JEEP: just enough education to perform

JEEP Learning (we’re going for a new phrase for L+D buzzword bingo… want to join us?)

People are talking about learning being ‘just in time’. Accessible anywhere, anytime, and ‘on-the-job’. Relevant and instantly applicable, meeting the immediate need for the new bit of learning, proving just enough education to perform.

A conversation we often end up having when helping people create their own in-house video content is, how long should the video be? And does it even matter? And yet I highly doubt that anyone ever made a video and thought ‘well it’s 14 minutes long but I don’t really care if people watch it all as long as they watch the first half. The rest of my effortful creative content design is pointless anyway’.
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How Are You Using Video?

If you take time to notice it, you’ll find that learning actually happens everywhere, all the time, anyway! Whether you’re intending it or not – and especially so when you’re reflecting with the intention of extracting some learning from that good/bad/awful/amazing experience you had.

Same goes with video. It’s everywhere. As soon as you start to notice it..

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I’ve been watching some films from the archives. Although, they are by no means archives for the people who we created them with.

I’ve been watching some films we’ve done at See Learning, specifically with charities.

It’s some of our favourite work! Are we allowed to have favourites?

Why? Because of the nature of the content; the emotional work, and the emotional labour, and because of what filming allows us to capture, about the human condition. Real-play, not role-play.

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On Thursday We Ate Pie

When did you last learn something?

What was is that you learnt?

How and where did you learn it?

I know that I can do some stuff. I’m a learning and development consultant, coach, facilitator, humanistic psychologist… I can design stuff, create stuff, find solutions, and I can hold most waves of emotion with and for others. But I struggle to keep my car maintained or change a tyre on my bike. (Don’t worry, I’m not one of the See Learning crew who holds the camera).

Two weeks ago I super-glued my fingers together trying to install an auto-light in the cellar, and I’m still opening my wardrobe door from the bottom because I haven’t/can’t fix(ed) the handle. Probably shouldn’t use the C-word here!

I am however, I doer and trier… and like to believe I can solve problems and be practical. I have a strong belief that I learn from and with others, but ultimately, I know I get a great sense of achievement when I see and recognise that I can do something new, independently.

On Monday night our oven broke; out cold, with blown fuse and element, right in the middle of trying to create something delicious for dinner. By Wednesday evening my partner and I had fixed it, and on Thursday we ate pie. Please, celebrate with me! I’m as proud of that as my academic achievements. And it was all down to YouTube (and £7.95).


Salman Khan (of Khan academy) has inspired young people, educators, parents, and adults globally to rethink their approach to learning and is on a mission to transform education through video (TED Talk here). 

When you’re trying to understand a new concept, do you need someone checking and asking if it make sense yet?

Stephen and I had approximately 3 cross words of frustration in the hours it took us to mend the oven. Mostly when we noticed the other person not quite getting what we could clearly see/understand from our own perspective. Be faster, be quicker…  get to where I am, would you!?

Khan has made learning videos available in the classroom (actually, they’re available anywhere and for anyone) so that groups of young people learning in a room together, actually learn at their own pace. The data available for teachers to provide specific and individualised input is incredible and he invites us to think not about ‘teacher:student ratio’, but about ‘student:valuable-human-time ratio’ instead. I’m a huge advocate of face-to-face group learning and facilitation. ‘Valuable-human-time’ is the richness in this. Unfortunately, I imagine most (if not all) of us have some memory of feeling our time is being wasted, whilst sitting in workplace ‘training’ that just doesn’t touch the edges. And with approaches like 70:20:10 now familiar to us, we know that most of our learning happens in role/at desk/on the job. Learning needs to be relevant, and accessible where and when we want to learn something.


Would you prefer to have the opportunity to pause, think, do, repeat – in your own time, and at your own pace? (There’s a reason we didn’t eat pie on Wednesday).

You could probably surmise that I didn’t enjoy learning to drive, and I don’t particularly enjoy driving. What I do love, is the freedom it gave me at 17 growing up in a rural village (road trip!), and the opportunity a car and drivers licence affords me. And yet, the frustration my parents endured trying to teach me, and the idea that ‘I’m not very good at it’ stays with me whenever my Dad, Mum or Sister are my passengers. I can pick up on their frustration that I’m not slick/fast/savvy enough behind the wheel. Which paradoxically makes me nervous and thus drive really poorly, when I’m actually pretty good (feedback via peers on road trip to Ireland).

Comparison and the unconscious influence from what we perceive others to believe about us has an impact on how we perform and whether we are in the right, optimum place (able to willingly step out of our comfort zone) to learn. Especially the challenging stuff.


Earlier this week I was catching up on a recorded Zoom chat with a group of people I do LandD stuff with. And in skillful and remarkable style, one of them summarised the key points and actions. Only, it was simply way too fast for me. Several of the actions were mine, and I had to rewind and repeat the summary, about 7 times (cringe face! Wait – should I be embarrassed?). Would I have asked them to slow down if we were in person? Would they have gone slower if it was in person rather than a recording?

Khan shares that when he initially launched his learning videos his cousins’ fedback that they preferred the automated video version of him, rather than the in-person version. Because they could pause the ‘video-Salman’ whilst they thought, and caught up, before playing again. The very short YouTube video that taught Stephen and I to fix the oven was paused, re-wound, repeated, paused, re-wound, repeated… until we got there. Self-paced, immediately relevant learning. Think what that could do!


[Insert: My 81 year old Grandad observing my Mum getting frustrated with her camera shutter trigger offered some advice “go on youtube! You can mend anything from youtube. I mended Carol’s (his wife) lawnmower the other other day” Are you with us in 2018?].

Shut up for a moment: using silence in your L&D video

“Truth is the silence that exists between words”, Derrida.

That’s one of my favourite all time quotes. Like the words themselves, I think Derrida says so much with so little.

Having trained as a visual anthropologist in observational cinema, I have come to love filming processes. In a nutshell, observational cinema is about filming reality and truth (well, as much as is possible through film), with minimal influence from the filmmaker(s); and it fits in very nicely with anthropological methodology.

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What’s behind the curtain? Storytelling in L&D

One of the buzzwords at the moment is ‘story’. It makes sense really. I believe that over the last three years or so, as more and more organisations move towards, and appropriate, the highly personalised and crafted space of social media to build relationships; they’ve had to change.

They’ve had to change by creating an illusion (or not as the case may be) of cracking the veneer of the brand image and showing what’s behind it. It’s all a little bit ‘Wizard of Oz’ in reverse. The pre-social media approach of “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” and just buy our shit, has become “hey! look at us! We’re authentic and want to be your friend”

[Note: the web gremlins are out today, if you can’t see a video below, hit refresh and it should appear]

The truth is of course, that organisations of all sizes have always told stories about themselves that are completely true, total crap, or somewhere in between.

The importance of story

Of course, the reason why organisations have always told their stories, is because behind that starchy logo, there be humans – and in front of it, humans too.

One of the things that makes us human, one of the things that lights up our cerebral cortex, one of the things that created the glue for community formation way back when, our rules, our cultures, our incredible capacity to invent, create, and strive-for; and that minor thing regarding the overall development (or some might argue, fall) of humanity…is the story.

And by that I mean telling stories about ourselves, to ourselves, and about others.

In many ways I think organisations are being re-presented with the opportunity for storytelling – and remember telling stories doesn’t mean telling lies (which is how I think some people might define it).

To tell stories through film, photography, and even words, used to be in the realms of the larger organisations until the internet came along. This is because they had the resources, but also the networks across which to distribute (be that internal comms, print, broadcast, or radio).

And then digital happened and created the most incredible opportunities for self-representation we have ever seen. Production resources got cheaper, and the means of distribution flooded offices, homes, trains, park benches, the street, and into the laps of L&D professionals.

L&D professionals are suddenly able to think twice about off-the-shelf video learning, and create bespoke content relevant to their own organisations. That’s a huge deal.

So anyway, what does this mean for L&D?

What stories can we actually tell? What if you feel your  organisation isn’t ‘story friendly’?

I think this is ultimately about video for blended learning and learner engagement. It is also about how we think about using video – because video in learning is not just about creating the learning content, but can actually be extremely useful for simply signposting learning content – to let people know the content is there, and how they can benefit from it.

Think about a learning initiative you’ve got on the horizon.

Do you present ‘the facts’ in a very listed, bulleted, conventional approach that may or may not  be woven with corporate rhetoric; or do you reframe all of that within the context of a story that might be fact or fiction, but actually takes us on an emotional journey, told with energy and passion, that weaves us through the same themes but at a deeper level.

This does not mean that you should not present ‘the hard facts’ – and indeed most learning initiatives will demand it. But if it’s about engagement, if it’s about taking people to a different place where the relevance remains, if it is about ‘exploring the blend’ and engaging learners, and actually the rather important exercise of looking at what you do through different eyes; then do it – by pen, by photograph, by drawing, by video – or even (to hell with it) by song!

Whilst I’m tempted to argue that every learning initiative could incorporate story in some way, I’m holding back. That’s probably another blog post.

But for now, I’ll say that the beauty of story telling is that you can let your imagination fly. Sometimes you might need to pull it in, but if you don’t let it go crazy for a bit, you might not find the paths where the best stories lie. Either way, I can guarantee that it will impact the learning content you are producing in lovely ways.



Why your L&D video content might be completely pointless, and how to do it right. 

I’m going to pop my head above the parapet for a moment, and say that many organisations are using video in completely the wrong way – not just in L&D, in but for online videos too.

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The See Learning Video Manifesto for L&D

We believe that video in L&D needs to change. This is our video manifesto outlining how and why.

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Video can be short and illustrative

I’m as big a fan of photography as I am film; in fact my PhD research was all about photography and so it’s ironic that 90% of myworking life is focused on film (okay ‘video’ – but other than coffee I’m not snobby about many things!).

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