The greatest tool I have in my learning kit bag is my trusty Canon HD video camera and I use it a lot! On the whole delegates are sceptical and many are positively against being recorded as part of a learning process. I hear the words “I hate seeing myself on film” from some people at the start of every course I do when the camera is being used.
In professional sports video has been used as a training aid for many years and is an accepted part of the learning process. In classroom based training however, it is rarely used unless the subject being taught is presentation skills. What makes the video camera incredibly powerful as a learning aid is the camera never lies and everybody knows this.
When I talk to people about their phobia of being filmed it has less to do with how they actually look (their appearance) and more to do with them not liking hearing back what they saying and how they speak. This is why I use video wherever appropriate.
In order for ‘soft skills’ learning to take place (behavioural change) there has to be an emotional link formed between the theory and the reality. Let me explain with an example, as a young child starts to get to the crawling stage, they will often crawl towards ‘danger areas’, let’s say a hot radiator. Mum or Dad will spot the danger and pick up their child with a warning of “No! That’s hot”. This may happen on a number of occasions over several weeks. One day the parent does not reach the child in time and they put their hand on the radiator. At that very point they get an emotional link that connects the words “No & Hot” to the actual painful experience of the heat. They learn not to touch hot things (behavioural change).
The video camera is the equivalent of the hot radiator in the example above. By seeing yourself doing and saying things that you don’t like, you are far more likely to start doing things differently. There are many other benefits too including:
The coach can base his feedback on what the delegate can see themselves doing, which stops the “I didn’t do that” thoughts that can occur when no video ‘evidence’ is available.
By working on skills over a number of sessions the learner the clear advances they have made.
Examples of great practise can be used to teach other groups (with the permission of the delegates involved.
Before using a video camera in any course I always follow these specific rules:
I provide advance warning to all delegates explain why and how the film will be used
I provide assurance that the film will not be used outside the classroom without their specific consent
Great leaders and managers are highly effective communicators and the best way to test your communication skills is for you to watch them! It may not be possible or appropriate to do this in the real world and so a classroom is a great alternative.