Do you know who won the first prize in Asia’s got Talent last year? It was a group from Philippines who call themselves El Gamma Penumbra. They are an all-male, shadow play group. Well, I had never heard of them until someone forwarded a video of their performance through WhatsApp. Wow, what a performance! I will share the video in a while and you must see it to believe it! There is a lot we can learn from them as we develop e-learning or online courses.
Aesthetically blend instructional strategies with modern digital media
Members of the El Gamma Penumbra group wanted to create a niche for themselves admist the many hip-hop groups in Philippines. Inspired by the traditional shadow puppetry, they started working on shadow play using a tarpaulin and halogen light. By the time they came to the finals of the game show, they mastered using digital lights, music, colors alongside their creative talent that required clever manipulations of the body to create figurative illusions on the wall behind. Hats off to the person who conceived and executed the whole idea. They used their creative talent using digital media to present the show in a new and innovative format.
Similarly, as instructors, we have the pedagogical knowledge to teach. If we creatively blend the instructional strategies with technology using digital media with its audio and visual elements, it surely is going to make a lasting impact on learners. That is what e-learning is all about. Once the learning objective is given, we need to conceive a theme and present it in a visually appealing manner and ensure that the subject matter sticks in the minds of learners. There are various tools that can be used to achieve this end. Scenarios, case studies, or story-based learning can be chosen as a theme and executed using animations, simulations, or videos to make the content appealing to our learners. In a way, we need to be artists eager to put our creative best for our learners.
It is not the length but the depth of the course that matters
Nowadays, everybody is talking about micro learning. Course videos are encouraged to be in short modules of about 5 minutes or less long. Within that short duration, the message has to be clearly communicated in the most effective manner. And this is no mean task. El Gamma Penumbra, in this video demonstrates how this can be done. Within a little over 2 minutes, they visually demonstrated the dangers facing our planet and what we need to do to safeguard it. There was no ambiguity in the message; it was appealing to the emotional instincts of the viewers, so much so that they brought tears in the eyes of the judges. This is a great example of digital renaissance that we can emulate in our online courses as well. You will know what I mean when you watch this video – a tribute to mother earth. Here it is. Enjoy.
We do have sophisticated technology at our disposal in the form of rapid authoring tools, learning management systems, and mobile technologies. All these have truly revolutionized our lives, but the key is to understand that this digital renaissance will make a lasting impact in corporate training only when it is used and blended well without losing sight of the instructional objective. We may use the latest authoring tools and all the razzmatazz that comes with it, but in the absence of a well-defined instructional strategy, the message will be lost and the purpose is defeated. This is where I salute the El Gamma Penumbra group that has demonstrated how technology can be effectively blended with a well-defined and executed message to create a beautiful show. We need to draw inspiration from them for developing our e-learning courses.