Company Mindful Education
Website mindful-education.co.uk
Location London, United Kingdom

Mindful Education is driving a new, modern approach to learning – and a robust creative process is required to support those ambitious goals. We met with the team to discuss how they track motion graphics production while deftly balancing quality with quantity across all online course materials.

The way in which we learn has changed. Whereas we could once rely only on textbooks and classrooms to impart new knowledge, today’s technology has made education more visual, more engaging and more flexible than ever before.

Mindful Education was founded in 2015 with this thinking at its core. The London-based company sought to create new, innovative online learning platforms featuring video-based lessons that enable students to decide how, when and where they want to study. It’s been a leading force in transformative digital education ever since, advocating a strategy that combines effective learning approaches with media rich video content and accessibility to the material.

“Learning content should be beautifully designed and accessible,” begins Rob Slegtenhorst, Creative Director at Mindful Education. “We specialise in professional courses and apprenticeships that set a new standard for the digital delivery of education. We partner with colleges all across the UK to produce our award-winning courses in accounting, management, law and human resources. And we deliver it all through our Online and On Campus blended learning approach.”

Rob Slegtenhorst

Creative Director, Mindful Education

“From the moment the motion team starts, ftrack takes over. It manages everything, from time tracking to review sessions.”

Mindful Education’s courses are colourful, engaging and educative in equal measure. But this media-rich approach to learning also requires a large, dedicated creative team. This is where ftrack steps into the picture: it aligns the people and disciplines required to make Mindful Education’s videos in high volume without sacrificing quality.

“With ftrack, we can manage the sheer number of videos we need to produce while keeping the quality bar high,” says Slegtenhorst. “And all with minimal admin.”

A visual approach

Mindful Education produces some 250 video lessons for each of its courses. Each video requires a variety of visual elements, motion graphics and edited clips that must be distinctive yet consistent in order to form one clear and cohesive lesson.

“Our recent Law course explores the story behind over 100 cases, using various styles of illustration to highlight each,” says Slegtenhorst. “Meanwhile, our Management course was aimed at a different profile of student. It has a professional look and feel more akin to editorial art.

“Whatever we’re creating, the challenge is always the same: the visual style must be interesting without distracting from the learning element. Our job is to find a middle ground between the books in the classroom and the flashy motion graphics of music videos.”

Finding this middle ground, while achieving visual consistency across some 250 videos, sums up to a large and complex task. The volume and variety of work necessitates a way to manage all of the components involved lest production spiral out of control.

“Initially I tried Google sheets, but that became unwieldy. Next was Trello, but that lacked the control I needed or any functionality to review content,” says Slegtenhorst.

“Thankfully, I had run into ftrack before as a freelance motion designer. I decided to give it a go. I’ve not looked back since.”

Plotting a course

The first step in course production sees topic experts develop the lesson learning materials and scripts. Next, it’s on to content editing, in-house filming and video editing. Once that’s ready, it’s time for the motion graphics team to step up to the plate.

“From the moment the motion team starts, ftrack takes over,” says Slegtenhorst. “It manages everything, from time tracking to review sessions and the management of all our content.

“We start setting up each course on ftrack with the necessary tasks for each, using a custom Action that automatically creates the structure we need (more on this below). From there we launch into ftrack’s full production tracking and version management and guide the project through its carefully laid out plan.”

When a first motion graphics pass is ready for assessment, Mindful Education heads over to ftrack’s Review functionality. Here the team dials in to the video’s desired aesthetic and ensures it supports the lesson’s educational goals.

“We use ftrack’s review tools extensively,” says Slegtenhorst.

“These tools set ftrack apart from any other project management solution we’d consider. Our motion designers need simply look at a frame number or an annotated screenshot to know what’s under discussion. It’s invaluable.”

The first ftrack review session at Mindful Education takes place with the motion designer in charge of the course; the second is with Slegtenhorst himself; the third is with the course’s academic team. After that, it’s over to one final QA round to make sure nothing has been missed.

“In that group of people there are those who use ftrack daily, but there are also collaborators and staff who’ve never touched it before,” says Slegtenhorst. “The fact that all of our staff could dive in and intuitively review videos – even without any prior experience of using ftrack – is amazing.”

Taking Action – customising ftrack

Mindful Education further optimises its production process using ftrack Actions – a simple, native platform inside ftrack that empowers users to extend and modify what the software is capable of.

Slegtenhorst’s team makes extensive use of Actions, with some interesting results. Some of the Actions built by Mindful Education allow the team to…

  • create review sessions from tasks – the Action selects multiple tasks, looks for the latest version on each, and adds them to a review session.
  • create lesson structure – the Action creates a predefined set of folders and tasks, simplifying the process for the number of parts needed per unit of a course.
  • move versions – if a version uploads to the wrong location, the Action will automatically send it to the right place.
  • double check the right versions of lessons are shared – the Action checks locally produced videos against what’s approved on ftrack and the hosted videos on Mindful Education’s Virtual Learning Environment. It ensures the version of the course available to students is always the most recent.

Reaching new heights

Mindful Education has made huge strides in the UK’s digital education sphere since 2015, seeing significant growth in student numbers. In 2019, company also won a prestigious sector award for its learning content. And, with ftrack supporting its creative process, Slegtenhorst expects even more success in the years to come.

“As we grow, hire more talent and fine tune how we work, each new project has been better than the last – and ftrack has had its part to play in that,” says Slegtenhorst.

“ftrack makes us much more of a team. Thanks to the overview ftrack provides, staff have deeper insight into all of the projects we’re working on, so they have a sense of being a more integral part of the company. Furthermore, with ftrack we can more easily hire any number of freelancers to come onto a project to support the in-house team when they need it. Freelancers can be up and running within our pipeline in a matter of hours.

“The result of this, and the work we create, is that our students will come to us and show us how they’ve achieved something they never thought they were capable of, or tell us they’re progressing their career to the next level, and it’s all thanks to our online courses. That’s a real achievement. We’re pleased to have ftrack as part of the process that helps them get there.”

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