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Cheryl Clemons, Communications Director, Brightwave
How did you get into a career in elearning?
Over the last 15 years, I've been involved in a number of initiatives and projects to help organisations work smarter using technology. Recognising Brighton and Hove as a centre of e-learning excellence, I set up a network in 2004, supported by Wired Sussex, called the Brighton ELearning Alliance which committed to a programme of activity to support the industry. One key goal was to ensure a steady flow of new talent and we struck a collaboration with both the Universities of Brighton and Sussex to launch a PG Certificate in ELearning Design, the first in the UK. I got hooked and a few years later I was delighted to be invited to join Brightwave as their Communications Director.
Do you feel there are good opportunities for women working in elearning?
There is much in the news about inequality at senior management / board level and the possibility of mandatory EU quotas. Wouldn't it be interesting to know how the elearning industry benchmarks? Brightwave bucks the trend with 50 per cent of our senior management team comprised of female directors. I have the pleasure of working alongside Virginia Barder, Operations Director and Alison Mitchell-Innes, Resources Director who have a formidable combined industry experience of over 40 years. There are some great women working in elearning and the role models are there across every discipline, so I wonder why there hasn't yet been a female winner of the ELearning Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement?
How are you working to make elearning more effective?
As an industry I think we're pretty good at sharing thinking and ideas. What perhaps we do less of is sharing what has made a project successful and how the thinking and design has been applied to achieve this? There is a mantra at Brightwave to help clients achieve a positive measurable impact and part of my remit is to help clients understand and set success criteria which really matters. At an industry level, I support wholeheartedly the efforts of organisations like Towards Maturity and the ELearning Network for benchmarking and sharing what good looks like. The new ELearning Award webinars (http://www.elearningage.co.uk/webinars.aspx) revealing the award winners stories, are also a positive step.
If you could give eLN members one elearning tip, what would it be?
Perhaps I am bound to say this. My tip would be to 'make friends with marketing.' I say this for a number of reasons including:
- Any marketing department worth its salt will be up on how to use the latest technologies to engage an audience.
- They should be able to help you promote your learning programmes internally and advise on how best to make people care.
- They are likely to know what matters to your organisation's customers as well as be a source of employee research
- They are likely to have a strong sense of corporate strategy, brand and values
- They may help you uncover learning and expertise that can be extended to your clients and add value to the end customer experience
You can tweet Cheryl via @cherylclemons (https://twitter.com/#!/cherylclemons)