Video isn’t what it used to be. It’s for lots more than just game review. Leading video software is still about game review and classroom sessions. But video can actually do much more to make your club more successful. At WeVu we understand that because we're players and coaches too (see the picture below for one of our founder's U18 teams). We've been out on the field with kids of all ages for thousands of hours.
The many uses and benefits of video is why the Canadian Soccer Association mandates a video program for its National Youth Club License program and US Club Soccer Youth Club Standards requires video for NPL clubs.
In this post we give you a preview of the material in our eBook that describes the five key benefits of a video program and how to start one at your club.
Better staff and parent coaches.
They can record parts of their sessions and send them in to staff for feedback and to earn club badges.
A better soccer culture.
Share key clips to some or all teams and coaches to educate them about how the game works.
Better tactical understanding.
Get players to really engage with video of their own games and pro matches by having them answer questions right along the video.
Better skills development.
Mini-homework for players. Give them ten minutes of ball work that they record and upload for coaches to check.
Record messages to sets of teams and distribute automatically to each team’s private site.
Video for Teaching the Game
Video is now a natural component of learning everywhere -- especially for young people who can’t imagine learning without it. But in general, youth sports clubs and coaches aren’t using video as much as in other areas of education.
Video for coach development
Club directors want to make their coaches better. For one thing, the better the coaches, the less troubleshooting is required and the club’s reputation steadily improves. And then there’s success on the field.
Using video really produces results, especially when you can build a culture of feedback on coaching practice. Sure, it’s a little awkward at first, but after the camera is rolling the coaches probably relax and run their session more naturally than with a staff coach attending in person and scribbling comments on a notepad.
Video for player skills homework
Practice time is limited. Too often, especially at older age groups, individual technical skills take a back seat to drills and small-sided games. One solution is to use video to get kids to do skills homework. This has to be part of all great clubs’ video programs. All the players need is their own ball and a smartphone on a stand or in a parent’s hands.
Video for parent understanding
Club directors and us coaches need parents to understand what we’re trying to accomplish. How many times have we heard parents yelling stuff on the sideline that is counterproductive: incessant screaming of “pressure”, “great kick Taylor!”, “kick it up, Sam!”, “get rid of it”, and “send him!”. We can ask them not to shout, but wouldn’t it be better to educate them a little so they can ask their kids the right questions after the game.
Video for player evaluations and tryouts
Finally, there’s the toughest part of every director’s job – player evaluations and team formation. How can video help?
You can use video to complement the way you do things now, or you can use it to transform player evaluation entirely.
As a complement:
For one thing, you can record evaluation (tryout) sessions. At the field, if you have 60 kids barging around you only get a few little glimpses of each player and evaluators’ judgments can be all over the map. Is it really worth having evaluators stand around and tick a few boxes or use a rating scale based on four or five touches per player? So why not record them and have staff coaches watch them later, comfortably, and use a player-rating rubric right in the video software that exports a report for you to use in team-formation meetings.
Transform your evaluations completely with video:
How much does the evaluation process currently cost in terms of registration, field costs, paying evaluators to be there in person, and getting their ratings and notes into a spreadsheet to share? Is it worth it? Are the evaluators ratings reliable, given how little they see and the artifical context the players are in? Do they correlate with the season-long judgments of your most knowledgeable, experienced coaches?
What if you put your resources into recording a couple of half-games for each team? That would help the teams, first and foremost, and your club would really stand out. (In fact it’s required by the Club License and Club Standards programs).
Soccer is not an easy game to record. It’s big. It moves fast. And what players are doing off the ball is just as important as what they’re doing on the ball. So here are some tips to get games recorded well enough so they’re useful, but without breaking the bank. In fact, sharing our step-by-step guide can get you good quality recordings done by parents or injured players or anyone else who can pan a video camera or phone on a tripod. The other option, of course, is to hire a recording service with high pole tripods and pro-level cameras.
Most of this guide is about recording games. If you’re recording smaller events like practice sessions or individual technique things get a lot easier. The only exception is that if you’re recording coaches running training sessions, you need good audio, so we help you with that in our eBook.
We think starting small with some keen coaches and competitive teams is the best approach. Then you can show off the success and you’ll have some evangelists in the club to motivate and help others.
Video analysis is huge for professional and college sports and now it is finding its way into youth sports, high school, and clubs too. But so far it’s mostly about game analysis – video sessions in classrooms. Most people don’t realize there’s a new way to use video for personalized coaching even in team sports. Players can have their ‘real coach’ coaching the team, PLUS a separate personal video coach. We’re not talking about the kind of skills coach that players get when they pay for professional one-on-one coaches. We’re talking about a coach to analyze training and games, and individual work separate from the team, and coach players on what to do to get better, including the mental side of the game.
In the old days, you’d need to have your personal coach in the stands and even at practices, spying on the whole team. But this is the age of video and phones and the cloud – YouTube and all that. Coaches can see players practice and play even when they live across the country or around the world.
Players have been making videos for recruiting for a long time now. So why not use the same technology while the players are developing, using video to get coaching tailored to the player’s needs, from a hand-picked personal coach?
There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is a good idea.
You probably have another reason. Let us know in the comments below.
Coming Next: Part II – How to use video for remote coaching
We (of course) think WeVu is your best bet for remote coaching.
YouTube is amazing. It is a big part of the rapid transformations in how we communicate with each other in the modern world.
Imagine if you met someone under 80 who didn’t know what YouTube was!
The problem is that YouTube is so dominant – and free – that people are trying to use it for more than it is designed for. It’s the obvious choice for sharing video privately because you can leave the video Unlisted, accessible by people who have the link. So you can share video privately by sharing a link in your group – on email or Facebook or whatever. [Fun fact: You can do this in Dropbox too, but for Basic (free) plan accounts you can only stream the first 15 minutes of a video.]
But there are serious problems with using YouTube like this.
This article tells you about much better alternatives.
There are so many kinds of groups that might want to share videos privately.
We see at least three problems with using YouTube to share videos.
First, it’s not really all that private because if you set it to Unlisted and share the link, and then that link gets shared just a little too far, then those people share the link, you’ve lost control and your only option is to take the video down. Maybe it can be posted again with a new link but then the cycle might start all over again.
Second, it’s cumbersome to keep multiple videos organized for the group. People often resort to another tool to store the links, like Facebook or Google Sheets. One high school basketball team, for instance, had a shared google spreadsheet with the names of the games they had played and a column with the link to the appropriate video. If you have a larger group with sub-groups, like teachers with groups in their classes, this gets really clunky and takes a lot of effort by the organizer. You can use YouTube Playlists, but you’ll have to provide a link to each one if your group wants to have multiple videos in multiple lists.
Third, while there are comments allowed on YouTube videos, they are only general comments, not tied to specific moments in the video. And they just appear in the chronological order they were made, so they’re not great for a group that wants to discuss what was happening and particular times in the video and have a dialogue about that, back and forth, asynchronously.
The solution to these problems is to use a private video site that lets you import YouTube videos, organize them by putting them in playlists or assigning them to subgroups, and allows commenting and replies tied to specific moments in the video.
Here are some tools to do this (jump down to our recommendation):
but our recommendation is...
Of course, we think WeVu is your best bet for sharing video privately, organizing the videos, and having discussions around them. WeVu is really free. All users get one free site where they can import YouTube and Dropbox videos. That WeVu site can contain multiple playlists and groups. You can invite as many users as you wish – up to 1000 per site. And best of all, when you log into WeVu you’ll see your own site and any other sites that you have been invited to. So you can be a site owner in control of one site but also be a member of other sites.
A simple feedback loop, applied in school zones in a small Californian suburb, “cut fatal injuries by about half.” (WIRED) By revealing speeding drivers’ speed to them via a giant on-street speedometer, “drivers slowed an average of 14 percent.” This effectively unraveled decades of law-enforcement dogma by proving the superior efficacy of feedback loops over punitive police surveillance, the traditional approach. Modern education has been moving slowly in this direction, but perhaps it lacks some of the tools that would enable this kind of feedback.
So what are feedback loops, what makes them so powerful, and how can they be applied to what’s going on in education thesedays?
40 years ago, Stanford professor Albert Bandura demonstrated that giving individuals clear goals and, more importantly, a means to evaluate their progress in real time, hugely boosted the likelihood that they would complete their given task. Bandura’s work has been confirmed and extended across psychology, epidemiology, military strategy, environmental studies, corporate training, engineering, and economics. The science behind the self-correcting magic of feedback loops can be broken down to four steps:
To use a very simple example , think about a tennis or volleyball player making a serve. If she observes the ball plow into the net, her brain instantaneously:
Enough serves and the player will be a top-level server due to the countless calibrations and recalibrations in this feedback loop. Ten thousand hours and all that…
But how can this be applied to a clinical context? Feedback is key in two growing areas in the health professions. One involves better feedback on the effects of medications and the other is in clinical skills education and training.
Consider the medical innovation Vitality GlowCaps – ‘smart’ pill caps that glow brightly and begin to play melodies as the patient’s time to take their medication gets nearer. Research has revealed the frightening fact that only about half of patients follow their pill consumption instructions exactly, leading to countless unnecessary deaths, particularly for those with heart issues. GlowCaps found a spectacular way to solve this issue. As Wired Magazine puts it,
“After three months, adherence in the control group had declined to less than 50 percent, the same dismal rate observed in countless other studies. But patients using GlowCaps did remarkably better: More than 80 percent of them took their pills, a rate that lasted for the duration of the six-month study.”
Harnessing the most fundamental element in the psychology of learning, this simple feedback loop has implications that could save countless lives.
What about feedback in educational programs – what problems can it solve? Consider the growing shortage of health professionals in countries like Canada. This excerpt from a 2016 Globe and Mail article sums it up best:
“The sum of all the numbers is a tightening nursing labour market,” says Karima Velji, president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), said in a statement. “Immediate action is needed to stave off the potentially long-lasting trend of a shrinking [registered nurse] work force and its consequences for population health.”
What’s causing the shortage in labor supply? One theory is that numerous adult learners are unable to commit enough time to traditional face-to-face classes due to economic and family pressures. To some extent, online courses can help, but these courses don’t give the student the practice they need to perform clinical skills.
Basically, online learners need feedback and even on-campus students could use a lot more practice and feedback. The main roadblock to more and better feedback loops in clinical programs has historically been data collection. Clinical educators have had to be present to see students performing skills and to give them the briefest of verbal feedback. Now that we’re in an age of video anywhere, anytime with smartphones and YouTube, surely there’s a way to use video for practice and feedback in clinical education. WeVu.video is betting that asynchronous video for practice and feedback at precise moments on student videos will become indispensable for skills training at scale. Using learner-recorded video uploaded to the WeVu platform, face to face student-to-teacher time can decrease considerably, lowering costs, time commitments, and even the program’s environmental footprint. But students will get more practice and more feedback that sticks with the learner. Online education with this kind of video-for-skills-learning may mobilize thousands of mature students unable to commit to a traditional schooling hours.
Feedback is really the central element of any skills learning program across many disciplines and professions. If technology can help us get more and better feedback, it will make a huge positive impact in our education systems. Fortunately, educators are now starting to see that video technology can contribute to the active, doing, part of education, not just the watching and listening part.
Educators in all fields, from theatre to architecture to food science, and even math, are starting to see how students can use their phones to make video and engage more strongly with what they're learning. Students make creative or explanatory videos, or just film themselves practicing the skills they’re learning.
With the disruptions everyone has experienced during the COVID crisis of 2020, video assignments may be even more powerful tools for keeping students engaged and promoting the social aspect of learning, even remotely.
As the technology gets more accessible and easier to use, more and more instructors have been turning toward student video projects as rich new form of evaluation and some are event favoring it over more traditional written assignments. Even the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English have added standards emphasizing the need to foster creativity by going beyond text to have students use other media in their learning activities and assignments (Morgan, 2012). Students, too, are usually prouder of what they’ve accomplished and say their learning experience was deeper when they make a video rather than handing in text.
So with the combination of high-quality video cameras on smartphones and cloud video sharing, we’re set to see an explosion of video and audio assignments in every discipline. It’s suddenly practical - easy in fact - for students to record and edit video. And it's a whole lot easier to submit the video so that teachers can give feedback and grades.
Kirkland (2006) offers a diverse list of video-making assignment project, including:
Videos can be much more than a student presenting or explaining the content they are supposed to master. They can be vehicles for creativity, for learning teamwork and project management, and the production will increasingly be an employment-relevant skill.
For example, here's the introduction to a video assignment from a course at the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health: "Do younger Canadians need a movement to promote their social determinants of health? Design a short creative video to answer this question."
In contrast to a typical in-class presentation that vanishes into thin air with little feedback, video assignments can be powerful learning tools for students as a persuasive visual argument requires deep, iterative conceptual and rhetorical thinking. Not only is it necessary for the student to synthesize various sources on the subject content, but she must also write it down as a script, read it, decide who to interview or record, and then create a video, requiring time spent filming and editing. All of those separate cognitive activities engage with the topic in different ways, stimulating creative and analytic work. Additionally, student created videos place students on display, and as such, students make a greater effort to master the subject content so as to avoid embarrassment in front of their peers. So students get to practice and demonstrate their grasp of key course concepts, but student-made video also promotes creativity and individuality, basically eliminating concerns about plagiarism.
A great deal of research reveals students themselves find video projects to be more beneficial to their own understanding and mastery of subject material. One study by Greene and Crespi (2012) looked at the perceived value of student-created videos as a tool for enhancing the student learning experience. Their data came from an accounting and a marketing course at a state university.
Each course assigned its students a video project to assess their mastery of the material. The survey data gathered from the students who created the videos revealed that students found such projects “creative, unique and educational.” Moreover, the students who watched the creative projects said “the videos were extremely helpful, put a fun twist on learning experiences, a very good way to review material while helping others to understand the material, interesting to see the material learned in a video format, were a good learning experience, and a simple way to remember/learn the material.”
However, while these assignments are fun and provide academic benefits, they can also be frustrating for both students and instructors if students plan poorly, are not trained and supported with technology, or are confused about the purpose of the assignment. As noted by Kearney and Shuck (2006), a gap exists in assessing learning outcomes for student created videos. This new form of learning activity brings with it challenges for teachers: What sort of guidelines should you set for video assignments? How do you make sure they are implemented effectively?
One of the most challenging aspects of assigning student made video assignments is designing a fair grading rubric that simultaneously helps students know what steps to take but doesn't quash their creativity. Video presentations are by their nature individually unique and the feedback on and grading of each assignment could therefore be quite arbitrary. It's critical that instructors set proper expectations for students so that they have sufficient understanding of the key items to focus on. Teachers will also have to have structured, regular check-ins with students. Ideally, the assignment will be graded in stages, allowing rich feedback (possibly on draft videos themselves with a tool like WeVu).
A basic video assignment rubric will contain some of the following elements:
The Open Thinking blog has a good set of ideas for educators wanting to start using video assignments. And here’s a simple example of one from a Cognitive Psychology class:
Teachers face another learning curve as they try to provide effective feedback helps students really learn and do better work next time. One problem is that the videos usually sit outside a school's online learning platform or the feedback is given as a separate text commentary, just like students get on the papers they hand in. The technology is just starting to catch up to what educators are doing — platforms like WeVu.video give students and teachers a place to share video without making it public, get peer feedback if desired, and get all the feedback on the timeline of the video, just like we’ve always done with comments in the margins of what we write. The videos can then be made public, without the comments, when they're done.
Video assignments are increasingly common and pedagogically powerful, but they need preparation and technology to succeed.
P.S. Here’s a nice short guide from Wired on how to make a film with a phone.
Video for Self-reflection and Self-critique
Recording yourself allows you to listen to your performance from the impartial perspective or standpoint of an audience member, critic or teacher. Whether you record a single phrase in a practice room or a full-length concert performance, recording allows you to stand back and listen as if it were somebody else’s performance, gaining insights you never could otherwise. As musicians we can then refine and improve our sound to align with our gathered insights. You listen to how musical your playing is – are you being as dynamic and tasteful as you could be? Is your approach appropriate for the genre or style? Recording sharpens your musicianship so that you can gauge every facet of your playing or singing with an impartial ear.
Just as anyone who has recorded themselves on video before has noticed, the actual tone of voice or instrument that others hear is very different than what you hear in your own head. This is especially important for vocalists as their self-perceived tone differs more dramatically from what their audiences hear. Recording yourself allows you to understand how you actually sound to listeners which is essential for delivering a excellent performance! Greg Foot explains this in a great video.
In addition to listening to the recording, seeing yourself on camera is great for performance practice as it is very important to see what you look like while singing or playing your instrument. Do you sit properly? Is your back straight? How is your bowing technique? Are there any bad habits you should be working on? During playback, you can then make those critical judgment calls, hear weaknesses, and more clearly hear how close your actual playing is compared to where you think you should be. Fixing these small technical imperfections will work wonders for improving your tone, confidence, and stamina.
All in all, the ability to reflect on one’s own playing and take action based on reviewing playback is a huge leap in a musician’s development. The more we can do to foster clarity of musical concepts within ourselves, the more consistent musicians we become, and the more joy we can produce when we play.
Video recording becomes all the more useful for a student when the players and teachers can have a dialogue around the recording even when they’re not in the same place at the same time. Web applications for audio and video sharing like WeVu.video, made for private sharing and pinpoint feedback, make this possible. As a student of music, you need someone at a higher level to push you past your current abilities; a teacher or mentor who listens and identifies what you can do to improve. Moreover, as many academic studies have suggested, instrumental music teachers should not only concentrate on instruction, but also give appropriately weighted and timed criticism and praise. Teacher approval and disapproval have a considerable effect on students’ motivation to study music, especially if given consistently. If a low-cost, private, efficient video web application can supplement face-to-face instruction, musicians can make progress faster and more effectively. They’ll know exactly the things they need to work on without having to wait for the next in-person session with an instructor. Thesedays, with this kind of web software for sharing and feedback, all the student needs to record herself is a phone!
Drs. Robert Taylor and Jonathan Girard, Professors and Band/Orchestra Directors at the prestigious UBC School of Music, have been leaders in using video software like WeVu to great success. As Dr. Taylor emphasized, these video tools are timely and ensure that none of the advice students receive are forgotten. When asked whether he had any advice for instructors hoping to implement this in their course, Taylor is very enthusiastic: “Jump right into it! This tool had an incredibly positive effect on my classes and it’s revolutionized the School of Music admission process. There isn’t a lot to worry about in terms of student reception, because they actually find it way more intuitive than we do thanks to all the different technologies they use on an everyday basis. This kind of tool is very powerful and will deliver.”
But what about community organizations that are operating in a place with no WiFi and don’t have a phone with a data plan for their organization. Lots of them think they can’t take mobile payments. But they can, for around $10 a month.
That’s the situation that Jericho Little League in Vancouver was facing. It had operated a little concession for years out of a public park building, with customers paying cash, just like the old days. But JLL thought it was missing out on some revenue to support their programs because people carry cash so much less than they used to. They wanted people to be able to use cards for chips (pun intended) and hotdogs, but they also wanted to sell some bigger-ticket clothing and equipment in the park.
One option would have been to use the data plan from a club official or board member, but then that person would have to be around all the time and it might accidentally use up their data.
So here’s what Jericho Little League did to allow card payments at the park. It took in $8500 in card payments in just a couple of months of the season. That’s lots of hoodies and hot dogs!
Jericho’s All-star teams also used WeVu for slow-mo swing analysis so they could share phone-recorded video among the coaches and players and make comments on the videos.
Once you’ve got the setup working, you’ll want to add your items to Square so that your staff and volunteers can easily tap on squares on a grid to choose the items the customer is buying. It’s cool – you can add pictures and sort items into categories like clothing or food. You can do that in the app or on a computer. Again, it’s best to do this at home or in an office using real Wi-Fi so you don’t use up your phone data plan. But Jericho did a little bit on the fly during the season and it didn’t use much data.
Here is a Word doc with instructions you can give to the people who’ll be setting up and making sales. You can edit it a bit to fit your context.
Some organizations use Square for both card and cash transactions so they can track revenue and inventory. You should consider whether you do it for cash as well or just card transactions.
You might want to examine some of the alternatives to Square.
You’ll have to figure out the best setup for charging to keep the equipment secure. It may be that someone has to take them home at night and return them or pass them on to the next people working.
In this two part series, I provide a guide that helps you do an effective video audition for post-secondary music programs, on a budget. I’ll dive in to the differences in sound quality between premium recording equipment, dirt cheap audio recording, and the mic that’s on your iPhone. You will be guided through the step by step procedures of how to set up this equipment, buy or borrow it cheaply, and edit it quickly with great results.
Recording video auditions can be a super stressful affair for senior students. The seemingly endless array of options when it comes to recordifng equipment or the uncertainty of whether or not your recording is of a high enough fidelity adds a lot of unnecessary stress. To address this, I’ll be going through exactly what equipment you’ll need, where to find it affordably, and how to shoot and edit your audition. At the end, I’ll be comparing the audio fidelity of a premium Shure SM7 mic, a cheap SM58 mic, and an iPhone mic as they record the same audition. Finally, I’ll point you to a free service that you can use to share your audition with the schools you apply to.
This is by no means a totally comprehensive guide to audio recording; instead, it’s a quick and dirty guide to getting your audition together on a budget.
1. iPhone (or Android, or whatever else. If you’re using your phone for audio, skip this section).
2. Digital Audio Workstation.
3. Audio Interface
4. Microphone (if you play anything other than guitar/bass/electric keyboard).
5. 1/4 inch or XLR cable
Plug in the Audio Interface to the USB port of your computer. You may have to download a free driver for some interfaces. For this example, we’ll be using the inexpensive M Audio M-Track, whose driver can be found here.
Vocalists and acoustic instrumentalists will plug the ‘female’ end of your XLR (the one with three holes) into your mic and the other end into your interface. Electric instrumentalists can plug one end of their 1/4 inch to their instrument and the other to their interface. If you wish to capture the sound of your amp, set up your mic 6 inches away from the middle of it.
Vocalists and horn players can simulate soundproofing by singing/playing into a stack of towels or a few thick sweaters. You’re not looking for sharp studio quality here – you just want to capture your tone as cleanly as you can and minimize background noise.
I’ll be covering an extremely basic guide to EQ and compression here. In Lehman’s terms, compression makes your playing’s dynamics (loud vs quiet) more even and smooth while EQ cuts out or boosts certain frequencies.
For the sake of this tutorial, turning on the stock compressor on your DAW software will do just fine. You can find it under (plugins -> dynamics -> compressor).
Reference the EQ screenshots below for an idea of what frequencies to cut and boost depending on your instrument.
Leave your EQ totally flat (don’t touch it) if you’re playing piano.
Horns & Guitar
Click here for part 2 of this series to learn how to edit and sync video to your audio with speed.
Stay tuned for part 3, where we compare the audio fidelity of cheap, mid-level, and premium recording setups.
At a recent Edtech event in London, startups were asked where they sit on a continuum from innovation to revenue. Most resisted the idea that revenue and innovation were at odds. They seemed to be thinking mostly about technological innovation. And it’s true that in the long-run, tech innovation and revenue in edtech go hand in hand. But what about pedagogical innovation? Or, at least, making edtech products that are in keeping with, and keep up with, modern pedagogy.
This is where there IS a painful innovation-revenue trade-off. It’s pretty clear that most edtech is on the revenue side, and you can hardly blame the founders of startups – it’s hard to swim against the current in education, especially when educators’ (slow!) adoption of technology is the only path to startup survival. But if tech innovation isn’t based on learning research and the wave of change it’s generating, our success in edtech, educational and commercial, will be short-lived.
The clearest symptom of this is all the talk – and big business – of content in edtech. Just look at GSV’s 2017 Acceleration Report identifying 16 companies that are “Weapons of Mass Instruction”. Their Edtech products, with the exception of IXL, almost totally replicate a traditional model of, yes, “Instruction”. We’ve added multimedia content and some gamification, but the pedagogical model is still impoverished. It’s mostly about getting content in front of learners rather than having them repeatedly practice and progressively develop skills.
The digitization of educational content is important, but there’s little that’s pedagogically innovative here. Digitization really just changes the knowledge delivery channel. Don’t get me wrong: this is transformational and liberating for populations that found traditional materials inaccessible, as the tremendous success of the Rumie project demonstrates. But with a focus on content, our industry misses a tremendous opportunity to swim with the tide of research in education that has completely upended the knowledge-focussed paradigm of the last thousand years. The revolution that Ryan Craig is talking about in College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education and the teaching that Cathy Davidson champions in The New Education is fundamentally about the triumph of skills – hard, soft, all kinds of skills – over knowledge.
Even Virtual Reality and Artifical Intelligence, front and center recently at @EdtechXEurope, @ReimagineEducation, @SXSWedu, and @GSV, is only pedagogically innovative to the extent that it’s built for personalized- and competency-based learning. Most applications of VR and AI remain grounded in a pedagogy that emphasizes mastery of bodies of knowledge. Some are explicitly marketed as technology that promotes better scores on traditional knowledge-oriented exams. By their very nature, VR and AI in education are directed to learning or doing things that are well-defined by educational content creators. To be sure, they may be very effective tools to speed up the acquisition of knowledge, but they do little to contribute to an education that gets students to know when and how to use the knowledge and then actually do the things they are learning to do.
Look at the Tyton Partners Time for Class 2017 report. It’s an industry-leading report on the state of technology in higher education. Or that’s what it’s supposed to be. But it turns out to be a report on “use and perceptions of”… wait for it… “digital courseware”. The first bullet point in the report mentions “expanding options for “digital learning delivery”. Delivery. The rest of the report is heavily focussed on content delivery; the word “skills” doesn’t appear once. It’s important to understand the pace of adoption and satisfaction with digital courseware, but it’s only a preliminary part of what we now think of as a total learning experience.
Then turn to the Unizin consortium, linking the leading public higher education insitutions of the US Midwest. Unizin is supposedly pushing an ambitious agenda to “improve the learning experience with technology”. Yet its website’s “Solutions” area consists of “Content”, “Data Management”, and “For the Learning Environment”. I imagined that the latter would be about technology built to facilitate learning how to think and do, rather than learning as knowledge. But disappointingly, the link there is to “Course Material Delivery” and the words “Content” and “Deliver” appear twelve times in that short webpage.
And then consider TopHat’s attempt to ‘disrupt’ the publishing industry and Perusall’s platform that allows annotation of textbooks. Rather than innovating and leaving the 20th century world of textbooks behind, these platforms buy into that out-of-date pedagogical model.
The examples are too numerous to catalog. Delivery of content still dominates the mainstream understanding of higher education.
We can look at Finland’s transformation of the pedagogy in its education system, in step with current research, and now being copied in China, to see where education is really heading. The Finnish system’s focus on phenomena-based learning, co-creation, and multidisciplinary problem-solving is where education is heading, there can be no doubt. This means that edtech must innovate to produce tools that facilitate this kind of learning.
Certainly, any tool that enables social and peer learning is going in the right direction. Eric Mazur, the Harvard Physicist who famously gave up on lectures, turned to peer instruction, and built the Learning Catalytics application to make it happen in traditional classrooms, is an example of someone whose pedagogy drove the creation of educational technology.
It might be surprising that putting technology to the service of deep learning of skills and competencies is natural in some of the most traditional subjects – Philosophy and English Literature. You would think that content would be king here, but in these subjects teachers have for a long time used techniques to develop students’ analytic, argumentation, and writing skills. That’s cleary demonstrated in the best book on teaching in higher ed, James Lang’s, Small Teaching; Lang is an English Professor. And the UBC Centre for Teaching and Learning partnered with faculty from these departments to develop COMPair and Studiorium, tech tools that have nothing to do with ingesting content and everything to do with active learning of skills for persuasive, effective writing.
Counter-examples of this progress abound, unfortunately. The gamification of learning, with technology like Gradecraft, is mostly designed for content ingestion so that students perform better on traditional assessments – exams. To be sure, deep gamification can lead to deep competency learning, as in this gamification of learning ultrasound techniques. But at present most of it is like the profusion of digital flashcards, built to help students succeed in the current, traditional pedagogical environment. And who can blame those who build these tools and the parents and students who use them. Tools for the gamification of fact-learning are squarely at the revenue end of the revenue-innovation trade-off.
One area that’s clearly underserved by edtech is the learning of hard and soft skills, both individual and interpersonal. For skills learning, we’re not even talking about innovative pedagogy. There’s no doubt that the only way to learn skills is to do them, over and over, reflecting each time, modifying techniques along the way, getting better along the way and learning what you’re capabable of doing. We still have a system of apprenticeship for skilled trades that dates back thousands of years and relies on repeated practice and coaching. The pedagogy of apprenticeship is in fact more relevant in higher education than many realize, in fields from the creative and performing arts to health professions to business and law. So why aren’t we seeing edtech building more tools for learning of hands-on skills or skills that involve some kind of interpersonal interaction?
There are a few such tools. Learning technologies used for simulation-based education in the health professions and public safety are important, but they are very expensive and involve an on-site hardware installation, like the products offered by CAE Healthcare. Startups like GoReact, Practice.xyz, and WeVu.video are using the fact that video recording is now accessible to anyone to build tools for practice and feedback over time and space, including for the skilled trades. We need more and better tools for collaborative, discovery-based skills learning, for educators to more easily put design thinking into practice at scale, and for real reflection and integration of learning like ePortfolios promised.
An educational model dominated by content delivery was a function of pre-digital, print technology. Technological innovation has given us a world where anything and everything can be digital, shared, and collaborative. How frustrating it will be if those building, buying, and using educational technology remain stuck in a pre-digital, pre-internet pedagogy and their technological innovation actually deepens the bias to a content-focussed model of education.
If you’re a sales manager, you can fund your next office party and have lots left over. To find those savings, jump bravely into using phone video recording and cloud video sharing to modernize your salesperson on boarding process. We’ll come up with about $20,000 in savings for you – plenty of money to spend on a great office party, with lots left over. Of course, you’ll probably spend it more responsibly, but that’s up to you.
Not only can you save thousands out of your budget but you’ll free up your own time to pursue bigger deals if you onboard sales people more efficiently.
Let’s talk about how we came up with this idea of serious savings and much more time for you. There’s a simple answer: Less hand-holding. Some sales organizations have the budget to do this with a full-scale learning management system for sales onboarding, like Brainshark. It’s an amazing product that includes a video coaching component, but you can get the benefits of video much more affordably with more basic video platforms.
Consider a sales department in a small to mid sized firm. A 30/60/90 day onboarding program for new sales people is standard industry practice, as Brian Groth details here. Some of that onboarding requires trainer and trainee to be in the same place at the same time. Organizing those meetings and sitting through them can be really painful. And expensive. So some sales teams have brought video into the equation.
But all this watching is pretty passive. How do managers know that the new people are actually learning from this. There’s research out there that says passively watching video doesn’t do much for learning. People need to engage cognitively with it to learn from it and they need to practice the stuff they’re supposed to be able to do; your new salespeople are no exception. You need sales mastery, so your people need to watch briefly, engage with the video content through dialogue, and then practice repeatedly.
If your new recruit is watching a YouTube video and has a question or five, they’ll have to note it and wait until your precious meeting time to bring it up. Now imagine on-boarding five question-having, video-watching recruits at the same time!
Let’s do some math. We assume your trainees have two questions per video, and you’re simultaneously on-boarding 5 trainees.
We just calculated 25 hours of your manager’s time just due to inefficiency. Let’s think of that 25 hours in terms of money.
The average salary of regional sales manager in the USA is $79,847. Assuming your manager has a 40 hour work week and 48 working weeks (2 weeks vacation, 2 weeks sick), that’s $79,847/ year = $1,663.10 / week = $41.58 / hr.
So without enabling dialogue right within the video delivery platform you’d be spending $1039.67 on the manager’s hourly pay unnecessarily. But obviously, if you free up the manager to be productive for those 25 hours, that’s worth a lot more. An experienced sales manager working on deals might bring in about $10,000 on average in 25 hours.
So over $1000 of base savings. And then $10,000 more in sales revenue.
But there are more savings to be found. The improved flow of feedback due to fewer in person meetings means that the onboarding period itself can become shorter. Sales people will be trained better and get working faster.
How much money would you save if a good video solutoin decreased your onboarding time by just 5%? Let’s do some math.
What if the efficiency gain from your video solution made your on boarding process take 5% less time? So as opposed to 90 days, training would take 85 days. When your new people are working full time for those extra five days, they’ll bring in close to $20,000.
That’s just from using technology more effectively as the new hires watch and engage with the video.
But you may still wonder how much they retain long-term and how they’ll react in real situations with customers and clients. It would be better to SEE them perform and react, right?
Many companies use simulations to see the new sales team member perform in a more realistic setting. But typically, sales simulations are done in-person with trainer and trainee. That’s also a logistical challenge, and WOW is it expensive.
There is. Here’s what you’d do:
What’s great about this process is that no-one has to be in the same place at the same time to do it. It’s not video AS a meeting, it’s video to REPLACE meetings and training sessions.
With a two-way asynchronous (not in real time) video platform for discussion and practice, your team will learn and practice the skills they need when it’s convenient. Distributed teams can do this anywhere. Using WeVu to store and organize your team’s self-recorded video, you and other managers can really coach them. The magic of smartphone video is that you don’t have to be in the same place at the same time.