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May 2015

Could You Shock Your Learners With Interactive Video?

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Seth Dickens

Seth Dickens

Senior Learning Designer at Kineo

As a new Lead Learning Designer at City & Guilds Kineo, I’ve been lucky enough to be able look through our back catalogue of courses recently. One of the things that I think we do really well here is experiential elearning.

Because of this, I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into how organisations can use interactive video to create the ultimate learning experience; throwing the learner into the driving seat of a situation and asking them: "Okay, what next? How are you going to deal with this?" Already I have seen some amazing photo-stories and branching scenarios that do an excellent job of adding tension and emotional engagement between learners and elearning.

The Future of Elearning? Interactive Video and Games

Here at CG Kineo we’re very passionate about utilising technology to create content that’s even more engaging, and more ‘real’ to the learner. We’re not on our own with this either. In a recent article on Guardian Careers , Andy Hurren from RWE nPower talks about using video and games to make elearning a lot more interactive. He says they are looking "to explore areas where we can use game play at a basic level" to help learners make stronger connections with elearning content.

I recently saw an amazing interactive video which, through a sweaty-palmed mouse scrolling session, gave me an intense few minutes wondering what on earth it would be like to drown. Interestingly, when I shared this video around the office, it really polarised opinions. The learning designers I shared it with either really liked it, or were really creeped out by it. Almost nobody just felt “meh.” Yet there’s nothing all that gruesome in it.

This got me pondering:  ”Just what is it about the video that is so captivating (and how can we harness this for our courses?)

What Makes Immersive Interactive Video?

I think it’s actually a combination of two things. It has a simple; gripping storyline, but that’s not all. It’s the video’s basic interactivity that really draws you into the situation. It makes you feel deeply involved in the survival of the person who’s fallen in the sea. By forcing you to scroll upwards on your mouse wheel just to keep your head above the waves, the video manages to hit an emotional sweet spot. I really believe that when we create moments of high emotional tension like these into our courses, we have an excellent ‘hook’ around which we can build a learning experience.

Before we go on, check out the video. Use your headphones, and make your browser full screen for the best experience!

How Can You Add ‘The Hook’ To Your Elearning?

Consider simplicity if you want to build a similar video into your courses. I think it’s the uncomplicated, repeated interaction that really makes the drowning experience work well.  For example, you could include this type of interaction as an introduction for workplace training, where active attention is a key part of the role.

There are three questions to ask yourself when you include an interactive element like this:

  • What is the repeated task / concentration that you are simulating?
  • What interaction will you use to simulate this? (Scrolling, single/multiple button press, mouse clicks, etc)
  • How does the learner’s interaction translate into on-screen success (or failure)?

Interactive video can work particularly well for roles where constant vigilance is needed, like an airport security guard.  Imagine the scenario:  You’re an overwhelmed security guard, and you’re watching the bagging scanner. Suddenly with the help of interactive video, consequences are shown with suspect packages getting through, if the learner doesn’t complete the interaction often enough. Other examples that would work well are things like quality control on a production line, with damaged pieces passing through,  or health and safety, where a chainsaw operator’s concentration slips with disastrous consequences.

Can you think of any others? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Remember: Emotional Impact Builds Long-Term Memory

In all the learning I have built over the years, projects which have had a high emotional impact are the ones which have the longest lasting effect on the learners. By including activities like this in courses, your learning content stands a better chance of piggy-backing into your learners’ long-term memories. At the end of the day, successfully getting into our learners’ heads is what we’re all aiming for.

We've created interactive video for a range of global clients at CG Kineo. See how interactive video could impact your organisation by getting in touch.

Seth Dickens

Seth Dickens

Senior Learning Designer at Kineo

Seth has been creatively using technology for training since 2002. As a Lead Learning Designer at Kineo, he tries to give people control of their learning experience. A big fan of constructivist and humanistic styles of training, Seth facilitates learning through discovery, collaboration, learners’ own stories and discussion.

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