Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

27 June 2009

Artifacts of reflection

Clark @ 3:48 PM

The other day John Ittelson stopped by for a visit.  I think of him as the guru of video usage in elearning, not least because of the recording studio he built in his house!  He mentioned his use of Flip camcorders, and finally a piece clicked into place that had been floating around in my thoughts.

Media PropertiesI’ve had a slight blindspot for photos and video because I peg the ‘conceptual’ meter. I recognize the value, though I don’t play with the files enough (tho’ I took a digital audio/video editing course more than a decade ago, and recently edited home videos for my wife’s birthday).  Photos and videos are really good for contextualizing, and that’s particularly valuable for examples (and practice).

The revelation was about the value of having learners capture information in situ, and sharing this for a variety of reflective opportunities.  The information captured can be performances, products, whatever.  It could also be interviews, or thoughts.

A colleague’s wife used to take an iPod with a microphone to conduct interviews.  Gina Schreck discussed giving groups of employees Flips to make videos of what their business unit does for the org, to share.  John mentioned capturing samples of teaching to share.  Having captures of actual practice is a valuable tool around which to scaffold discussion, and a powerful tool for reflection.  You can capture someone’s stories of best practices, or your own performance to review.

Note that making both other’s and personal captures available opens up the opportunity to learn more with and from others than your own reflective observations will provide, if you can be that open.  As a learning facilitator, you should provide ways for individuals and groups to capture and share thoughts, actions, events, and more.

One of the powerful things in digital performance environments (read: games, er, immersive learning simulations, and virtual worlds as was part of the discussion the other day) is the ability to capture records of action for review, too.  So look at ways to digitally track activity in learning environments (another reason to make the alternative to the right choice to be a reliable misconception!).

Reflection is powerful, and digital tools give us ways to truly leverage that power.  Reflect on that!


  1. I’ve been enamored with unpolished video for a bit. The Flip cams are great. The point and shoot limited functionality and low price make them perfect for sending UPS to a far flung unit to capture the way they do things.

    In the vocational world, so much of what we do is contextual.

    I’ve been pushing for a re-tiering of our view of solutions. We tend to think one size fits all. Build a course for it. Build a full blown support package. And we push the same tools that we expect our pro’s to use down to those with less experience (or no experience). How powerful would it be to push simple tools down to the deckplates for capture, lower our polish expectations, and really give folks the context support they need to sharpen performance.

    I’m a big fan of DVD based performance support as well. Partly because there isn’t any configuration management required for a portable DVD player. You put the DVD into the player, take it into any workspace and get the context you need to get the work done. Potentially really powerful stuff.

    Comment by Steve Flowers — 28 June 2009 @ 6:28 AM

  2. Steve, great comments. Yes, we overproduce, after underdesign. Low-fi quickly and well thought out is likely more powerful than traditional course.

    DVD’s for field service definitely a great opportunity. Will MP4s soon trump? I think download is or will soon be easier than trying to burn a DVD.

    Great thoughts, thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Clark — 29 June 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  3. The attraction with DVD, for me, is that I don’t have to deal with IT governance folks to roll out that part of the solution.

    If it were easier to field an IT gizmo consistently I’d certainly lean in the direction of soft deployment. MP4 and the like are certainly easier to maintain than a DVD.

    On the other hand, DVD provides a really nice way to structure orientation support. The menu system is fairly intuitive for moste.

    Comment by Steve Flowers — 29 June 2009 @ 10:01 AM

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