Creative Designs: Cultural Pride via Sisters of Color United for Education

Overview

I created an instructional video for Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE), which is the oldest promotora in Colorado. Promotera, in the SOCUE context, means an educational program. In the1990’s, SOCUE began promoting safe sex during the height of the AIDS epidemic. They taught sex education, supported people with AIDs, and handed-out condoms and clean needles when no one else would. Since then, SOCUE has evolved to promote holistic health, which means an inclusion of all aspects of person’s well being: mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. The holistic health classes are geared toward low socioeconomic, Spanish speaking communities.

My target audience was Spanish speaking women of Denver, Colorado who have been abused. According to Daniel Stange’s (2014) promotional video of SOCUE, “Populations that don’t speak English are less likely to report abuses, but come to SOCUE for help (What do you Promote?, 4:30 minutes). Therefore, I made sure that Spanish could either be read or heard throughout the video. This was a challenge since I did not know Spanish, but my SOCUE contact translated the closed captioning at the bottom of the screen. When English is being spoken on the video, Spanish closed captions were inserted and vice versa for Spanish audio. I felt this would be the best way to reach my target audience, while still allow allowing my peers to review my work in English.

SOCUE informed me that almost all participants have a smartphone and that a YouTube video would provide the most accessibility. I decided the learning objective was to inform the audience of SOCUE as a resource to improve quality of life. My YouTube video demonstrated teacher and student experiences with the promotera program from a question and answer format. The call-to-action was to reach out to SOCUE either through visiting the SOCUE website or calling the office.

In the video, I wove together many little clips of SOCUE participants answering my questions about the promotoras. I crafted the questions in my script, then videoed participants over the course of three days. The biggest challenge was getting the most impactful soundbites I needed for a three to five minute video. I used iMovie for all my video editing and musical augmentation.

Design Decisions

Movement in my Youtube video was a step-up from static photos, which required more design decisions. To fully establish my call-to-action, I focused on the following principles:

  • credibility
  • perceptibility
  • continuity
  • constraint
  • sequencing
  • user experience
  • simplicity

I believed these concepts would bring my best possible instructional video forward.

Design Decision #1

I illustrated SOCUE’s credibility through participants’ testimonials. Heath and Heath (2008) wrote, “We need ways to help people test out ideas for themselves—a ‘try before you buy’ philosophy for the world of ideas,” (p. 17). My audience, which is more than likely skittish, will need extra coaxing to reach out to the SOCUE.  Statements from actual participants, if kept short, can motivate the audience (Reynolds, 2014, p. 134).

Design Decision #2

Without Spanish subtitles, the call-to-action would not have reached my Spanish speaking target audience. Kathy Dye (1997) wrote, “Remember that although perceptibility depends on both the receiver and the sender, the sender has a larger degree of control over, and therefore responsibility for, the messages,” (p. 2).  Being the message sender, I was responsible for ensuring that my audience could understand the call-to-action. My message had to be fully available in Spanish. A major consideration in delivering instruction is one’s knowledge of the students (Wilson, n.d., Making Instructional Decisions).

Design Decision #3

I implemented image continuity to help with learner recall. Reynolds (2010) stated, “Images can improve recognition and recall, and images combined with text can make for an even stronger message–as long as the text and images reinforce the same message” (p. 52). I chose words, music, and images that felt familiar in Hispanic culture to help with learner retention. When words and graphics are placed contiguously, they are easily integrated, and learners are free to spend scarce cognitive resources on learning (Clark, 2002, p. 4).

Design Decision #4

I distilled my interviewee footage down to the best clips. This tied back to a core principle by Reynolds (2014), which advocated restraint in preparation of the video (p. 13). Too much information would distract the audience from the call-to-action—reaching out to SOCUE. It is essential to remove all extraneous information in order to express an idea’s core. (C. Heath & D Heath. 2008, p. 28).

Design Decision #5

I aimed to lead my audience through a natural flow of questions and answers. Medina (2008) stated, “The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time” (p. 84). The questions progress from how promotoras help individual people, to helping others attend promotoras, and ending with how promoters help the community. Each element must make sense as a single idea as well as collectively (Dye, 1997, p. 2).

Design Decisions #6

I wanted to inspire the audience to attend a promotora class and give them a taste of what to expect at SOCUE. It is essential to keep your end vision in mind when considering instruction delivery (Wilson, n.d., Making Instructional Decisions).  The video was intended to walk the audience through the promotora experience. Reynolds (2014) wrote, “It’s not the thing—it’s the experience of the thing” (2014, p. 14)

Design Decision #7

Telling the audience to visit SOCUE through video was a powerful medium. Reynolds (2014) wrote, “Photos help support your message, but video allows you to bring the issue right to people in a more direct manner than a statistic” (p. 134). Video as the medium provided the most direct method for my call-to-action. Heath and Heath stress the importance of finding the core idea and bringing it forward effectively (2008, p. 16).

Lessons Learned

I learned how much I love producing both beautiful and functional videos. Every production I made thus far has been a reflection of my work and could potentially attract my next employer. Therefore, I chose not to take any shortcuts and put in the extra hours for translations and subtitles.

This project required field work, lots of phone calls, and talent coordination. There was also a subtle cultural tension evident in the classroom as I filmed. The teachers, more than the participants proved difficult to interview. I was surprised by their lack of enthusiasm for the video, but, perhaps, I was making their lives harder. Nonetheless, I feel that the video will help guide my target audience to SOCUE. SOCUE has the potential to change lives and creating a video for this organization felt amazing.

References

Clark, R. (2001). Six principles of effective e-Learning: What works and why. The eLearning Developers’ Journal, 2010(3). Retrieved from http://www.elearningguild.com.

Dye, K. (1997). Message Design: A Key to Effective Instructional Materials. Retrieved

from http://kathydye.com/IDEAS/MessageDesign2.pdf

Stange, D. (Producer). (2014). What do you promote? [Vimeo Video]. Denver, CO: Denver Open Media Foundation.

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2008). Made to stick: Why some ideas die and others survive. New York, NY: Random House.

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Reynolds, G. (2009). Presentation zen design: Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Wilson, L. (n.d.). Making instructional decisions. Retrieved from http://thesecondprinciple.com/teaching-essentials/instructional-decisions-teachers-able-make/

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