Acting like a Director for a Day

Today was an interesting day. I packed my trusty tripod and my JVC video camera and made my way into work. It was going to be a day where I was going to film subject matter experts talk about their area of expertise to create a podcast for learning purposes.

Prior to the session, I worked with this small team to identify who the subject matter experts were around the theme of ‘Second Mortgages’ and found two people, Paul and Anna who were not only experts at this topic but were willingly open to be taped in front of a camera to talk passionately about the topic at hand.  I worked together with them to create a list of interview questions and decided who those questions would be best asked to and created a list for Anna and one for Paul.

I booked a quiet room at their office where we could film them. The room had a casual relaxed feel with couches and warm coloured walls. It was the perfect setting for filming.

The first step was to brief Anna and Paul about how we were going to take the shots and how I was going to interview them.  I used the learning from the book, “ How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck” by Steve Stockman to be my guide.  For example, I kept the shots close, I made sure that I could see their eyes and I varied the background every couple of questions to keep it visually appealing.

It was interesting to watch the SMEs relax over time.  The real anxiety was not their subject matter expertise – you could tell that they knew that inside out – but the camera.  For some reason, talking to a camera about what they know was disconcerting.  However, over the course of the hour, I asked in total 11 questions and they relaxed.

With the relaxation, you could see the animation came back into their faces, they used their hands more and they were expressive – which greatly enhanced the quality of the shot.  I was impressed that these two professionals were willing to give up a little of their time to explain the subject and provide answers to questions that they get asked on a daily basis sometimes to the point of detriment to their own work.  Both Anna and Paul saw the value that saying their story, explaining the processes and answering the questions they get asked in a podcast format and how they can use it in the workplace in the future.

My intention is to create more of these podcasts to be used as additional or supplementary learning in the workplace used in conjunction with the structured on-the-job coaching that I implemented.  My idea is to involve the business, the SMEs and the team members themselves to become exciting about learning – and not see learning as something you do in a classroom – but something that you share with others in your workplace.

Using simple media such as podcasts with the tools and resources we have currently available in the workplace is cheap, it’s quick and it’s engaging.  If this is one way where Learning and Development can show their value and inspire a business to see learning as something outside a classroom by the subject matter expert themselves, then this is where I’d like to be involved.

Tomorrow, I will use Windows Movie Maker to put it altogether and create the podcast – and like they say, “Bob’s Your Uncle!”

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About Activate Learning Solutions

Helen Blunden is the founder of Activate Learning Solutions and Third Place. She has over 20 years of experience within learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in performance consulting and networked learning, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom and believes in the power of networks and communities to drive collaboration and meaning within the organisation. From facilitator-led instruction, online and blended, Helen deploys social and informal learning such as enterprise social networking, collaboration tools and emerging technologies that have been proven successful and embedded workplace change.
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