Zeal & NHS: How We Distilled Emotion into Culture-Changing Scenario-Based Training VideosBy Jonathan English | 9:08 AM on September 18, 2017
Drawing on the power of human emotion, our series of scenario-based training videos for Zeal Solutions bring potentially dull training topics to life and kickstart discussion that leads to real change.
Zeal Solutions is a training company that helps businesses educate employees, change behaviour and build resilience through an expert understanding of human psychology.
They work with clients like the Department of Health, UK Ambulance Services and the NHS to ensure their teams stay happy, healthy and productive even through the most difficult of workplace situations.
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Several of Zeal’s biggest clients, headed by the NHS, were asking for a digital platform of scenario-based training content that could be accessed anywhere at any time.
Zeal rose to the challenge. They knew they needed a large amount of content across a range of media to keep topics interesting and allow team members to learn in whichever way suited them best. Written scenarios can sometimes feel dry and fail to generate an emotional response in readers — which is why Zeal wanted video as part of the mix. This approach would encourage viewers to engage emotionally, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the subject at hand, while transforming those subjects into something real and relatable.
What was the goal of the training? To encourage team members to think for themselves on a series of topics and empathise with people in difficult scenarios. To ensure skills and behaviour could be applied effectively to similar real-world situations. And to lead to meaningful cultural change that would strengthen whole organisations.
To achieve this the training videos needed to:
- Quickly engage the audience and hold their interest
- Get across each core idea simply and succinctly
- Generate emotion in viewers
- Encourage further thought and discussion
- Reflect real problems faced in a medical and office setting
We had worked with Zeal before to create a short training video instructing end users on how to use their CPD software. They knew us as a team of expert writers, directors and producers able to translate boring training topics into engaging and effective videos.
So when it came to this more complex series of scenario-based training videos, Zeal approached us again. Without tooting our own horn too much, we were the obvious choice.
We knew that the content of every video was very important if they were to achieve their training objectives. Each one needed to cover the right topic in the right way in order to create the desired emotion in the viewer — ultimately generating meaningful conversation that could lead to changed attitudes and behaviours.
Zeal provided us with written case studies based on real scenarios, which we then reworked into screenplays. Finding the emotional core of each video was a collaborative process. We also made sure to add enough drama to intrigue viewers while keeping the topic believable. The aim was to produce engaging, thought-provoking video content to support the entire training program.
To maximise the budget for the films, we moved our crew around a single location to create a number of scenes with different backdrops. The setting we chose was nondescript enough to pass for any number of general medical or office locations according to the needs of the scripts, while allowing the focus to remain on the emotion.
In total we created a set of 5 videos covering difficult situations at work, such as long-term absences and physical attacks.
The response to the videos has been incredibly positive. They have succeeded at turning potentially flat, removed topics into scenarios that seem real. Viewers are able to empathise, relate and put themselves into each situation.
Trainers who work with Zeal say that the videos strengthen the whole platform and allow team members to more readily consider suitable responses to each scenario. It’s a vital part of the training process that engages team members’ hearts as well as their minds.
In fact, the videos are still used in Zeal’s digital training program to this day.
Since we created the first set of videos, Zeal have asked for another series of 5 covering mental health interviews in the workplace. These, too, were added to the platform. A third set of scenario-based training videos has been commissioned about scenarios for ambulance staff and will be created in the next 12 months.