Keith Anderson has championed animated video at Lowe’s Hardware, Orchard Supply Hardware, and now Sears Home Services. We were happy to hear his story when we met him in 2016, and it’s been exciting for us to follow his career growth, along with the evolution of his video production skills, since.
As the Senior Director of Learning at Sears Home Services, Keith is a pro at training his teams to use animated video. He has introduced the concept to three companies now, and the positive outcomes are unmistakable. Here we caught up with him on the trade show floor at ATD Atlanta to get his candid thoughts on the use of video, the future of video in eLearning, and how the use of video is spreading across his company. Watch and read all the innovative ways Keith uses video to accomplish his learning objectives and improve business outcomes interdepartmentally.
Keith discusses GoAnimate in the videos below. GoAnimate is now Vyond. Learn more about the changes.
Why animated video: the work, the worker, and the workplace.
KA: [In 2015] I started working with my team to figure out how to get our messaging out to deal with the work, the worker, and the workplace.
If we think about the work, in my space, we’re a dispersed workforce. I’ve got people in 47 offices around the country. For the most part, they’re customer-facing. They don’t have time to be sitting in an office, and they don’t have time to be taking a two-hour eCourse. So the work is very specific. Looking at the worker today, we’re dealing with a younger workforce. We’re dealing with a YouTube generation, where they want just-in-time learning. They’re used to going to YouTube to learn whatever it is that they do. And the workplace — for us, that’s somebody’s car or somebody’s mobile phone.
Vyond lets me use these little videos as 60 second teaches. When somebody needs to know “how do I do something,” they can either learn it right before they do it, or if they thought they knew it and struggled, they can go back and learn it afterward. So now, by using cell phones, by using animated video, by using well-written job aides, I can go in and get this information to the person, when they need it, just-in-time, in a way that resonates with them. It’s not watching a PPT, it’s watching a YouTube video, which is how they learn to do everything that it is they do today.
How do you use Vyond?
KA: I’ve been using Vyond for about 2 years now. I actually got introduced to it when I was looking for animation editing software. The company I was working for was interested in doing some whiteboard videos, and researched half a dozen companies out there. Tested several, took a test run, and Vyond was by far the easiest to use, in the shortest period of time, so the shortest learning curve.
I use Vyond in several different ways today. We use it in anything from a communications video to kick off a new program — we’re actually using it to support our recruiting in marketing efforts.
I use it a lot in the microlearning space. So we’ll actually create 60 – 90 second training videos that we can send out to our dispersed workforce to introduce them to new ideas, which we can then supplement with additional materials. We’re also starting to play with using Vyond in a blended space, where we’re combining it with live action. So we’ll cut back and forth between live action interviews, bring in some special effects, scenes, and character actions to supplement what we’re seeing on the screen.
How are other departments at your company using animated video?
KA: We recently did a kickoff video for our recruiting team “ why work for our company,” so it’s a series of ten different messages all woven into a 45 second video with an animated background and electronic music. Everything is synced to the music so we can actually go through and we can take these effects and we can tie them in there so when the 45 seconds are done, you’re all pumped up and looking for “what’s the big take away?”
We’ve done some specialty videos for some of our other departments. One of my departments wanted to do a video about “how to build a display.” So we actually used my digital camera and shot a series of photographs about this display being built. Each shot showed one more element being added. I then imported all of those photographs into Vyond, shortened the scene length to about a quarter of a second long and played them together so you see a stop-motion type build of this display where the items go through in a period of a couple of seconds, builds this thing from start to finish. It’s a really cool effect, maybe not something that Vyond was built for in mind, but really gave us a neat tool to just look at things differently.
What other unique things are you doing in Vyond?
KA: One of the fun things about Vyond is that every time I use it, I try to learn a new technique or a new feature that allows me to expand my repertoire and get my learners more engaged.
We’ve done things where we’ve embedded videos within videos, I’ve had an animated character on the screen, talking about a live action video and we’ll draw in a video monitor on the screen and have the live action video playing while the animated character on the screen talks about the live action videos, so we’re blending different types of effects, whether it’s live action video, real photographs, all in with the animation and it makes it kind of fun.
How do you introduce Vyond to new employees and departments?
KA: When I bring Vyond into a new workplace, I have to be very careful because I had a manager tell me last week, on his introduction to Vyond, that his entire team “geeked out” on the videos. So the acceptance in the learning organization is huge. I have to spend time actually teaching them to think as I do.
We don’t want to create Looney Tunes videos, we want to focus on good, sound learning theory and actually being able to get a message out to the people. So, I actually spend somewhere between two and four weeks teaching my people: how many objects on the screen, how do we sync voiceovers, how do we use background music, how to we theme a video, how to limit the number of objects [on screen], what’s the right number of concepts to teach in a single video?
For most of my people, there’s a two to four-week learning curve – not on the physical use of the tool, but actually on the mindset, so we can get a great microlearning message to our customer (our learner) in 60 seconds or less.
Where do you see video & eLearning in the future?
KA: When I think about where we’re moving forward with this, a lot of us (in the Learning & Development world) work within two different learning environments. We deal with the classroom environment, and we deal with the eLearning environment. The eLearning environment lends itself perfectly to video. I’m looking right now at how to take the classroom environment to the next step.
If you remember Jurassic Park, you saw John Hammond talking to himself on screen. We’re actually doing that for a meeting coming up where there’s an animated me on the screen, and a real me in the classroom. We’re going to go back and forth and exchange ideas and teach by me talking to myself. And at some point, the animated me will kick the real me out and take over the presentation.
So the use for video is insane. I don’t know where it’s going to go or what it’s going to do, but we’re always looking at new ideas for how we can continue to elevate our abilities using video in today’s learning space.
More from Keith
Read more about how Keith implemented animated video into a blended learning program at Orchard Supply Hardware in this case study, and watch his microlearning webinar with professor Karl Kapp on-demand here.
GoAnimate is now Vyond. Learn more about the changes.
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