Do your classwork at home. Do your homework in class

I found this TED video, below, from Salman Kahn, the founder of the e-learning company, Kahn Academy. After watching it, I knew there was something here for the enterprise.

Today’s video is different from the classroom movies in your school days. Back then your teacher wheeled in a TV-VCR or a movie projector. You, the kid, had to sit and watch until it was over. There was no fidgeting in those classes. Though we looked at classroom movies as a rare treat, the fact was, we got bored halfway through. More than likely in my case, I was ‘shooshed.’

Video has changed in so many ways since then. Now anyone can take a video and post it online. The ‘watcher’ is empowered as she wasn’t before: she can stop, rewind, comment on, add to playlists, ‘favorite’ and pass on to other ‘watchers’ in email and Twitter. The term for this is ‘lean-forward’ video. The watcher is engaged. She has as much control as the author. A lean-forward video has potential for the consumer, the student … and the employee.

Mr Kahn started uploading little videos of his lectures to YouTube. He immediately got some unexpected responses from the ‘watchers.’ They preferred his videos to the in-classroom lectures at school. Kahn decided to “flip the class room” and have the kids watch the lecture at home and do their homework in class. Comprehension soared. ‘Self-paced’ became ‘accelerated.’ ‘Lean-forward’ video lead to ‘lean-across-the-desk’ collaboration between students.

Can we ‘flip’ things in our companies? Could you ‘flip’ meetings by having people watch a presentation beforehand and then get down to active business in the conference room?  That’s pretty powerful. How many times have you sat in a meeting when presenter struggled to set up a PowerPoint on a projector, or worse, fumbled with an on-line Web conference? Why not record a narrated presentation, upload it, share the link with the meeting attendees? They can watch it in their own time and come to the meeting prepared.

Or better yet, not even have a meeting at all! Why not embed the video into a discussion thread and have people engage asynchronously? Think about it…

Here’s the TED video, below. It’s about 20 minutes long. Are there ways you could create lean-forward videos for your teams? You projects? Share your ideas!



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