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Partner Perspective: Q&A with Kantola Productions

June 7, 2013, Karen Hui -

Content Connect - Introducing Kantola Productions

Kantola Productions, a recent Summit Gold Sponsor and new recruit to the Saba Content Connect program, produces a wide range of high quality training content as well as executive training videos from Stanford University. Based in Mill Valley, Founder and CEO Steve Kantola met with me to share his thoughts on the new Saba/Kantola relationship.

What is your business focus and what markets do you serve?

We produce and distribute business videos and have done this for the past 25 years, focusing on two product lines. We feature a series of story-based dramatic videos covering topics such as ethics, customer service, safety, harassment and other HR issues (hiring, performance management and conflict resolution). We also produce an executive speaker series produced in collaboration with Stanford University. In our executive series, Stanford invites professors, CEOs, authors and consultants to speak on suitable high-level topics such as leadership, strategy and change, influence and negotiation, people and productivity. We are not niched in any one particular industry.

How would you describe your offering’s differentiation or value proposition?

We are proud of our high production values and broadcast quality—these leave a lasting impression on viewers. We partnered with Wharton Business School in the past, Toastmasters, and now Stanford. We undertake a lot of variety in our projects in order to get the content right and to serve customer training needs. After a PhD in Social psychology, my background was with a research institute in Perth, Australia. My role was government-based, and focused on investigating the effects of video and film ads to promote positive behavioral change among citizens there. The impact of this background is still present    in our script-writing today. We ensure that content is valid and we focus on modeling positive behavior. That‘s where our core competency comes from. We also focus on production values. We believe that anyone in our business will be compared to television network programs and we need to lift our game to meet that comparison. We do most of our filming in Los Angeles, and the directors and crew we work with are first class. We also go through a rigorous process casting for our actors, some of which you’ll see in TV and even recently a Super Bowl commercial. We have to get everything right since we place so much emphasis on our production quality.

What do you think are the key trends and formats that will dominate the future of eLearning?

For starters, I am in the video business and am obviously biased but I think video will play a big role! A lot of this stems from the power of video as a teaching tool. As bandwidth increases, the incorporation of video in eLearning will keep increasing and improving. Graphic software accessibility will also improve the value and effectiveness of eLearning. In the not-too-distant future, with the advancements being made in the video game industry together with the progress of virtual reality, we will see incredible developments in the eLearning process. It’s an exciting time in eLearning. Role modeling is huge and that’s what video brings to the table.

What is one example of an innovative piece of content you offer that customers would be interested in?

A couple of products we’ve developed for harassment training have incorporated some new interactive capabilities in our eLearning. We go beyond the typical PowerPoint presentation by including high-end video segments that tell the story with great acting. This really engages the learner, taking Learning to a new dimension. We also increase Learning retention by involving the learner in drag-and-drop photo matching and other interactive forms of question-and-answer. Since much of harassment training is mandated, our courses have built-in time controls along with completion certifications and other useful tracking tools. It’s our goal to develop more topics suitable for this expanded eLearning experience.

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