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Tuesday Insight: Snapshots of Learning


The other day, as I was trying to get to grips with a left-hand drive Nissan Micra on snowy hill roads in France (my car was in the garage), I suddenly thought; how on Earth did I get here?! 

I am, after all, the boy that never wanted to leave the village I grew up in, yet alone Wiltshire, yet alone England. And yet, here I am, on the verge of buying a house in France and, in almost every conceivable way, living a life that would have seemed frankly ridiculous to my young self.

I started to think, wouldn’t it be funny, and fun, to write my life story. Not in any pretentious way but as a way to pay tribute to the journey, full of unexpected twists, that we all go on. 

I even imagined how my autobiography would open (it’s a long and windy road home) and my mind is apt to wander:

“Your past is viewed as a series of snapshots and you can never be really sure how representative of the whole truth they are. This is particularly true of your childhood, where the pictures are seen through the long lens of time, which distorts and blurs them.”

I was quite pleased with it. Of course, I’m sure a proper writer would do lots of research to fill in the gaps in their memory, rather than make an excuse for leaving stuff out, but don’t the snapshots we hold close tell us more about the people we’ve become than the forgotten gaps between them? It seems to me that, for most of us, it’s the snippets of experience that we retain, good and bad, that explain the journey we’ve been on and the beliefs and behaviours we’ve adopted.

Some of the early memories I hold dear were given to me by my headmaster, Malcolm Emery, at South Marston Primary School. He was one of those people who had the ability to make you believe in your potential and the motivation to explore it. 

I think, as a trainer, I’m driven to try to create snapshots of learning like those he gifted me, that people will retain and reflect on as inspirational moments in their lives. I know that to achieve that, I have to design learning experiences that engage people creatively, practically and emotionally, and that is always the challenge I set myself when starting a new project. And I’ve been lucky over the years to meet many brilliant, creative trainers and team members, who share this ethos and have helped me build a library of materials in Trainers’ Library that I’m really proud of.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, I worried that it would take a knife to the type of learning I hold dear; that in our new virtual world, there’d be no space for learning that truly engaged and excited people. After all, I’d spent 20 years telling people there was no substitute for face-to-face learning. 

I was wrong, or at least, I was partially wrong. Over the last 12 months we’ve learnt how to make virtual face-to-face learning as engaging, creative and inspiring as training in the classroom. We’ve had to learn new skills, find new solutions and new methods, but activities like Jill Fruggle’s Virtual Treasure Hunt, The Leadership Identikit and Sheep Trail show what can be achieved. We’ve worked hard to add creative spark and engagement to our e-learning modules too, and I think the team have done a great job of bringing Transactional Analysis to life in our newest instalment.  

The pandemic will, I’m sure, result in permanent changes to the way training is delivered in the future. I see a future with an even greater emphasis on blended learning, with classroom workshops, remote delivery and e-learning in the mix. But I think it’s important not to forget the importance of developing and delivering learning in all these forms that people will remember and be inspired by.

With our new Enterprise membership, I hope we’ve found a way for you to instil inspirational moments and learning snapshots for your learners, however they experience the blended learning you provide.  

Until next time…

January 19 2021Rod Webb



Rod Webb





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