There’s a great Wired magazine article this month in which Chris Anderson, curator of the TED Conference, makes some provocative statements about the power of online video as a social learning tool and facilitator of innovation:
I believe that the arrival of free online video may turn out to be just as significant a media development as the arrival of print. Free online video is creating new global communities, granting their members both the means and the motivation to step up their skills and broaden their imaginations.
As support, Anderson provides examples in which exceptional performers (elite dancers, TED Conference speakers), learn from their counterparts around the world by watching them online. The best aspects of the observed performances are emulated, and new ideas and innovations added. As a result, the collective performance level of the group quickly skyrockets.
Innovation has always been a group activity. The myth of the lone genius having a eureka moment that changes the world is indeed a myth. Ideas spawn from earlier ideas, bouncing from person to person and being reshaped as they go.
But why is video so much more effective at accelerating innovation than, say, print – or even eLearning? Because video is, apparently, a perfect manifestation of social learning theory. As defined on wikipedia:
Social learning theory outlines three requirements for people to learn and model behaviour:
- Attention: retention (remembering what one observed)
- Reproduction (ability to reproduce the behavior)
- Motivation (good reason) to want to adopt the behavior
This definition does describe video perfectly, especially when compared to eLearning and certainly compared to print. Instructional designers would be wise to become versed in basic video production, since its utility and ubiquity as a learning tool will only continue to grow.
Here’s a quick primer on video as a learning tool from Learning Solutions Magazine.