Bringing screencast training to the voluntary sector: A case studyby
Concluding our theme of the month, we look at how KnowHow NonProfit are benefitting from video screen capture.
KnowHow NonProfit (currently part of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) is an online support site for individuals working in the charity and voluntary sector in the UK. The site aims to provide charities and voluntary organisations of any size with easy access to guidance, training, resources and advice.
For KnowHow, ‘nonprofit’ is defined as any organisation or activity that does not exist to raise a profit, including registered charities, community groups, social enterprises, mutual societies, faith groups, churches, political parties and campaigning organisations.
The need to know
KnowHow wanted to provide easy access to engaging training materials, delivered by experts working in the charity and voluntary sector. Topics covered include finance, fundraising, governance, team management and developing web content.
The challenge was to find ways to provide training for small- to medium-sized organisations with limited budgets that are located throughout the UK. These size organisations are often located a long way from a central city, where face-to-face training is delivered. A small charity operating in the north of England, for example, may not have the time or budget to pay for a one-day training seminar and the cost of travelling.
The limited amount of accessible training available in the voluntary sector led KnowHow to bring the training experience online, providing a low-cost way of delivering quality learning content. To maximise the number of trainees benefitting from the service, the delivery medium needed to focus on an informal approach to learning where trainees could review and absorb materials outside of a formal, instructor-led scenario. KnowHow estimates 80% of learning that takes place in the workplace happens informally, and the organisation wanted to encourage trainees to learn in their own time with online resources.
Capturing learning content
Having reviewed the options for placing training online, KnowHow opted to develop StudyZone. StudyZone is a dedicated training site within the KnowHow website, and hosts a range of training videos and discussion forums designed for individuals in the voluntary sector. Users can purchase individual videos, or subscribe to the service for a monthly fee and view new and existing videos as required.
"80% of learning that takes place in the workplace happens informally, and the organisation wanted to encourage trainees to learn in their own time with online resources."
The training videos are based on presentations provided by experts and trainers in the voluntary sector. These presentations are repurposed using an online presentation tool (Prezi) and recorded as they are delivered in screencast format. A portrait-size video of the trainer delivering the presentation slide by slide is also subsequently recorded. The two recordings are then edited together to create the training video, showing the presentation slides and presenter in a 'picture in picture' format. A transcript of each video is also provided to users.
Bringing informal learning online
KnowHow has developed a range of screencast training courses, covering a breadth of topics essential to the smooth running of a charity or voluntary organisation. Each course can be viewed online and consists of four videos, each lasting 4-8 minutes. With the videos in place, individuals in small and medium charities can learn online without having to travel to a central location for a one day course. The training videos can be accessed as required by users, meaning they can learn in their own time.
StudyZone also encourages users to submit their own ideas for videos in the site’s forums. Users can vote on ideas put forward, with those proving most popular developed and made available online. Courses have proven popular with users, both in terms of the quality of content and low barriers to use. One user commented: “A splendid course. Covers the essentials nicely and concisely...I attended a training day on this subject not so long ago but I wish I had seen this course before I did - it might have saved me the time and money.”
In future, KnowHow is considering creating a community StudyZone area where users can submit their own screencast videos by potentially using Jing. StudyZone already hosts forums for each training video, where trainees can discuss content and share best practice. “The next step might be to get users creating their own content” said Cristina Tiberian, Online Training Editor at KnowHow . “There is an incredible pool of knowledge in our sector and we want to encourage voluntary sector workers to develop learning content and share it with others.”