Last post, I posited that, for microlearning type video, you could easily create a more engaging animated presentation in a tool like PowerPoint. This could provide an easy way to take microlearning objects that had merely been bulleted slides to the next level. Well, I needed to put my work where my keystrokes were, so I decided to take this challenge myself and see if I could create the type of video I was dreaming of.
Based on the conversation I mentioned last post, I began with the assumption that this microlearning object was a short presentational video, meant to increase product knowledge in sales people. This wasn’t meant to be an activity or a branching scenario; it was meant to be a way to make the sort of thing an organization might already be making more engaging. We could argue as to whether or not this is the type of content we should be spending our time on, but there is certainly a place for learning objects that introduce or illustrate concepts or information, as TEDed proves. I can easily see product knowledge, technical concepts, and information about the organization translating into these types of learning objects. I don’t have much sales experience beyond a half-year volunteer stint in a museum bookstore, so I just made it up as I went along! I used the fitness wearable concept I created in my Fit.o.poly project and put myself in the place of a LX designer creating a short introductory video about the product for new sales staff. My goal was to engage and inform and whet the appetite for the next video.
I wanted to push myself to keep to PowerPoint for this, to prove that it really could be done without third-party software. To that end, everything, apart from recording the audio (Audacity) adding the background music (in order to turn the volume way down) and end credits (Camtasia) was done in PowerPoint. It pushed my development time up a bit because syncing the audio to the animation is not so easy a task in PowerPoint as it is in other application, but I still came out at about 7 to 8 hours of work. Animations and transitions, on the other hand, were a breeze. Even with an ultra-aggressive turnaround time, this type of development would still be possible for a designer. Let’s say a week, tops.
Keys to the Work
I think one of the main keys to developing this type of video is keeping your own expectations in check. Finding that Kitty Communication video was a huge boon because it gave me a quality standard to aim for. That was still done (beautifully) by a professional animation group and mine still isn’t quite as good but by analyzing its parts, I was able to give myself a realistic vision for my end product as opposed to seeing a more complex animation and trying to simplify it. Another important thing (which applies to all development work) is having access to the necessary media you need. In the workplace, it would be important to think about look and feel and get consensus from the SMEs/Project Manager; rapid iterations and a lookbook would work well for that. For a series of subscription learning objects, you would probably want to carry through the template, which could mean taking some time, before or after the particular project, to record the details so they can be reused, such as your font choices, colors, music, etc. This will undoubtedly push your development time out a bit, to that week timeline I mentioned above. Still very doable. For myself, this go round, since I was going with the Fit.o.poly product, I already had a look and feel in mind and the stock vectors I needed. I’ve also been developing enough lately that I know where to get music and sound effects. So finding media wasn’t an issue.
I recorded the audio all together because I wanted to try and get a casual, conversational tone. However, in working in PowerPoint, it’s best to split the audio up per slide. That makes it a ton easier to sync the animations. The other thing that posed a bit of an issue was the background music. Easy enough to put into PowerPoint but I found that, even when set to low, the music was still too loud for the narration. So you might want to use a free audio editor like Audacity to work with the volume.
Take a look-see at the just over one minute video I created for Fit.o.poly sales people on the GetUp band product knowledge. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments.
- Running by Eric Benoit from the Noun Project
- military press by Demograph™ from the Noun Project
- cyclist by Arthur Shlain from the Noun Project
- RRMX FIRE MEDIUM 3 sound effect by FreeSound user skyklan47
- Blue Skies by Silent Partner