A short-cut to increased value of videos already made

You have already made your video-recording. It is fairly ok. But how about making it gazzlion times better so people watch all of it, and do not drop out after 30 seconds? This short-cut cost nothing, takes 5 minutes, can be used without changing your normal way of working. Evaluate it with your own eyes.

Below is the “tradional start” to the TV-series House of Cards. It includes the title of the movie, all people involved are mentioned, huge amounts of text is shown, and music. This is the way the movie industry historically did start a movie. You have seen this kind of starting-sequences to movies many times before.

Below you find the start of a very famous, but old, movie. It is from the late 1930s, “Gone with the wind”. There you can see what I mean clearly. A lot of text, some music, a background, but nothing do really happen, before the movie starts off for real.

However, the real first Episode of House of Cards did actually not start the way I just showed you. Instead, it started in the way you find below. It is dark, black, and you can hear a car hitting a dog, the dog is obviously hurt.

Watch it. Enjoy it. Or, get upset. If you get upset, you will have a good reason for it. Just give it a minute and you will understand why.

Actually, in the real first Episode of House of Cards, the previous “text-part” of House of Cards you just saw, do not start until after this episode with the dog.

So, you, who watch this, will start off by getting right into the action, before you even get to know the name of this movie. The name of it, and all the text etc, is presented to you like 5 minutes later, when you are already stuck – because of the previous action you just watched.

Which clip from the House of Cards would you prefer the first time you decide to watch a new movie that you do not know that much about before you clicked play? You would prefer the last one (am I right or am I wrong?). You would do that simply because it makes you lean forward, while the one with the text makes you lean backwards.

Why do we lean forward when this thing happen? It is because the clip with the dog puzzles our brain. Who is actually this man that in the beginning seems nice, then suddenly just kills the dog?…

The whole plot of House of Cards is actually presented to us in less than five minutes, so the dog-clip as such is really cleverly done by itself. But that is not the big point here, since we are not into movie-production. We are just into e-learning and soon you will get something out of this.

Now, please note the following: When you watched the Episode-start with the dog getting hit by the car, you did not even know who the person that is talking to you actually is. But you do not mind, since you are curious on him. Or actually, the video makes you curious. Maybe you actually did not understand anything from video, except: something strange is ongoing here. And that is the point! This is the reason why you want to see more.

Your brain gets puzzled and is searching for a conclusion so it wants more, even without you telling it to ask for more.

This is also the reason why you will accept the idea of me in the end of this dog-episode “forcing” you to suddenly see the classical text-based intro (which they actually also did in the real first Episode of House of Cards…in reality it starts off exactly when the second video ends).

But, if I would have given you these two clips in the classical order, the text-part first and then the dog-episode, the likelyhood of you already falling a sleep during that first short sequence would have been rather high. Maybe you would not even have watched the dog-episode, but dropped out before you even got there.

There is a reason why a TV-serie like House of Cards, that became a best-seller on Netflix just some years back, did not start in the same way as Gone With the Wind. We live in a digital age, and attention is important, but not that easy to get.

There is also a reason why the movie-industry nowadays often work in this way with starting sequences (very common in action-movies, like James Bond for instance). Today, it is so easy to drop out, just because we, as “students”, have become digital. Over time, the movie industry have found this out, by trial and error you even could claim.

There is also a reason why a lot of e-learning-videos of today makes people fall asleep, and leave. Huge amounts of them start off with a long intro, and no action. They start off like Gone with the wind so to speak.

We easily forget but the difference between having “students” in a class room and on a digital channel is tremendously high. To them, something else, maybe even more interesting, is just a thumb-pressing away. They easily leave us.

But you don’t have to end up in situations where students drop out from your digital course.

This is actually a very classical “trick”, so in some sense nothing is new here. It comes down to using an understanding on how the brain actually works, and why it works the way it does.

The brain is always searching for a conclusion, and as long as it doesn’t have it: it moves. But when conclusions are given to us, particulary by someone else; it stops moving. The reason why your brain constantly draws conclusions then comes down to biology and the way we as humans have survived during the last thousand years. That is also why this behaviour is so deepley embedded in our bodys that we do not even react on it. It just “happens”. We do not have to think actively and ask our brain to start acting like this. It is on autopilot, and should be on autopilot.

This can easily be used in order to make far more people watch your already existing video-clips compared to before – and thereby increase quality of your e-learning heavily. It is not about technology actually. Instead it is about how to use simple technology in a way that utilizes knowledge about the brain. Call it cognitive science if you like…it actually is.

Do like this:

1. Start your post-production-software, Adobe Premier Pro or whatever. Use the one you already use, or if someone does this for you (not all educators know how to use this kind of software). Then open one of your already existing videos.

2. Head for when you are in about 70 % of the time into that video. Normally, there is were you find the big “action”.

(Later on I can explain why your big action is exactly just there in your video, and neither somewhere else, but that is for later. It is not about cognitive science, but about how your normal and natural “workflow” tends to function.)

3. Copy just a couple of seconds from that part of your video, and paste it right into the begging of your video (before your text-intro). Then watch it.

Volia, it became more interesting, right?

In average it even becomes gazillion times more interesting in the eyes of the viewers, compared to before. Great, and somewhat fun, isn’t it? I mean: you nearly did not do anything at all here, and still quality goes up. It took you less than 5 minutes.

If you click this link you can see me using this simple trick in an existing e-learning-course that had nearly no budget at all and nearly any technology available: “Impact from Digital Transformation” (A course at Coursera) . It is the first video in a course called “Impact from Digital Transformation”, given at Coursera. In the video I start off by saying something like “We need to have the right kind of map…” but I guess you do not understand what I mean by that. And that was the point!

Some minutes later in the video you will then see me saying the same thing again, and then you will get it.

By that, at least hopefully, I made you watch this whole video, simply because of this trick, at least more people than otherwise.

(Yes, I do know that there is small “Logo-start”, with the EIT-logo that still is somewhat in the way here, but just wait two seconds…EIT really wanted it in that way…I tried hard, but did not manage to convince them to move also that small part to later).

In average, I guess you know, but huge amounts of people at this moment do not watch the whole videos that you find in an e-learning-course. Making people watch your whole videos can make a tremenous difference. You make videos because you want people to watch them, right?

Notice: This means that you will have this small section of your video two times in your video. Keep it that way, because the second time the person see it, if they even notice it, they are likely to smile a bit…their brains are getting the answer that it had been searcing for all the time. The puzzle that kept them watching your video all the way is now “solved” for them. You do not have the same amount of time, and money, as House of Cards, so why spend time taking it away if it is not even needed? So, keep it two times.

(If you do take it away, it will also have other conseqences to your video and then you will have to spend time on fixing these issues instead.)

By just using our existing knowledge on how the brain actually functions there are lot of easy ways to increase quality on E-learning-productions, without having to spend a lot of money and time, and without having use of what normally could be called “video-professionals”. You do not even have to change your natural way of working. All this is based on the video you already have made.

The big trick is not having huge amounts of resources, and time, so you can make a great e-learning-course. Everyone can achieve great result with such kind of resources, if you ever get it, that is (most educators never do!). The impressing thing is when you can achieve huge impact and high quality, in less than five minutes and with no money. Now, you actually can. ;.-)

If you search on this blog you can find more simple tricks like this one.

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