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October 2012 L&D Community Editorial: Keep Calm, and Send Me Your Videos

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Mon Oct 15 2012

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Some of this year’s L&D Blog posts from Chopeta Lyons and Ruth Colvin Clark have inspired me to consider carefully the important connections we make between visuals and the concepts they represent. There probably isn't a learning program in existence in which designers or facilitators aren't inviting their learners to form some sort of relationship, be it basic or complex, between an image and a crucial chunk of information.

When L&D professionals try to make instruction memorable and applicable on the job, visuals can be one's most reliable tool, and there is a wealth of evidence to support these efforts. But a recent Chopeta Lyons blog entry reminds us that what learners' brains actually see, and what we intend for them to see, don't always synch up. Even seasoned trainers need to hunt down resources to help them strengthen the image-to-idea connections in classrooms. After all, those of us who have ever worked in marketing or advertising know that these connections can mean everything to how successfully you engage your audience.

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I recently watched a YouTube video on the origins of the World War II era "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters. It's pretty fascinating how such a simple, utilitarian slogan quickly became a nearly ubiquitous Internet meme more than 70 years later. It's also a bit troubling to think that, thanks to the Internet meme movement, an image that resonates with people and symbolizes a harmless idea today, can morph into something dramatically different overnight. (Does anyone remember what happened to motivational posters?)

So this month, I'd like to offer you what I hope is an interesting and reflective challenge: Send me a short, 60- to 90-second video about one of your most unique or successful uses of images in the class or in a program design to evoke certain connections or reactions. What did you use? How did it work out? Most importantly, what did you learn from your learners? Maybe you have even used the Internet meme phenomenon to effectively brand your training or make an important concept extra sticky.

Email me your ideas, and I will post the best video in next month's newsletter. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with. In the meantime, click here.

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