Design It

Designing Impactful Activities and Materials

Knowing Your Participants and Users

It is important that your capacity building efforts are not organised, implemented and developed in a vacuum. Before you start drafting your training agenda or writing your guide, it’s critical that you:

  • have a clear idea of your participants’ or audience needs
  • know what skills are important for them to learn
  • know what the most effective ways for them to learn are.

This information can be gathered through sending out a pre-training survey, doing interviews, or by having focus group discussions with community members. Many of the ideas in the Research and Design section may be useful here. Here’s an online example of a pre-training survey used by EngageMedia during the organisation of a Video Camp.

Cheekay Chinco from EngageMedia states, “What's important to note is the function of the pre-training survey: it's to get to know your participants, their needs, their skill levels and what their expectations are before you begin the training.”


Ensuring you Have an Effective Learning Activity

Effective capacity building efforts not only build video skills and networks, but also increase the participant’s understanding of their role and the ethics concerned when using Video for Change. As you build participants' ability to capture footage or conduct interviews, you’ll also be tackling more strategic and ethical topics such as Informed Consent, or ensuring the safety of the subjects in your video(s). Additionally as you build skills, you’re also engaging communities in an inclusive and participative way.

Video for Change capacity building efforts should take into account the contexts of the participants in designing the agenda and the training methodologies. If appropriate co-designing and developing an agenda together with participants is a great way to develop ownership.

The following are some examples of how you can design your Video for Change capacity-building workshops and events towards creating positive impact.


Building Interactivity in your Learning Activities 

Participants who are engaged learn better. Interaction increases engagement both with the facilitator and between participants. Ways of teaching such as lectures and Powerpoint presentations may work in some contexts, however it’s not the most effective way to encourage participation. One technique is to use games or add competitive elements to make trainings livelier. This active approach lets participants experience something and gives them the opportunity to reflect on it, and learn from their mistakes and successes.


Here are two examples of ice breakers you can use at the start of a training. They encourage storytelling, create a lively atmosphere and help participants open-up. 

Two Truths and a Lie
. All the participants are asked to tell two true things and one lie about themselves. The rest of the participants will try to guess which one is which. This encourages participants to start talking about themselves, which may be useful in the context of video trainings where the goal is to do videos about themselves.

Blanket Game

Another one is Reactions. The facilitator writes down extreme situations on several pieces of paper and hands out a piece of paper to each participant. Then each participant acts out how they would react in their given situation, then tells the rest what their situation was. This could lead to a discussion about how people react to different situations.

A favourite Video4Change Network opening game is the Blanket Game which has quite a theatrical component to it. Check the Resources and Tech section for more references and links.


The Role of the Video for Change Trainer

Video for Change trainings aren’t only about imparting skills on how to create compelling films. Training workshops often include the following aspects:

  • They make spaces for participation and interaction among participants. This means that being an expert in film-making or video distribution isn’t enough. A trainer is also a facilitator that has in their skill-set activities that encourage interaction and participation.
  • They must be conscious of security. Trainers must know the contexts in which their participants will be working in, and have ways in which risk can be mitigated if need be.


Ensuring Your Guide Speaks to the Right Audience

Having a good concept brief and test audience is critical if you are building a guide or manual. 

The concept brief should include:

  • intended user for the guide
  • topics that the guide will cover
  • writing style that you’ll use
  • translation plans for the guide.

Once you've drafted the concept brief, you can give it to your stakeholders for feedback. This means that even before you start drafting the guide, you’ve already consulted with a sector of your target audience to ensure that the guide responds to their needs.

Once the guide is in a final draft stage, test it with your audience:

  • Make sure that you test with both native, or near-native, speakers of the language it’s in as well as those who have a basic understanding.
  • Test your Video for Change guide among other video activist and trainers. But also, test it with beginners to ensure that it’s accessible to a wide audience range.

Testing means not just getting reviews and feedback, but trying it out with participants.

Think about your intended audience and how they’ll access your guide. Do they have sufficient internet access? Or are they mostly offline? Plan how you’ll distribute your guide based on your knowledge of them.

You can find a series of example guides in the More Resources section of the Cookbook.