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Thanks Tim. very informative & helpful post. Keep posting like this.
Thank you Shailesh!
Tim, thanks so much for this post. I appreciate you sharing your different writing styles and your suggestions. This was a pleasure to read.
This is nice, I’m going to post a link to this article into a related post on my own blog.
Sounds good, thank you Jeff!
My pleasure, Tim.
My own blog post already has several other links to other folks’ blogs too, pointing to posts on related topics. You may find some stuff there to interest you, or perhaps you’re familiar with them already.
Here’s my blog post on Writing Instructional Materials, which now has a link to this blog post written by you. You have some nice stuff here, well done.
I like this line Tim: “It’s a waste of time to create a talking head video that simply lectures to your learners.” Way too much do I see a talking head, or worse yet an animated talking head that just becomes creepy. Always ask “does this add anything for the learner?”
Thank you! And I totally agree with about the animated avatars. Don’t care for those either. There cool to be cool, but really have any true use.
I agree there’s definitely some use cases for a person talking in a lesson, like a subject matter expert telling a story or really cementing an idea. When I see an animated person lecturing to me though, I instantly want to turn it off. When I see a person giving a really captivating lecture who is giving a good performance also though, I think there’s a true place for this along with the slides so we know what the presenter is talking about.
I guess my thought would be you just have to be careful and not just stick a talking head in there because research says it’s better. Sometimes it’s better, sometime’s it’s not. You just have to ask yourself, “why am I putting this here?”
Great points! In fact, I think with EVERYTHING we write in our narration or design on our slides, we need to ask ourselves, “why am I putting this here?” SO important!
I think I have read studies that show including an animated avatar (or a talking human face) increases comprehension and retention because our brains are “hardwired” to pay attention to human faces. No?
Although I don’t care for the look and feel of an animated avatar (I think they’re creepy), I do think there is a time and place for a “talking head.”
I think my issue with it is that I’ve never seen it done well. Like I always say, everything should be done with intention. But too often do I see people use video/animated talking heads because it looks cool, not because it enhances the content.
I’d be curious to see the data on it…I feel another blog post coming on!
Thanks for contributing to the conversation Jeff!
I don’t actually use them myself. But I do think there’s some evidence that having a human face (even an animated avatar) helps to focus the attention of the learner, and I think that’s one of the reasons these are used.
Our brains are designed to automatically look for and pay attention to faces (I’m not sure if it’s human faces or if any face will do–for example, you’d think it’s important to recognize and pay attention to the face of a leopard too).
In this blog post I wrote recently (http://blog.convergencetraining.com/2013/06/human-information-processing-system.html), if you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see a link to a video by a behavioral psychologist, Dr. Susan Weinschenk, who makes that point while advocating the use of videos that feature humans speaking. Here’s the relevant part of my blog post:
“Try using online video that includes people (either animated or “real life” people). For a brief explanation why, go to this course from the behavioral psychologist Dr. Susan Weinschenk (who goes by the name of “The Brain Lady”) and watch the free sample of Video 42, “Why Online Video is Compelling.””
I have read similar things elsewhere, including a study that I read several years ago at a website created by Adobe as part of their support services for Captivate.
Thanks for sharing this! Good info here. I’d love to conduct an experiment with a course and have one with a video and one without, then test the learners on the content and see if there’s a difference. I can definitely see the benefits of having a human face in some instances…just as long as it’s intentional and serves a purpose.
Oh, sorry, the URL for Dr. Susan Weinschenk’s video didn’t come through:
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Thanks for sharing!!!
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