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We can help you become an explanation specialist.

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Start your life as an explainer with Common Craft Membership. Prices start at just $49 per year. It provides:

Cut-Outs:

Make your presentation or video remarkable with 800+ digital images in Common Craft Style, plus Know-How resources for using them.

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Ready-made Videos:

Educate others with 50+ ready-made video explanations that you can embed on your website or download for offline use.

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The Art of Explanation

A book by Lee LeFever

The Art of Explanation will help you become an explainer.

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This blog is where we announce new videos & talk about the power of explanation & the change it can create. 

A Model for Applying Common Craft Videos

People often ask how our presentation quality videos are used in professional and educational settings. From talking to educators and influencers, we've learned that our videos are often used to introduce a subject - to get everyone on the same page at the beginning of a class, workshop, etc. Recently, as part of our planning for 2009, we came up with a model that helps tell this story.  We call it the A-to-Z Scale.

NEW AtoZ by you.

The scale represents the path to learning a subject. On the left side are the basic, fundamental ideas.  On the right, the details and applications of the ideas.

For example, let's consider the subject of biology.  We might find topics like these at corresponding parts of the scale:

CC atozbiology by you.

As you can see, the scale goes from big, fundamental ideas to specific details.  

When we think about our videos and how they can be applied, we think about the scale and what parts of it represent the biggest opportunities for us to have a positive impact.

The Problem We See:

We believe that one of the real problems in explaining subjects is that people assume too much about what people already know. Their explanation doesn't account for people who are new to the ideas and have major knowledge gaps.  They start in the middle of the scale:

NEW AtoZ by you.

When this happens, people feel lost.  They don't have context for what is being taught or how the idea fits into the big picture.  They're forced to build on an insufficient foundation.

Of course, this isn't surprising.  If the explainer had to account for every knowledge gap, it would be difficult to move people down the scale. It takes valuable time to get everyone on the same page.

The Opportunity:

We believe that the left side of the scale has been neglected for too long.  Educators and influencers don't have time to cover all the basics and they often lack quality resources.  We've heard this many times "I used to spend hours trying to make sure everyone gets the big ideas, but now I just show them your video and everyone gets up to speed together."

This highlights how we see our videos fitting into the world.  Our goal is to focus on the left side of the scale and ensure that viewers come away with the fundamental ideas that create a solid foundation for a subject.  Educators and influencers can use the videos to introduce a subject and then spend their valuable time moving people down the scale. 

NEW AtoZ by you.

A Caveat:

It may seem that we're orienting our videos around only fundamental ideas. This is not the case. The scale can be applied to almost any subject. For example, in terms of biology as a whole, the left side of the scale surely focuses on broad fundamentals.  However, if we apply the scale to DNA gene mapping, our focus on the left side still applies.  We would focus on the big ideas behind DNA gene mapping and leave the details to educators. 

Use Case:

For example, let's consider a class on the subject of personal finance.  It may be easy for the instructor to assume that everyone understands the basics of compound interest or annual percentage rates.  Because it would take too long to get everyone up to speed, she chooses to spend time explaining more detailed ideas like buying a home and Insurance.  She starts at about "K" on the scale.

NEW AtoZ by you.

People learn, but some in the class can't see the big picture because they have knowledge gaps regarding some of the basic ideas that create a foundation for understanding things like buying a home and insurance. They need a way to start learning at "A" instead of "K."

In the case above, Our Financial Basics Series, which is aimed at the left side of the scale, gives the instructor a fun and easy way to get the class on the same page and ensure that everyone can see the big picture. It helps her move quickly from A to K, so that her valuable time is spent on the details.

NEW AtoZ by you.

To Conclude:

In 2009 and beyond, our videos will be aimed at the left side of the scale. We want our videos to save educators and influencers valuable time by creating videos that fill basic knowledge gaps and get learners on the same page so that they can spend time where their time is most effective - on the right side of the scale.