Lucy Dunleavy

Set the scene: It’s Friday night, you’ve finally closed the laptop and come home/out of your make-shift home office. You’ve eaten your slightly overcooked pizza (distracted by Instagram, ooops) and the kids are finally in bed (Hurrah!). You’ve slunk down on the sofa with a glass of wine in hand feeling very proud of yourself for smashing/surviving another week, now it’s time to relax into the weekend.

You switch on Netflix, you’re ready to chill.

But after a week of making countless decisions here you are again faced with even more.

You look at your recommendations list but one of the children has been on (yes you did set them up with their own profile, but 6 years olds don’t always work like that!) so now your recommendations are skewed, and you really don’t fancy The Simpsons Movie, Shrek or Cars 2 for the millionth time.

Then your other half chirps up, let’s have a look at the new releases/chick-flicks/action films. Groan. More looking, more searching, more discussion, more groans, potential bickering. You thought you were in the mood for comedy, but your sense of humour is dwindling…

…Top up the wine.

Eventually, you agree on something (anything just get out of this decision-making hell!) and a few of hours later you wake up on the sofa with a stiff neck, a fuzzy head (strong wine), only remembering the first 15 minutes of the film. Happy Friday night!

I’m being facetious, but bear with me.

What’s my issue with Netflix?

Netflix has over 200 million subscribers and thousands of high-quality films including many award-winning Netflix originals, binge-watching has become a thing, people keep coming back for more and during the pandemic Netflix became a social-life comfort blanket.

So why do I wince a little every time a company describes themselves as “The Netflix of Learning” or says that’s what they plan to become?

Well, Netflix epitomises down-time, escapism and switching off. Netflix is passive. Learning, on the other hand, requires more than an absent mind and it’s much more than a distraction.

Being the Netflix of Learning is a nice analogy but what does it really mean?

My guess is, for many it means having tons of readily available learning content which on the surface sounds great but too much content, and especially irrelevant content, can be as overwhelming for learners as for Friday night Netflix searchers

Having tons of learning content doesn’t prove it’s any good. There’s a lot of moving PowerPoint, click through workbooks and monotone home videos not even worthy of the £200 prize fund on you’ve been framed! Often it appears the question “would I want to watch this” (let alone would I learn from this) hasn’t been asked by the creators themselves.

Work-based learning in particular, is much more than just the teaching, the sharing of knowledge, the video or the PowerPoint, it’s putting that knowledge into practice, confirming understanding, reflecting and honing skills. It’s the learner taking the information and trying it out within the workplace and having a coach/tutor/manager at hand to support them in a blended way, whether that’s face to face or online.

Actually my issue isn’t with Netflix, I love a good series binge-watch from time to time as much as the next person. My issue is that I think people saying they want to be ‘The Netflix of Learning’ is too flippant. Maybe that’s part of the problem, that online learning still isn’t taken as seriously as the conventional classroom. Some think it’s here for the pandemic so haven’t invested in it, some recognise it’s here to stay but feel they can do it themselves or buy in tons of content to fill the gaps, but learning isn’t flippant or a quick fix, it’s a process, particularly within the workplace. You don’t get told/shown ‘how to conduct a difficult conversation’ and become instantly great at it, even if you can explain how it should be done. You have to practice the skill, reflect and go again (and again and again), over time you become better, you learn more and often you save time (even if it’s just the time spent worrying about how to handle it).

Netflix passes time. Learning creates time.

If the reasons for wanting to be ‘The Netflix of Learning’ are a combination of:

The high-quality content

The simple personalised technology

Their culture of innovation and learning through mistakes

The popularity with their audience

Then I’m with you. But remember Netflix offers content to consume for entertainment, they don’t have the responsibility of educating and supporting moving someone forward. So, why not take the best/most relevant parts of Netflix and adapt them to real education?

65% of primary school children will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist

The rate of technological advancement is rapid, resulting in an accelerating pace of change in the landscape of the workplace; 65% of primary school children will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist. Just like Netflix wasn’t a thing when you were renting your VHS from Blockbuster, but much faster.

So, what’s my point? Well, it is essential that learning in an ongoing process for all, in order to remain employable.

As learning professionals our focus shouldn’t be on having tons of learning content focused on the skills of today, instead, we should be focussed on keeping learners engaged with continuous learning, so that they can thrive tomorrow.

Engagement = Retention = Profit

From both an individual learner perspective and from a business perspective being engaged with learning means you’ll stick at it, you’ll recognise/see the benefits and return on investment by profiting from increased skills, increased confidence, increased opportunities for progression, an increased talent pipeline and an improved bottom-line.

Make the learning as engaging as possible, not just the content, the human interaction, support and energy around it, the simple, easy to use technology that they can relate to, that fits around their lifestyle and is there when they need it.

You wouldn’t set your own world on fire with a moving PowerPoint.

Don’t overwhelm your learners, don’t bore your learner, engage them!

Be more Netflix in a world of Blockbusters!

Engagement = Retention = Profit.

Lucy Dunleavy, CEO & Founder LearnBox

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

The Environmental Impacts of Remote Work: Stats and Benefits: Working from home is a necessity rather than a luxury…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page