When I founded Trimble Productions back in 2020, I was confident that a refreshed approach to training and education could add real value to the veterinary industry. With almost 300 films in our portfolio, we now know the impact we can make for clients; and how new ways of learning can empower individuals and institutions when it comes to understanding complex topics.
My vision for the future of education has been shaped through my own journey. Being dyslexic, I struggled as a child and teenager to achieve academic success through traditional systems. I was unable to read until I was 14 and found learning a challenge without considerable support. As a result, I developed a firm belief that I was unable to integrate within these systems; it felt like education — at least, as others experienced it — wasn’t for me.
Having always had a passion for animals, and encountering recent veterinary graduates on my travels, I decided, one day, to become a vet. I had undertaken a vocational course on animal management and gained confidence in my own capabilities. Still, without GCSEs or A-Levels, there was a huge academic mountain to climb. I applied to six of the existing veterinary schools in the UK with no success.
Thankfully, University of Nottingham Veterinary School saw my potential and gave me the chance; I was admitted to the new school in 2006 as part of its first cohort. I had struggled through the educational system throughout my life; almost by magic, everything seemed to fall into place and was doing well. It was, of course, the progressive design of the course that was making a difference. My perspective on learning has been transformed. Through a well designed course I was able to fulfil my own potential and achieve academic — and professional — success.
Building blocks of understanding
When it comes to enhancing well-established veterinary curriculums and courses with new ways of teaching, I think it’s important to focus on the outcomes of learning. What is they key concept or skill we want the individual obtain— and how do we make it stick?
The more information someone is told about a subject, the less they’ll be able to remember. We need to be braver when it comes to pairing back on that information to actually be able to achieve our desired learning outcomes. It’s not to say that we should oversimplify topics; when it comes to veterinary medicine, we’re dealing with infinitely complex subjects and incredible levels of physiology, anatomy, medicine and surgery — not to mention the breadth of communication skills. Instead, it’s about improving understanding; building out a foundation of knowledge by building up the brickwork of clear concepts.
Perhaps that’s illustrating a concept, or a key point, through a parable or a story; or supplementing Powerpoint slides with a podcast or a quiz. As a visual learner myself, I’m a firm believer in video’s ability to convey a huge amount of information quickly. The multifaceted nature of video from the movement all the way through to sound design makes it engaging — and activates our increasingly shortened attention spans.
Ultimately, it comes down to establishing diverse and dynamic avenues for individuals to access the same training; while pairing back what you are delivering each time so that the highest degree of learning can be achieved.
Making a difference
What we’re looking to do is create an impact on peoples’ lives and unlock their potential. My own experiences have taught me how important it is that courses are designed with diverse educational needs in mind. At Trimble Productions we’re supporting thought veterinary leaders with the development of world-class educational programs — with the aim of improving learning as well as animal welfare.
I believe that if education is done properly, it just works — I’ve seen that time and time again, through my journey as a vet and life-long learner. It takes effort and bravery; but making that change can create an enormous difference to individuals and institutions — and benefits our profession, and patients, as a whole.
Toby Trimble is the Managing Director of Trimble Productions and a European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, MRCVS.