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Video Arts in conversation with Mel Cooley, Learning Solutions Manager, Newsquest

Video Arts in conversation with Mel Cooley, Learning Solutions Manager, Newsquest

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Working with Video Arts helped us to demonstrate that you can go online for just 5 or 10 minutes and actually learn something… It really helped people to change their perception of what online learning should be about.

Mel Cooley, Learning Solutions Manager, Newsquest

When did you first start working with Video Arts?

I remembered using Video Arts when I started out in my career – and that’s a good 25 years ago! The content’s obviously moved on since then but it still backs up the studies that say how humour helps us remember what we learn. It’s that memorability that’s made me include Video Arts as part of the learning strategy at all the companies I’ve worked for.

In all the businesses I’ve worked in, we have always had a job to overcome the perception that all e-learning was boring – ‘Death by PowerPoint’ if you like. Working with Video Arts helped us to demonstrate that you can go online for just 5 or 10 minutes and actually learn something, it didn’t have to be hours and hours of read and click, read and click. It really helped people to change their perception of what online learning should be about.

You’ve won awards in the past for the success of your e-learning strategies. What’s your secret?

Well firstly you need to make sure you’re giving people regular ‘nudges’ to get them to engage. If you put all of this lovely stuff up on the LMS and say “you’ve got everything you could possibly need” and never mention it again, people won’t use it and you’ve lost your chance to do what you want to do – which is change behaviour. Make a feature of it each month; pick a topic to promote – that’s what we did. We sent out regular marketing emails to the business to remind people. That’s why Video Arts content is really good because you can send short clips that boost interest and curiosity. That’s the key, it doesn’t matter how great your content is if people can’t find it or have no reason to find it.

Like the old ‘build it and they’ll come’ mentality?

Absolutely.

And, secondly, the content itself has to be compelling enough that it will draw people to it. You can’t just push learning on people all the time – you need to actually create a demand for it. In my last role we used to have 65% pushed content and we managed to turn that on its head, so 65% of learners started logging on and finding learning themselves. That’s because the content was user friendly, engaging and what they wanted at the time they needed it; right place, right format. The industry average is around 6-10% of population accessing the LMS and we started averaging 20-25% on a monthly basis.

Do you have a favourite Video Arts video or e-learning course?

‘If Looks Could Kill’! It’s very simple and you can’t be around Dawn French without laughing. You remember the message about how much your behaviour affects other people; it’s a really powerful message. Also, the Essentials micro-learning videos pack a punch in a short period of time, when people don’t have time anymore. I watched the new Leadership Essentials videos and I think they’re perfect to send to learners by email.

If you could have one film made especially for you, what would it be?

I think communication and team work; we just keep on getting it wrong. People manage with targets and deadlines and task focused skills but communication is trickier. You see more and more now, especially in the sales industry, that you need to master team work and emotional intelligence.

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