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?].