Over the past ten years, I've written hundreds of scripts for explainer videos and if there is one thing I've learned, it's this: the act of writing the script and trying to explain an idea for others teaches me more about the subject than anything else I can do. My understanding doesn't become clear until the ideas in my head make the jump to the script, where I'm forced to present them logically.
This process of writing explanations in order to understand them better is also known as the Feynman Technique. Richard Feynman was known as The Great Explainer thanks to his talent for transforming complex scientific information into easy to understand models and ideas. The 1.5-minute video below summarizes the technique.
For a new study in Applied Cognitive Psychology researchers led by Aloysius Wei Lun Koh set out to test their theory that teaching improves the teacher’s learning because it compels the teacher to retrieve what they’ve previously studied. In other words, they believe the learning benefit of teaching is simply another manifestation of the well-known “testing effect” – the way that bringing to mind what we’ve previously studied leads to deeper and longer-lasting acquisition of that information than more time spent passively re-studying.
They found the students who performed best at understanding and remembering a new subject were the ones who learned the subject and then taught it to others.
Why does this matter? Because anyone can use this practice to increase their understanding of a subject. Studying is great. Taking notes is helpful. But if you really want to understand and remember a subject, explain it to someone else. Or, simply pretend that you're writing a letter or video script with the goal of explaining it clearly.
It's back-to-school time and we just published a video that's perfect for helping students navigate the wild world of media. It's all about understanding and detecting bias.
Here are the highlights:
Learn how to make ExplainerGIFs like the one above with our FREE GUIDE.
What it Teaches:
Building on the example of sports fans, this video illustrates how bias is a common and sometimes productive part of how we communicate. It also shows how bias can cause problems when it’s hidden or not detected. This video teaches:
Why bias is a common and expected part of communicating
Our big focus this fall is getting the Explainer Academy ready for prime time. For the first time, we'll show you every step we take in making a Common Craft video from scripts to storyboards and production.
In fact, we recently filmed a whole video shoot to document how the videos come together.
When we opened the Common Craft membership service, we made every video in our library available for embedding on other websites. Our vision was to give organizations of all types a new resource for educating and informing their visitors.
Just recently we saw a great example of this idea at work. A small religious organization in Pennsylvania created a page that serves as their very own library of educational Common Craft videos. With this simple page, they can offer their fans and visitors an effective resource for understanding a number of complex topics.
Your organization could do the same. Why not create a resource on your website that serves as a video-based learning center for your visitors? Common Craft membership makes it as easy as embedding YouTube videos.