eLearning: A natural home
As someone with a background that is equal parts learning design, technology and business, eLearning feels like a natural home to me.
Technology and business
My story begins twenty years ago as an enthusiastic new graduate in his first role; storyboarding websites for a web agency in London.
I continued my journey with larger technology companies like publishing technology company Ingenta in client-facing business development roles. I spent my days in conversation with senior management, understanding their challenges and business needs and working with the technical team to develop appropriate solutions.
After attending a training course I began to develop an interest in how people learn. It led to a change in career and, within a few months I was working with a division of the University of London, focusing on student skills development for workplace performance. To-date I have designed over 1,000 hours of face-to-face learning for MBA, Masters and undergraduate students. In 2015 I was recognised with a Teaching Award from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Here’s what I learned: Focus on engagement – no learning will take place without it. Don’t lecture – create challenging exercises that allow learners to make decisions (and face consequences). Lastly, respect learners – if you find something unengaging, patronising or irrelevant, they probably do too.
The eLearning years
It started when I was asked to create a simple online quiz for students. Then the penny dropped: I could use this technology to magnify the impact of the learning I was designing. Within a month I had pitched to management a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), that eventually attracted 157,000 learners and won our team an Industry Award for Technology. With wind in my sails I designed and authored a suite of eLearning courses – the first of their type in the sector. The success of these led to my appointment as co-lead for the eLearning Cross-Group Team, responsible for making eLearning available to over 100,000 learners.
Today, with a few more grey hairs, I create bespoke eLearning to help businesses develop their people. I am an active member of the eLearning Network (eLN). I use Articulate, Captivate, Evolve, Camtasia and other authoring tools to craft eLearning courses, simulations and scenarios that address real business needs.