Embracing Imperfection and #minimedschool

On my trip to Ottawa last May, one of the themes seem to be that of embracing imperfection. The idea came up across multiple aspect of my life, so I’ve become particularly aware of the idea.

In my tips for onsite buddies in the Virtually Connecting project, I highlight as my last and most important tip, the idea of embracing imperfection. It is through imperfection that we feel a more authentic connection. It makes the experience more real  – less scripted – less formal – more serendipitous.

As part of the Mini Med School MOOC that I’m taking, I noticed an interesting change in my relationship to the content. Midway through (about minute 4:30) one of the videos on the musculoskeletal system the main presenter forgets his lines. I’m so glad that the instructional designers left that in the video. They could very easily have edited it out. By leaving it in, I immediately felt differently about the instructor. I had an emotional reaction – one that made me feel that he was a real person – an authentic one. It changed the presentation from one of performance to one of connection.

I’m not sure if there has been any formal research on this idea or not, but it is definitely one that intrigues me. It is an area we are going to have to investigate in our research around virtually connecting. In part, because I think it is part of what makes virtually connecting an idea that is different from broadcasting formal presentations, or even having organized panel type hangouts. There is an aspect of imperfection that makes the interaction feel more authentic.

1 Comment

  1. Totally agree with the personal validity of imperfection. Editing heavy duty mechanic courses, there were two instructors feeding You Tube videos to us for inclusion. Having worked with apprentices committed to the trades I found they strongly identified with a “realistic” approach. They could instantly spot over produced marketing videos featuring so-called mechanics with clean hands, inappropriate tools on the bench for the job they were doing, gestures, language and etc. The students were keen observers of the tradespeople they wanted to be and slick presentation didn’t cut it.

    That may be why the Stanford Patient Engagement course didn’t feel right. Something was “wrong” about actors playing patients and the constant hype about the importance of “patient participation” I found as demeaning as the miserable treatment I received from Cross Cancer because I wouldn’t kiss their ass. The roughness of the virtual connecting does makes it obviously authentic. In fact, the reality of it makes me want to be a prepared viewer with relevant questions because I know I’ll get REAL answers from people dedicated to the topic and don’t need coaching to look real–they are real.

    As for studies in achieving a natural look I’m sure there are film-studies guides and you might start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sight_%26_Sound
    Also theater studies.

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