Create great video learning content with a Subject Matter Expert.

For the millennials (and younger), video is like electricity.  It’s just there.  It doesn’t frighten them.  They don’t think about how it works and they can’t function without it.  My teenagers are constantly engaged with video learning.  It’s a formal part of their school learning, and it’s integral to their informal learning. They learn how to play video games by watching YouTube, they learn study hacks watching video.  My daughter learns incredible art techniques and how to make macaroons.  The learning possibilities are endless.

But the world is changing and we need to start getting comfortable with the possibilities of video.

In case you need convincing, or are curious about the statistics, have a look at this summary of where the world is heading in terms of online and video learning: Online Learning Summary

And also here: 5 facts you can use to make the case for video in your learning and development organization

So how do we as content creators get comfortable with the process of capturing video and how do we make our SME’s comfortable in front of the camera?

By far and away the fastest, most cost effective and accurate way to capture content is by interviewing subject matter experts.  SME’s may be part of your organisation, or an external provider delivering in house learning.  So how to go about capturing that content? And you are not alone if this seems like an overwhelming prospect.

To solve any problem, we need a roadmap.

Here is the VidVersity guide to capturing SME content on video.

1. Get you film kit ready. 

Do you have a smart phone?  A a coffee cup to prop it up on?  A a quiet room with no kids crying, dogs barking, people knocking on the door, colleagues telling raucous stories?  Great, you have a film kit!  You may think I am being flippant but here is an example of great content captured in exactly this manner. The Breakthrough Model with Melanie Haydon and Natalie Wieland.

Try it, test and then you just need to get your SME in the hot seat.

For the next level up, you can add a simple lapel mike kit and tripod to your set. There are plenty on the market.   Just make sure it is compatible with your phone and test if before you use it.

For the top end of production, you can organise a professional videographer for the day. And with a little planning you could organise multiple interviews in a day and gather hours of video content.

2. Get comfortable.

Get your SME feeling comfortable. There are a number of set ups that will work but ask your guest a few simple questions. How comfortable do they feel speaking directly to the camera? Would they prefer a more casual conversation style setup. The interviewer may sit out of view and the interview subject can be on an angle to the camera (and therefore feel less awkward). Sit down tonight and watch an interview style current affairs or new programme. How are they seated? There is no ‘wrong way’ and the best way is where everyone feels most natural.

3. The speaker set the questions.

Have your interview subject write their own questions. The SME is an expert and will have a natural design and flow in the way they will deliver information.  There will be an overview or introduction, then historical background, specific detail and  finally a conclusion. Alternatively, they may already have a powerpoint slide presentation which forms a natural design for your questions (1 question per slide). You are just leading them naturally to the next step. You are not a journalist, simply a tour guide for the learner. So just let your SME shine.

4. Further resources.

Interactive content may not suit the end product you are creating but see what your SME can offer in terms of additional resources. Have summaries, checklists and further reading available as an adjunct to the video content. Learners love it and it provides the opportunity for further learning and facilitates sticky learning.

5. Don’t over think it or over cook it. 

Remember content is king and ‘perfection is the enemy of progress’. It’s easy to get hung up on production values and stylish editing. That’s great if you are creating a video overview of your organisation for investors and clients. But if you are trying deliver a constant stream of timely, valuable information to your learners then get it out there.  Ultimately it’s the content that is valuable to the learner. New legislation may affect your staff and clients. Get that to them immediately. Perhaps there is a new product feature that is critical for your customers. Get that to them straight away. We are already seeing our own staff well ahead of those using traditional methods, text based newsletters and documents.


Want some more ideas on designing your content and capturing video content?

Read this post on repurposing webinar content.

Re-purposing webinars with an online video education platform

Check out this video from our Founder, Natalie Wieland.



Written by Liz Kollias

Lawyer | Writer | Part of the VidVersity team | 10 years in online learning

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