Tell us a little about your background
My path into learning design was largely accidental. Throughout my college and master's programme I did a lot of customer service type roles and a lot of the time in those roles I'd end up training other colleagues. I was working for a bank in their fraud department, and we had such high staff turnover in that department that I was doing onboarding almost full time. I quickly realised I loved it as a job and from there moved to a bespoke e-learning company to do instructional design.
From there I've never looked back. I spent a couple of years as an instructional designer on loads of different projects for different types of clients - everything from sausage skin making to braille! Then I got a global digital learning job at Costa Coffee, where I worked on going digital with their main barista induction, I worked on design standard for their digital learning, and then towards the end there I was working on ensuring their global learning was effective for all the different markets.
Digital learning for hospitality
Corporate learning is fairly similar in terms of its main concerns, but in hospitality, you have a lot more time pressure and multiple priorities. Especially in a business such as Costa, where trying to find time for learning, and to make it valuable for people is super difficult. One of the biggest things in hospitality I've had to learn is how you utilise the time that you're given effectively and efficiently. I always want to make sure that we're giving learners more bang for their buck.
What's your vision of the future of digital learning or learning experience?
I really believe in self-motivated learning. And by that, I mean getting to a place where you're not doing learning because somebody has given it to you, you're doing it because you're interested and you want to know more and you know it's going to help you succeed in whatever action you're doing.
As learning experience designers we need to ensure there are as few barriers as possible to that self motivation. Curation of content is where I see us going in terms easy to pick up a task or figure out how to do something. We want to be as in the moment as possible, and make it really relevant. There is so much content available everywhere in the world so the challenge is how we utilise it effectively, and give it to people at the right time, at point of need.
In a post COVID world, we're not going to be able to stick people in classrooms the way we used to. Instead we need to meet them where they're at and give them the tools they need to succeed.
Mobile friendly content is also a big one. If we look at our audience of people who work in the hospitality industry. They have very little time, and it's very costly for an organisation to provide access to tech such as computers and tablets. More and more, our learners are actually getting their content via their phones, so why not put our learning in a place they are already using. It was definitely on the agenda for Costa and it's going to be on the agenda of any future focused organisations. At Flow we want to be front runners on mobile friendly content that is fully responsive.
What attracted you to working at Flow?
I actually came across Flow working at Costa as they use some Flow content there. I have always been impressed by the content and I can see where we can move forward with this in terms of learning design. I think there is so much opportunity for us to really be best in class, in terms of our content and in terms of our learning experience. Furthermore the team at Flow is super duper talented, and with the MAPAL partnership I think there's a serious opportunity for us to be leading edge. I'm excited to be able to get my hands dirty and make sure that we’re creating great learning experiences for trainees and making sure that we check all the boxes for the hospitality industry.
One last thing before you go, what hospitality venue were you most desperate to go back to after lockdown?
I think one of the highlights has been the cinema. My partner and I went to see one of the old Batman films at the Odeon when they reopened. I also really miss live music and not having the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh with the wonderful mix of cultures and acts this year, has been devastating!