Reflecting on Experiences as a Powerful Learning Strategy

Reflections on Learning

I’ve been fascinated with YouTube lately. And not for the reasons you might think. At times it looks like an overnight success, but it’s been around since 2005.  And while that’s quite interesting, it’s not what has me fascinated. Young kids are making millions of dollars with their YouTube channels and that’s amazing as well.  But again, it’s not what has me fascinated.

In general I’m always fascinated by anything related to learning. A recent click on the “you might like this” section took me to DSLRguide and the video titled Filmmaking Progress Part 1. In just under 10mins Simon Cade shares his reflections on his own learning process. It’s fantastic! And of course it got me thinking…

It’s refreshing to be reminded how learning happens in the real world. And it’s even more exciting to see how new media technologies are changing who has access to learning and who is allowed to create it. Spoiler alert: EVERYONE!

Before I go on, I’ll ask you to take 10mins and watch the video.

So what did you think?

I have several ideas but here is one that instructional designers talk about but rarely hear about from learners in retrospect.

Key Learning #1 – FUN EXPERIENCES

If you really want to hook people into wanting to learn you’ve got to engage their emotions. We know this. But here is a young man spelling it out for you. Listen to how he talks about the FUN he was having.  But listen again to about the 3 minute mark, and pay particular attention at the 1:40 mark.

What’s the different between the shooting experience and the editing experience?

The shooting experience is a typical experience that a boy would consider fun, right? Running around chasing each other is typical boy fun… and so is telling the other boys what to do. I’m sure all of the boys were having fun. And so he uses the word fun quite easily with regards to the shooting process.

But now he’s in the editing room needing to create something from the video footage of all the “fun” they had. Listen to how he explains the editing experience.  He speaks of problems with continuity, and how they should of done things differently during the shooting.  I’d call this the “hard” fun because this is where the learning occurs through frustration, and working through the problems like “shots not matching up”.

But through that entire learning process he still looks back on the entire experience as fun and hooking him into what he wants to do as a professional. And that my friends is what learning is all about.

Your Weekend Homework

Think about all the buzzwords currently floating about our industry: social learning, mobile learning, experiential learning, informal learning, micro-learning, design thinking, sketching for learning, storytelling for learning, “Show Your Work”.

Now watch the video again. If you have time, watch part 2, or some of his other videos and make notes of how you might relate one or more of them to what Simon is doing.  Remember, he is not an instructional designer or learning professional.  He’s a filmmaker learning to become a better filmmaker. And that is pretty cool.