Volvo: Humour in video training

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…we remember stuff because it has made us laugh, it’s changed our state, and we remember that little giggle that it’s given us.

John Merrell in conversation with Video ArTS

Video Arts: Thanks for joining us. Yesterday we saw your conference here at the Learning Technologies exhibition on video for learning. The organisation had to find you a bigger venue to present in, which says something about the popularity of the subject matter. Why is video for learning such a hot topic at the minute?

John: Well, it certainly hits an awful lot of points in our memory and we can recall learning a lot quicker. You can rewind video and search and chapterise it these days, which means that once you have rolled out a programme you can repeat the same message time and time again which is great for recall. And with video of course you can chop it up and deliver that video wherever and whenever – whether it’s mobile or whether it’s on site, and repeat it as part of an e-learning programme to get the long term memory recall.

Video Arts: You’re a big advocate of using humour based video for learning, what do you think it is about humour that gets the message across so effectively?

John: I think it taps into your emotions and creates a feeling of a positive mind-set. We know humour reduces stress a lot and we know that people engage with is as it works with the clever use of words – and respond to that. And I don’t know if all that time ago video Arts knew about that, but I think it’s great that you have latched onto it, and we know now that we remember stuff because it has made us laugh, it’s changed our state, and we remember that little giggle that it’s given us.

Video Arts: We talked a little bit about Video Arts content, and some of your self-authored content, and you made the really valid point that there is a place for different types of content.

John: Yes, there’s definitely a place for off-the-shelf content and self-authored content. For example it’s a lot harder to chapterise your own content unless you have all the information, so that’s a downside of self-authored. That’s where someone like video Arts comes into their own as you can do that for us. Where home-video is great is when you need to be really, really specific. If you have something that is very particular to your organisation, then home-video is the way to go. And these days with camcorders it doesn’t have to be a bad production. And if the quality is lower, sometimes it’s worth that little sacrifice.

Video Arts: I know you have a few favourite Video Arts programmes- tell us what they are and why you like them so much.

John: I have a few, one goes back to the ages, and that’s ‘What the Window Cleaner Saw’. I think it hits some really good nuggets about body language that are still true today. We talked about humour – and look at how well that works here. Even opening the snap box, if you remember how that line goes, sticks really well. So that learning for me has really stuck. The one I showed yesterday, Assert Yourself, also has a lot of humour in it. And Fish! as a motivational video  is awesome, it really captures that market well and brings us all into the motivation.

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