One of the difficulties of reporting about the use of Video Recorders and Computer Simulators is that when we started our research, the video cameras were property of a specialist group in the university, who originally were reluctant to spend their time on our experiments. But then they became very interested in developing their recordings into amateur movies, which were indeed very interesting but not immediately related to our purposes. Similarly the B.B.C also became interested and indeed invited us to demonstrate our production-line recorder as a half hour program in their science and philosophy documentary series Horizons.
We also became involved in using the early computers:
We used time on these mainframes and then our microcomputers to simulate the much more expensive specialist machinery and gadgets which were being used in various industries, and more and more often in educational institutions from schools to universities.
Later the Video Recorders became smaller and smaller and more and more affordable for the normal individual to acquire or rent. Eventually we used them more and more often. e.g. with the Olympic Rowing Team, four of the London Colleges of Art and the many Royal Navy training activities at Yeovilton.
We also worked with the Hotel and Catering Industrial Training Board to study how young six formers actually learned how to make Omelettes. The results of this H.C.I.T.B study clearly indicated the differences between those learners that needed detailed supervision and the more self-organised ones who used video records to carefully improve their cooking results time after time. In fact we designed a whole hierarchical system of video records starting by using very short episodes and working through stage by stage to a record of the complete Omelette making. The experiments that we carried out for the HCITB coupled with the Reading Recorder and the production-line studies finally gave us the idea of that people varied considerably in their ability to organise their own learning. This set us on the road to Self-Organised Learning (S-O-L) and all its consequences.