e-Learning Co-op?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an image exchange for e-learning professionals to share quality photos and graphics they’ve created themselves?

Let’s face it most of what’s out there sucks..

the team that play together..

Our boss thought it would be funny to super glue all our hands together - he's such fun

I’m designing a compliance module on Risk identification at the moment.

Last night I took a break from my scenario writing hell and started looking for some images.

If you’ve ever had to source images for anything online, you’ll know this is almost always a frustrating and time-consuming process. Lately I’ve stopped trying to find free pictures and forked out for some istockphoto credits. I’m sure this pays for itself in time saved, compared with trawling the free sites. But as the example above shows it’s not exactly a guarantee of quality or originality.

I thought I’d try to find an even shorter short cut and so I took a look at the elearning art and elearning brothers sites. They offer high quality isolated images of people doing lots of different poses, which is great because even on sites like istockphoto it’s hard to find collections of the same model, in the same clothes etc. doing different facial expressions and poses.

However they are really expensive for what you get. A single collection of one model is $100 on elearning art. I have about 16 scenarios, all of which feature two or three characters, who all need to look different. And while their images are high quality, they all look a bit cheesy from a UK perspective. I want gritty realism, not super shiny teeth and spray-tans. Sorry guys – that just won’t cut it over here.

Of course there is another option – take your own photos. We’ve invested in some nice kit at work; a set of soft box lights and a compact DSLR camera. This is great in theory, but the module I’m working on is going to show people getting a lot of stuff very wrong and even committing fraud, so it’s unfair to ask colleagues at work to pose for the images on this occasion. The only alternative is to hire models, not something I’ve looked into, but I’m having a hard time picturing that purchase order getting approval.

Then I started to wonder if that was the only alternative. Couldn’t we as a community pool our resources somehow? We could use an eLearning network event to get the ball rolling;

  • A day in a photo studio or frankly just someone’s office somewhere with a few white sheets.
  • The attendees could be the models
  • Maybe get a photography pro in for tips etc
  • Then spend the afternoon learning how to edit them professionally on Photoshop
  • At the end of the day upload them to a suitable site for all members to share.

It could be similar to the recent eLearning event – How to Produce Rich Media Material which worked really well and it could create an ongoing resource. The collection can grow over time; no charges, just credits for sharing – you get what you give.

It could save a lot of us a lot of time and cut the number of people using stock images like these. Who’s in?

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8 thoughts on “e-Learning Co-op?

  1. Craig Taylor says:

    Hi Sam,

    And there was me expecting this to be a thinly disguised rant 😉

    I think this is a great idea and one that would surely provide a return on any time invested within 1 or 2 projects. I wonder if you have any neighbouring businesses that would be willing to pose as models in return for perhaps a ‘team meal out’ – surely that would be easier to arrange than an official PO for models?

    Why don’t you suggest it to the eLN as either an addition to its standing calendar or possibly as a session for 2011?

    • Burrough says:

      HaHa nothing to do with adobe at all! Thanks Craig I like the idea of finding near-by company’s who are up for sharing their human capital 😉 If I can get something a bit more concrete together before the next ELN event I might suggest it then. Any thoughts on what kind of platform you could use to facilitate something like this? Not sure what sort of disclaimers you’d have to get people to sign either..?

      • Craig Taylor says:

        Disclaimers? You’re speaking to the wrong guy there 😉 I would probably look at something like a private Picasa or Flickr group (actually I’m not sure if Flickr have a private group function).

        My initial thought was DropBox, but I suspect the free limit could be reached v quickly.

        Let me know how you get on. We have a photographer with @NLTV1 who I *may* be able to poach if you need an extra photographer, but U suspect Rob Hubbard is a dab hand with the old point n press.

        Keep in touch

  2. Kate Graham says:

    I experience the exact same challenge when creating marketing material. I have a super duper camera (although not that great at using it I have to say) but count me in!

  3. You’ll need model release forms for anyone being photographed. There are some freebies here; http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/Magazine/Downloads/Model-Release-Form
    You could probably build something to do this with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or any other CMS.

    • Burrough says:

      Thanks Barry that’s really helpful, I was wondering about the legal side of things.
      I’m not against building it from scratch, apart from anything it would be a good project for my own development. But it looks like Flickr could do most of what the site would need. I’m no expert on it but you can create and manage a group; individuals can upload up to 300MB per month free. I imagine you’d need quite a bit of storage space if you built your own version on a CMS?

  4. […] using time and time again, so I splashed out recently and purchased high quality versions of those. Sam Burrough has also had the great idea of creating some kind of get-what-you-give image sharing community, so […]

  5. Building from scratch would definitely be more effort than using an existing service, and require space and bandwidth.

    What it does give you is ownership of the data, rather than being tied into a service where T&C might change, the service may be sold or even closed down.

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