Videos: Don't Seek Perfection, Just Do It!
With all credit to Nike, "Just Do It!" also summarizes the video advice of Jon Bergmann, the Chief Academic Officer of the Flipped Learning Global Initiative in this installment of his series "Do This, Don't Do That" in flipped learning (https://flglobal.org)
One of the premises of VetMedAcademy's platform is that we seek instructors willing to develop and share accurate, relevant instructional content, not perfect video productions. In fact, a video production may not be as effective as a directed reading, but we also are currently seeking to educate a generation that has never known a time without a computer or mobile device where text works less effectively.
Sure, too many imperfections can be a distraction to the learner, but as we work with faculty seeking to replicate just parts of what they might do in a 50-minute lecture, we find that some become paralyzed by the need for perfection. Most vet schools now record lecture presentations automatically, and while these are often too long for the most efficient learning or review experience, it might be instructive for any instructor to listen to themselves for at least 10 minutes on one of these recordings. Firstly, you'll recognize several things....
1. 10 minutes listening to oneself is difficult!
2. It is rare that you are "perfect" in diction, presentation or pace
3. You, like the students, want to speed up or slow down the video (i.e. "control the remote")
But then you should return to your snippet and identify the "nuggets" of wisdom, knowledge, experience, that you wish your students would grab onto and hold from that moment forward. This should become a reason to take the time to consider compartmentalizing your instruction into shorter segments and "memorialize" some of it by developing videos for initial content delivery and/or review. The simplest approach is to identify the themes or concepts you've included in each 50-minute lecture and break up an existing lecture into 5 or more parts. The average attention span is somewhere between 6-10 minutes, we are told.
However, as Bergmann implies in his excellent series, if you do plan on developing video instruction for a flipped or blended learning environment, don't dwell on perfection. Salman Khan actually founded Khan Academy on the idea that "explainer" videos, created as you were walking a learner one-on-one through a topic or concept, have enormous value for their informality.
How how do you get started with "Just Doing It"? Firstly, let's define "instructor" very broadly as an current or retired faculty member, a practicing veterinarian or technician, and even a student/learner. Everyone has something important and relevant to share. I'd recommend picking a topic about which you have great passion, and feel that you have something important to pass along. It might be 3, 6, 10, or 15 minutes. Give it a try after listening to Jon Bergmann's video. Then share it...JUST DO IT, perhaps on VetMedAcademy, or elsewhere where you can reach a learner. You might be glad you did. You've succeeded even if you reach one person trying to follow your footsteps.