Keep Your Eyes Open: Unorthodox Learning

Written by Allen Lloyd on April 17, 2018

Learning is everybody’s job. Five or ten years ago, people at work might have thought, I’m just a cog in the wheel, done their job, and survived. However, that attitude is not viable today. The world is changing too fast to rest on our laurels. Without ongoing learning efforts, organizations (and people) become stagnant and suffer.

Everyone has their own learning style, and experiencing things - pushing buttons - is how I learn. When putting together training, I realized I could hold a Skype meeting with myself and use the record feature to create short specialized videos. Making a five-minute video where you can share your screen and train people on new software or processes is quick and efficient. Some people overcomplicate it and worry that it requires a Spielberg-level of production, but it can be very simple once you get used to filming yourself.

A couple of years ago, I managed the reimplementation of our AMS. There were a hundred little changes that people had to be made aware of, like buttons moving to different parts of the system. Initially, we tried calling meetings once a week where everyone would learn these lessons together, but it was a slow and time-consuming process.

A more nimble way to spread the information was for me to make videos explaining changes. Everybody needed to know these things, and everyone could learn at their own pace. I tried it once and sent it out to everyone. All of a sudden I could hear my voice from 20 different computers in different corners of our open plan office. Over time, I got better and better at it.

I learned from my kids that being excited makes people listen. They love the game Minecraft and watch this guy on YouTube called DanTDM. I hate Minecraft but I will watch him with them because he’s so engaging and excited about the subject matter. To incorporate that into my videos, I would get super excited about these buttons and where they move to. It was boring content but I could hear people laughing in the office. I was willing to let people laugh at me if it meant they were learning how to use the software!

Keep your eyes open. Life teaches us so many lessons organically. Watching a video about gaming with my kids seemed like a complete waste of time but I found a way to apply its style to my own work life. How are other people doing it? How can you repurpose that in your own job? That’s learning.

Allen spoke in the “Five-Star Professional Development Results on a One Star Budget” session during SURGE Spring, an interactive virtual summit hosted by on May 2nd-4th. Click here to watch the sessions on demand.