Learning on a different plane – What the airline industry can teach us about engaging learners

Learning in the airline sector

I’ve been doing a bit more travelling recently. It’s not only given me the opportunity to do some thinking, but also the chance to observe how different sectors do things when developing engaging learning.

I was reminded on a recent flight was how the airlines have tried to take mundane, compliance-based information and make it more interesting. In particular, there has been some real innovation in how emergency safety information is delivered.

You have the Virgin Atlantic video which uses a cartoon based approach and even acknowledges that traditionally the information would send people to sleep.

British Airways produced a similar cartoon video, but the Virgin Atlantic one is infinitely more engaging. The difference? Whilst they are slightly different genres of cartoon, the two core differences are the changes in scenarios, from space to Wild West, and the humour clearly evident in the Virgin Atlantic one.

They learnt from this by working in collaboration with the Comic Relief campaign to produce this extended, but star-studded version.

If you are looking for a masterclass in developing engaging assets out of traditionally yawn-inducing content, have a look at Air New Zealand’s suite of videos. They appear to have been the pioneers of the genre with their 2009 naked airplane safety video. They have invested in the development of videos since then, many of them based on promoting New Zealand as a country, not just their own airline.

These videos have included once based on the Rugby World Cup, Lord of the Rings, a fitness-class and a retirement home.

Help yourself to help Learning

Incidentally one of the bits of content which has struck me whilst watching the videos is the suggestion that we, in the event of a loss of pressure, put our own mask on first before helping others. This is something which resonates with me as someone involved in sports learning and development. By making sure we are ‘fit to excel’ ourselves will help us do the same for others.

Top Tips

My take-aways for those developing sport learning and development resources from my recent travels:

• Just because its compliance-based doesn’t mean we should stop trying to make it engaging
• Humour, whilst a very personal thing, appears to be a key factor in developing engaging compliant-based assets.
• Collaborate either with other organisations, or people who are expert in being in front of the camera.
• Where possible reference and embrace the wider sector not just your organisation
• Link to events which the learner is likely to be interested in
• Accept they there will be a need to reinvest and to refresh or reinvent as time goes by
• Make sure we look after our own health and development to allow us to do the best we can for others.

If you’ve watched all the videos showcased in this blog, not only will you have voluntarily spent over 30 minutes watching very similar information 8 times, but also you’ll be sure I’m sitting next to you on my next flight. You’ll know what to do.

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