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?
Senior Learning Designer