The Common Craft Blog

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

We just published a new video that's for all the instructors out there. It explains Instructional Objectives in about 3 minutes:

Highlights from the video:

About This Video:

This video tells the story of an instructor named Mariam. She learns to use instructional objectives to plan her lessons so that her students can demonstrate what they learn in a measurable way. It teaches:

  • Why instructors need measurable results
  • Why instructional objectives are important
  • How instructional objectives inform lesson planning
  • The 3 main parts of instructional objectives

Watch it now.

Some Things You May Have Missed:

Recent videos:

Recent blog posts:

Unrelated Bonus Link:  Lee wrote a popular article about the experience of living in Seattle this time of year. It's called Ready for Rain - Why Seattleites Crave The End of Summer.  

Book Review - In a Common Craft Style Video

Posted by: leelefever on September 29, 2014- 12:06pm


Topic: Art of Explanation

Categories: book, book review, common craft style, video

I love this. Bruce Herwig, a reader of The Art of Explanation, decided to review the book by creating a Common Craft Style video. He even provided "5 lessons I Learned in Making a Common Craft Style Video" in the blog post. Thanks Bruce!

Reading in email? Watch the video here.

Learn more about Common Craft Cut-outs

An Animated Interview by GoAnimate

Posted by: leelefever on September 23, 2014- 10:36am


Topic: GoAnimate and Common Craft

Categories: animation, goanimate, interview, video

We're big fans of GoAnimate. They make it easy for anyone to create animated videos - even using Common Craft Cut-outs.  

Recently they asked about doing an interview with me, but not just any interview. They wanted to make the interview look like an animated talk show. This is where their service really shines.

We talked about my family's business in NC, how Sachi and I get along and of course, explainer videos. The video below was made with GoAnimate - and you can make videos just like it.  

Viewing in email? Watch the video here.

Learn more about how you can create Common Craft Style videos with GoAnimate

The War on Drugs Explained with Dragons

Posted by: leelefever on September 16, 2014- 12:23pm


Topic: Art of Explanation

Categories: abstraction, drugs, explainer tip, Explanation, vox

One of the tools we use in creating explainer videos is abstraction.  We look for opportunities to take the ideas that we want to explain out of their normal circumstance and put them into a new world. An example is our video that explains social media. It's a big analogy about ice cream.  Instead of talking about the details of tools and use cases, we showed what happens when everyone can make their own flavors. 

By abstracting an idea, we work to free it of all the details, biases and baggage that comes with the real world situation. Instead, we use symbols, metaphors and analogies to relate higher level ideas. It's these idea that have the power to create understanding.  Once understanding is in place, then the details make more sense. 

Vox pointed me to a video that was sponsored by the Global Commission on Drug Policy that is a great example of abstraction. Rather than using real world examples, they use a fictional story about how a society dealt with a dragon called Drugo. The video is called The War on Drugo.  Watch:

Reading in email? Watch the video here.

The next time you're struggling to make an idea easy to understand, consider the power of abstraction. Look for ways to take the big ideas out of the real world and put them in a world that highlights them without all the baggage.