by Tim Clague - Lifelong learner, storyteller and scriptwriter.

If you’re in L&D you need to live and breathe learning

I was once talking to an editor of a regional newspaper. He was feeling a smidgeon of frustration. A lot of the students coming in seeking internships and even the graduates seeking entry-level jobs just weren’t getting past the interview stage.

How come? What fiendish question was dragging these hard nut denizens of the fourth estate down into a quagmire of gibberish?

It was this… “What paper do you read?”

You see, even though these wannabe Woodward and Bernsteins craved to be on the inside of the newsroom, they just didn’t have a real connection anymore with the output.

They had probably just enjoyed the fifth season of The Wire or liked the idea of being Clark Kent. They weren’t really LIVING IT!

Crikey! What a bunch of losers eh? How could they think of writing for a newspaper if they don’t read one?

Can you answer these L&D questions?

Anyway, lets all cheer ourselves up by knocking out these easy answers. When did we last do some e-learning? And what was the last lecture we saw? And if we really are as interested and excited by gamification as we all say we are, what was the last game we played?

I ask these questions not to embarrass anyone, but instead to look for one of three answers.


“Hey Tim you clown, I can answer all three easily and heck, it was all last week. Don’t try this nonsense out on me, you cheeky so and so?”


To which I say, great! Just remember to spread the word about that to your colleagues and clients.

All too often we can be shy about our learning process and where we pick up ideas.

We sometimes think that saying we got an idea from somewhere else isn’t as good as saying we made it all up ourselves. That isn’t true.

We are in the learning business so talking about different ideas and interesting learning sources should be overflowing from us.


Gamifield learning

“All that stuff is okay for other people, but its not for me. Games are just Space Invaders and silliness for kids and lectures are boring.”

What? Where have you been? The games industry is bigger than films and TV combined and the average age of a gamer is around 38 now. A few links to help you re-engage if you are out of the loop.

A simple but powerful interactive bit of learning on the scale of the universe - Notice the lack of any rambling text intro, a help page, a complex set of instructions or a next button - AKA notice this has been designed assuming you have used a computer since 1999.

A lecture on learning by Ken Robinson – maybe you’ve seen it already as 32 million people have. If so, choose another talk on TED. Notice how complex ideas are covered in 15 minutes. Are we this punchy and brief?


Or if you want to see how someone can basically keep you enthralled on the topic of learning for 50 minutes see this Horizon show from 1981 with physics legend Richard Feynman where he talks about how ‘finding things out’ is a joy in life.

And if you fancy a bit of gaming while you learn about World War I check out Valiant Hearts which you can play on Playstation 3 or 4 or Xbox 360 or XBoxOne or PC or iPad or iPhone or Android devices – you get the idea, just about any device ever so no excuses.

The culture of learning

“Hey Tim, I’d love to check all that out, but I can’t be seen watching a 15 minute TED talk in the office, ye gads!”

Obviously if a key deadline is in a quarter of an hour, then yes, your sense of timing is wacko. But otherwise, why not? As a company are we against learning? Are we against development? Are we saying that self-improvement is a waste of time? I think everyone working in L&D should be able to say one thing they have learned this week, and be able to excitedly talk about a culture of learning. If we don’t live that culture, if we don’t present it, how can we expect our clients to get behind a proposition?

About the author

I don’t really fit into any job title box, call me a storyteller, film-maker, scriptwriter, e-learning designer, games expert, whatever you like really! I’m definitely a lifelong learner though and love exploring and sharing new ideas about all things ‘learning’.

Contribute a guest post