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Filling a gap

Reflecting on video essays

One of my main forms of entertainment

these days is watching video essays on

YouTube. If you haven't discovered video

essays yet, I highly recommend them

and not just because the potential for this

medium in online training may be vast. I

started years ago, watching essays

related to things I'm interested in, such

as film, and since have branched out into

politics and social issues, art,

philosophy...things I never would have

been interested in before. At this point, I

will watch a video essay about almost


So why do I like this medium so much?

It's a question I've asked myself often,

believe me. Yes, the content is diverting -

hearing more about things you like

always gives you a bit of a dopamine hit -

but it isn't just that. The blend of

charismatic presenter, fast-moving and

creative visuals, creative editing, and

well-researched and communicated

argument is irresistible to me.

But it's more than that too. I realised after

some time that I was actually learning

from the video essays.

For example, when a film came out that I

didn't like, I was better equipped to

articulate why I didn't like it because I'd

been watching video essays on the

subject. I wasn't learning skills as such,

but I was learning new ways of thinking. I

was taking what I was learning, applying

it in new situations and forming

connections I hadn't seen before; in

short, the video essays had become a

vehicle for reflection. And it was almost

addictive. As I said, at this point, I will

watch a video essay about almost

anything - my mind likes the exercise.

We often aim to make online learning as

practical as possible, and this is definitely

a good thing. Our main aim should

always be to give learners the practical

skills they need to be better at their jobs.

And that emphasis on practicality

sometimes makes us ask, does reflection

really have a place in formal training?

Beyond encouraging learners to think

about their learning, about what went

well or not well and to make

improvements, should 'pauses for

reflection' be part of formal training

interventions? Is meaningful reflection

even achievable in online training?

Read more

Rosie Scott

Senior Learning Designer

Learning Pool


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