The presenter for most SDLP’s (Self Directed Learning Packages) is abbywinters.com co-founder Garion Hall. You can read more of his writings on our Careers website, and read his bio on the main abbywinters.com About Us page.
Early screencasts were created using the buggy and imperfect, poorly supported, but enviably simple Frontcam (www.frontcam.com) (we have paid for several copies, but the “unregistered” message still shows up sometimes!). We used Encoding.com to convert the multi-gigabyte AVI files it created to much smaller MP4’s.
We’re using the excellent Camtasia v8 (made by www.techsmith.com) for all other SDLP’s, and it’s highly recommended.
As we grow and change, we need to train up new media professionals, and indeed, all new staff that come to our company. Common complaints with training – ours, and others – include:
- In groups, some are more advanced, some are less skilled, meaning lessons only suit a small number of people
- Illness affects training schedules – if a session is missed, there’s seldom time to catch up
- While students always take notes and trainers provide handouts, valuable lesson discussion can sometimes go unrecorded
- Training people remotely is costly (travel expenses), impersonal (email), or has time-zone problems (Skype)
To solve some of these problems, and advance our “reach out” strategy, we’re making a selection of our training materials available online in the form of “screencasts” – computer screen recording with narration from our fearless leader, Garion Hall, and other expert staff. We call these “SDLP’s” – Self-Directed Learning Packages, because they usually consist of several tools in addition to the video itself.
We hope the benefits will be:
- Time-shift learning to suit students. Screencasts can be created at times that suit the trainer, and be consumed by students on their own schedule
- Location-shift learning – for example, screencasts can be watched on mobile phones on public transport, or on-set
- Students can refer back to sessions whenever they need, to brush up on specific areas
- Some sessions come with interactive modules, assignments or projects. These are completed by the student, and reviewed by the Trainer, perhaps as a group with all students
The inspiration for these came from Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.com), and while our humble lessons are nowhere near as cool as Sal Khan’s, we hope it proves to be as valuable in our small universe.