Thursday, 31 May 2007

Little Videos That Educate - Making Learning Viral

Whilst indulging in a rare moment of relaxation, I was reading The Guide, the wee culture mag, one of many many many magazines and suppliments that come with The Guardian on a Saturday and I came across a reference to Derren Brown in the Internet section. As I’m almost as keen on Derren Brown as I am on the Hamster (see yesterdays post), I checked it out. It’s a very interesting little site, and probably quite useful if you’re the suspicious type, on how to tell is someone’s lying.

This sort of thing has been popping up all over the web for quite some time, check out VideoJug with it's strapline "Life explained, on film" It’s usefulness is, I think, worth noting (being able to fold a t-shirt in 2 seconds isn't necessarily that useful unless you're after a job in The Gap.

For instance, should I wish to learn how to get out of a car without showing my drawers (as my Granny used to call them), then I’d check out
this video

If I wanted to learn how to put on a sarong however, I could
watch this.

Observation is nothing new, it's the basis of
social learning theory – we are all great people watchers. Just look at the popularity of TV soaps, reality TV (just realised that Big Brother is back again, sigh... ). Apart from the obvious exception of animal based programming, the majority of what we watch includes people. We are social beings, and part of this means we like to watch people.

In terms of Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic learning styles, videos really hit our collective spot. The interactive element of being able to view videos online engages our need for visual stimuli, kinesthetic tendencies, whilst neglected by TV (except changing channel or shouting at it) are catered to some extent by the ability to interact with the video - we have control over what we watch, when we watch, whether we start or stop or pause the video, and most videos have sound, so those of us with auditory preferences are happy too.

Blogging may be giving value back to the written word, which is great, but the accessibility of video and v-logs on the net is helping us learn essential (and not so essential) skills that we might struggle to acquire without being able to observe them in real life.

I'd love to see more of this sort of thing - Haynes could produce online videos to supplement their car manuals, B&Q could actually SHOW us how to build a shower cubicle. It's something TV does really well with DIY and practical skills, why not online?

Or maybe it’s just me and I watched the 70’s childrens programme HOW and the “This is one I made earlier” sections of Blue Peter too much as a child (not mentioning of course how the standards of the programme have obviously dropped since then with the recent competition foror :-)

But it does seem to me that actually watching and listening and copying it is how we learn, it's how we learnt to walk, talk, communicate....

Bring on Viral Learning Videos I say...

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