Ask the Expert: Behind the Scenes with an ed2go Learning Designer

We’re often asked about the learning design (LD) process for ed2go courses, and the LD experts who work behind the scenes to make that happen.
We touched base Jeanine Glatfelter, one of ed2go’s Learning Designers to talk about her background as a learning designer and some of the exciting projects her and the other LDs are working on to continuously improve the ed2go learning experience.

What is your background in learning design?

Before becoming a learning designer, I earned two degrees from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY; a Bachelor of Arts in English Education and a Master of Science in Literacy Education. Through these programs, I developed a love for creating thoughtful, student-centered curriculum design. My plan was to become a teacher, but the 2008 recession put a hold on that goal!
While working as a Veteran’s Certifying Official for Excelsior College in Albany, I was given the opportunity to review online professional development courses for quality and vigor. What started as a spark became a fire, and I found my passion. I became a Curriculum Manager for the Center of Professional Development at Excelsior, developing online courses with Subject Matter Experts at the top of their industries, and eventually moved to Excelsior’s Center for Learning and Design as an Instructional Designer.
After spending several years building courses and selling ed2go products for Excelsior, I joined the ed2go Content Delivery team as a Learning Designer in 2018. Since then, I’ve worked on a variety of courses including Beginning Writer’s Workshop (wwk), Certified Physical Therapy Aide (GES189), Explore a Career as a Clinical Medical Assistant (mst), Veterinary Medical Terminology (vmt) and Residential Electrician (GES789).

What excites you about creating and designing learning products?

The challenge! Taking traditional, in-person teaching curricula and “putting it online” is not as easy as it sounds. Many educators (and parents!) are experiencing this now with students being forced to learn remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I really enjoy learning about a new content area, brainstorming ways to present the material to learners, and working with SMEs and other designers on the team to develop games, assessments, and interactive multimedia elements to enhance the material and motivate learners.
And I’m an avid reader, so learning about new topics and industries is one of my favorite parts about this job! I love waking up every day knowing that I’ll get to read about something new. From artificial intelligence to genealogy, there’s so much out there to explore.

Do you have a specific learning or subject area domain that you like to work in the most?

Writing, communication and leadership are my favorites.

What excited projects are you working on right now?

My colleague Amanda Stockholm and I are developing a Peer Review and Self-Evaluation Resource Kit for our learning designers. The goal is to be able to provide our team with a guide they can easily use when creating new peer review or self-evaluation activities in writing, business, and design courses. This Kit includes content, videos, games, assessments, as well as sample peer review and self-evaluation discussion activities. This content is ‘agile’ in that it can be used across a variety of disciplines with minimal revisions. Thoughtful peer review and self-evaluation activities give students space to practice critical soft skills and while building a learning community.
Separately, over the past six months I’ve completed a few design “facelifts” for our Fundamentals courses. Leadership (ldr), Achieving Success With Difficult People (sdp) and Keys to Effective Communication (kec) have all been updated with new graphic design elements and interactive multimedia, improving the authenticity and inclusivity of these products.
Using this facelifted content, we’ve created series of short courses designed specifically for a Corporate audience; content can be mix-and-matched by organizations to create a personalized learning experience for their employees.

Are there any “hot” topics in learning design that you think will grow in the coming years?

Gamification has been a buzz word in the industry for about a decade, but this area still excites me! We know games motivate people to participate (think of frequent flier miles, Scout badges, or FitBit competitions). Intentionally creating informal “gamified” learning opportunities has been trending in the education and training fields.
Personally, as a lifelong video gamer (my favorites are the Animal Crossing and Fallout series), this continuing trend is enormously exciting. Games for learning can be simple to complex: flashcard matching games can be used to develop long-term memory; virtual reality technology can be used to simulate critical training situations. My favorite author on this topic is professor Karl Kapp (The Gamification of Learning and Instruction; Play to Learn, with Sharon Boller).
Most ed2go courses utilize games for formative assessment opportunities, and we’re always exploring new ways to incorporate “playable learning” experiences into our courses. Recently, the design team created a branching scenario builder application to help Learning Designers and Subject Matter Experts develop activities that simulate real-world experiences with difficult situations, decisions, actions, and consequences.
Our LDs and SMEs are already utilizing this new tool to develop authentic, playable learning activities. An updated A to Z Grant Writing (gw1) will feature several new branching scenarios.