Tag Archives: e-learning

E-Learning as coffee break

Since you cannot have a decent idea without a manifesto, here’s one I prepared earlier for a suggested initiative for e-learning for a current client.


Concept is to develop and offer a library of short-n-sweet e-learning lessons on topics that may be of value. The shortness comes from enforcing a 5-min time limit, being the time needed to sit down and drink a cup of coffee (hence the coffee lessons name). But that shortness also comes from enforcing a time-limit on production. These should not be epic productions, more as labours of love from those of us wanting to share our knowledge but only being able to find occasional moments between projects to work on them.

What that means for the producer is firstly that anyone can do it, and secondly that we can afford to be smarter about the tools we use to make our content quickly. For example:

  • use a rapid e-learning tool and a simple template to plug in content
  • use your computer’s built in webcam to capture an introduction video or content describing key points
  • use Captivate or other screen capture tools to demonstrate a process
  • use audio recording to easily add a voiceover to content, etc

In this I’m inspired in part by the dogma school of film-making that deliberately enforced constraints over the film production process. Putting similar limits on producers encourages us all to produce (you don’t need the fancy tools or skills, because you don’t have time to use them). Which can help produce a wide variety of simple skills. Having our coffee lessons available is a growth exercise for both the learners (any of us) and the teachers (again, any of us).

Having helped assess a few people’s presentation/training skills where they have to pick a topic to present, obviously the key to a coffee lesson is picking a topic suitable for the 5 min limit. You’re not going to run a coffee lesson on “InDesign” for example. But you could run 5 mins on publishing an InDesign book as an ePUB compatible with your internal environment, for example.

As a follow-up a colleague has just noted that for a lot of general skills these coffee lessons already exist. Just search Youtube and you’ll find short-n-sweet videos on a plethora of skills. However what BYO provides is the ability to provide content specific to your organisation, the option to track usage (by offering via your LMS), and of course the experience in developing for yourself.