Sarah Frame, Business Development Director, EMEA, Toolwire Inc
How did you get into a career in elearning?
Having worked in senior management positions in non educational private sector companies, I joined ICS Ltd as Sales Director in 1999. As a leading provider of distance learning, this gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills within an educational organisation. ICS was also at that time a sister company to NetG, with whom we worked closely, and this was my introduction to the world of elearning. I place a very high value, not just on learning, but on the need for flexible, lifelong learning, and at ICS, we enrolled tens of thousands of learners each year, most of whom were self funding their courses in an effort to improve their career prospects. Online learning is key to enabling individuals to take control of their own learning and development, and learn in a way that works for them as an individual. This flexibility is equally crucial for organisations and educational institutions.
I joined the University of East London in 2007 as Director with responsibility for all distance and elearning, for both on and off campus students. UEL is a vibrant and forward thinking University, and I welcomed the opportunity to transfer my skills developed from years of private sector experience, to working within a publicly funded educational institution. I am now delighted to have moved into a role with Toolwire. We deliver immersive, experiential learning solutions, which are applicable both in Higher Education and in the corporate sector, so I am well placed to bring experience to bear from both sectors.
Do you feel there are good opportunities for women working in elearning?
I certainly think there are, and I have the privilege of working with some really first class women who are highly regarded in the industry. There are a multitude of roles on offer - whether you are a provider or a vendor there are great opportunities. Academic, instructional designer, learning technologist, developer, learning and development professional, learner support, to name but a few. However, as in any industry, I think women still have to be more confident about their abilities, recognise they can develop exciting and successful careers in elearning and be determined to aim high. Realistically, women often have to juggle work and family responsibilities, and surely in this industry more than many others, we can enjoy the benefits of new technologies and make work work better for us (and I should know – having had five children!)
How are you working to make elearning more effective?
Toolwire products make elearning more effective! They really do – we have figures to back that up. Our commitment is to find fantastic ways for people to learn by doing, or to learn by being, and that makes learning effective. Learner feedback is that they find using our tools to be enjoyable, compelling and engaging . The immersive nature and authenticity of the environments combined with engaging stories and characters and challenging situations, make them ask for more learning experiences to be like that.
If you could give eLN members one elearning tip, what would it be?
Make sure your learners are really engaged and enjoying the learning experience. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand”.
You can tweet Sarah via @sarahAE (https://twitter.com/#!/sarahAE)