Digital Versus Live!

Birthday CelebrationsI’ve noticed a trend in recent conversations with learning & development clients.  It goes something like this…

Client:  Peter we love the workshop you delivered for us.  The actors really brought the issues to life and forum theatre is such a fantastic way to engage and share best practice.

I’m blushing typing this, but you get the picture – the workshops went very well.

Client:  Yes we are really, really happy. So much so that we’d like to run the workshops throughout the organisation.

At this point I’m normally trying to play it cool, maintaining a ‘well if you’re sure’ air!

Client:  There’s just one thing…

Ah, here comes the curve ball.

Client:  Obviously this will mean lots more delivery days…

Cool, Peter, stay cool.

Client:  We appreciate you already offer excellent value…

Ok, so they don’t always say this, but hey, I’m writing this blog!

Client:  We just wondered if we could video the drama and just have a one person delivery team model.


This is the point where normally I explain that our drama based work is a bit like a wedding – on the day magical, but if you just camcorder it then it’s a pale impression of the event itself.

And this was always my stance, until we started using electronic voting as a facilitation and evaluation tool. Up until that point, I’d been very, very proud of the fact that I’d not used PowerPoint for training sessions for over 15 years (I’ll blog about that another day), but the electronic voting meant we had to use it, along with a screen and projector, of course.

Well, with a screen and projector in the mix, we started to experiment with filming some of the characters in our scenarios and putting them up on the screen. They can tell their stories and even interact with the facilitator or other live actors.

And do you know what? It was great.  People loved it! We loved it!!

We were able to cast actors who exactly fitted the scripts requirements (with live work we often double up roles, but on the screen it made sense to get exactly the right face in). Pretty soon we were embracing audio visual material, mixing filmed characters in with the live actors, specialist facilitation and interactive voting to create truly experiential, multimedia workshops.

So have I deserted live drama?  No, not one bit.

My ideal is to blend the live and digital, potentially achieving cost savings through reducing the delivery team size, but always keeping our eye on the client’s goal and what’s going to work. If a client wants filmed content to be delivered with in-house trainers, or maybe to go on an e-learning platform, well that’s no problem. I always talk through the benefits and limitations of each delivery model. Then, once we have client agreement, we create the best solution possible.

As we’ve tried out these innovations, what’s really impressed me is that the results of our training evaluations are as positive as ever.  I really think we’re creating even more powerful and highly engaging training solutions.

If you want to know more, get in touch and we’ll be happy to show you some of our work.

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