic techniques for learning, which I found reinforced in my recent reading of a short book by Connie Malamed, Visual Language for Designers. The graphics are designed to reduce the cognitive load and allow for faster transfer of learning from short-term to long-term memory.  See The eLearning Coach for Connie Malamed’s podcasts, books, and helpful blogs.

When I work on small portfolio projects for myself, it is outside the realm of external influences and standards. With such freedom, I had fun brainstorming and designing for this topic. Still, one cannot go off the deep end. I designed each element for continuity and consistency with this video’s theme.  I had to ensure the video fits with my existing video collection. Notice the use of the following elements:

  • fonts, music, transitions, and background choices to fit the theme
  • colors with meaning
  • the consistent hat theme for reinforcement
  • original simple photos, graphics, and video
  • reinforcement techniques in presenting labels and text graphics
  • use of casual tone, friendly, humorous voice work

Throughout the video, I strove to keep things very simple so the viewer could interpret and apply the theme to their own world.  My own methods vary greatly. I might collect information commuting on a train, organize sources in Google Suite, visualize in PowerPoint or Visio, and wake up to capture bright ideas at 2:00 am in my phone.  Those methods work for me. With this simple paper theme, the method should become less relevant. Each viewer can find their own way to apply the concepts.

Enjoy!

Shifting to Learner’s Time

Training Time to Learner's Time

What if we thought of in terms of learner’s time when designing video content or online courses? Can we increase engagement and adoption in what we produce?

In my last job, I was hired to set up a new video program for a product documentation team. A few pilot videos 20-30 minutes long had been created by the team to start the program. The pilot work included tracking production hours to show a rough relationship between length of content and production.

I decided to find out what the audience needed. The learners consisted of software developers, systems engineers, and client-facing teams (sales, implementation, and support teams).  Everyone had heavy workloads, so learners had just a few minutes between meetings, production tasks, or urgent client requests to watch a video.

After learning about the audience’s time constraints, I then questioned the idea of a 20-30 minute video. Would viewers commit to a lengthy format for every video? Or was the length of the pilot videos a measure of success for our team before needs analysis?

I then set out to establish a new condensed video structure based on our audience’s time constraints with an overall goal of 10 minutes or less for new videos.

To condense content, I focused each short video on solving a core problem. I often used expert-led webinars as sources. By focusing on the core problem, it was easy to cut 30 minutes of wordy lecture to 10 minutes of video. In some cases, I restricted the video content to concepts, and then led the learner to read guides for the details. In certain cases, content proposed for one video could be moved into two or three smaller videos.

My audience was dealing with a wide variety of new information daily plus many distractions, strong barriers to retention. The learners had strong need to be able to stop and start the videos or return to the videos many weeks later for reinforcement. To increase retention, I added structures within the 10-minute videos to divide content into smaller 1 to 2-minute segments.

By reducing time commitments for the busy audience, I was building videos with concise, focused, quality content. Learners and their leaders commented with enthusiasm on the short value-packed format. In our reports, I could see how much viewers enjoyed the content. They would often watch one small video, then voluntarily watch a second or third video in a row.

I found a few side benefits on the production side. With a shorter format, I could ensure steady stream of new releases and revisions. Experts were more likely to participate in quality reviews. Plus I found locating and reusing content was faster in smaller project files.

Redesigning for the learner’s time constraints turned out to be a win-win for myself, my team, and for my audience.

 

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

I love using Linked In to look for jobs. My favorite feature on Linked In is the tool that allows me to save my job searches and set up e-mail alerts. Below is a quick demonstration:

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

Now if I forget to check Linked In, no worries. I’ll receive a daily or weekly e-mail each time a job that meets my criteria is posted.

Avoiding Facebook Overload

How do I get in there?

Today Facebook is big news on the stock market thanks to the IPO. I’ll be honest. I have worked hard to make Facebook a manageable, fun experience.

For me Facebook is a personal, highly effective platform where I keep up with friends and family despite incredibly busy schedules filled with work and college. Check out the next page for tips on how to save time and preserve your ego.