There's a video that's been showing up time and time again in e-mail, Facebook and other avenues of communications. I've received it dozens of times and every time I receive it, I watch it. It's a simple video- a camera mounted on the front of a street car as it travels down Market Street toward the Ferry building in San Francisco. Apparently, this video was shot just before the big earthquake of 1906
As you watch this video you'll notice a lot of activity happening on the streets of San Francisco. There are pedestrians, horses, carts, trams, and cars. Each of these are moving up and down, or across the street. Cars are weaving in and out as they move down the street. There are no painted lines for each lane. There are no stop or yield signs. There aren't any stoplights. People are walking across the street from any point to any point without crosswalks. Horses and the carts they pull follow their own paths. Essentially, everybody is doing their own thing without direction (aside from stay to the right), and amid the chaos, everybody gets to where they're going without incident.
Today, we have order in how we manage transportation streets and it doesn't matter if we're in a car, walking, biking or even riding a horse. We have "rules of the road" that dictate the speeds we drive, where we cross the street and when, and how to use other means of transportation on public streets. These rules of the road are enforced by the police. Over the years, traffic has gone from unregulated to regulated based on best practices determined over time.
After watching this video, could you explain to somebody that has not seen this video, nor lived during the time, just how unregulated and freeform the streets of San Francisco were? It isn't easy to describe with words only the way the cars drove, or the way each vehicle followed their own path as they skirted around stationary and moving objects in the road, without a visual aid such as this. By watching a video, one gains a deeper understanding.
Video is an excellent medium for training purposes and has been used so for many years inside progressive enterprises. Schools have put investment into video education for distance learning to expand their student base. The ability to provide people with a proven effective means of learning that supports self-pace and quality of experience while reducing costs demonstrates benefits to both the student and instructor. Video needn't be limited to training purposes. Consider when you have a conversation with a person, do you look them in the eye and they you? Do you feel more connected when you talk with your hands? Do you find yourself drifting off or checking e-mail while on conference calls, something you wouldn't do if attending the same meeting in a conference room with everybody? Do you see the body language when people talk with you?
Video says more then words because it gives you the experience of using additional senses. You're not just hearing, but you're also seeing. You're not just learning, but with almost 2/3rds of people being visual learners, you're absorbing and retaining more knowledge. If you watched the video you probably noticed the horse and car in front of the cable car, the cars zipping across the street in haphazard ways, the police officer crossing in front of the cable car, pedestrians going every which way, and the woman at the end of the line- along with many other fascinating sights of the day. Think about the processes in your organization that will be improved by video and what you need to do to embed video as a component that changes the experience for your users.