#TakeFiveWith Danielle Johnstone
Could you tell us about yourself and your job role? And one hobby/fun fact?
I am an e-learning visual designer at King’s Online, a department at King’s College London that designs and develops fully online courses. I also volunteer as an instructional designer for an e-learning charity, Learn Appeal, on their project to send offline e-learning to unconnected communities in Kenya. I grew up in Zimbabwe and studied and worked in the United States before moving to the UK. And in my free time I sing in the London Concert Choir.
What is a typical day like for you?
My typical day usually involves a mix of graphic design, build and execution, and trouble-shooting. I will usually build some course environments or interactive lessons based on storyboards supplied by instructional designers, create some custom graphics, and help my peers with dev problems and writing CSS and HTML. Sometimes I write guidance documents for my team on accessibility practices or technical processes, or help our instructional technology manager with tech maintenance.
Could you tell us how you got into your role?
I moved into online learning after getting my MA in Education and Technology at UCL. This followed a period of working in curriculum design in the US. Until then, I had worked primarily in print resources and in person programming for education. But after working on some iPad-based multimedia curricula and seeing how it worked wonders for students who were not first-language English speakers, I became intrigued by the possibility that technology could broaden access to effective learning. Online learning is certainly one area that has a lot of promise for making education more inclusive.
What motivates you to do a good job?
The thought of students learning from, and being engaged with, learning objects and experiences I help create. I am always excited about reducing the barriers to effective learning - whether that be with good UX and UI design, careful visual design, or accessible development.
How do you learn at work?
I have been lucky to be able to learn from some great colleagues and others in the learning sector. My line manager, Louise Bennett, has offered me fantastic mentoring and helped me develop my technical skills. And Twitter, especially chats like #LDInsight, have given me ways to hear from people in different environments and roles and to expand my horizons. I have also been known to come up with a side project for which I may not be equipped and use it as a way to force myself to develop skills. Right now, that is trying to develop a Chrome extension that I hope will help my team and others write better alt text for images so that they are accessible for visually impaired users.
What are your aims for the next year? For example, if you work in accessibility do you have any plans to help make workplaces more inclusive? If you work in Learning and Development how are you going to promote workplace learning?
Completing that Chrome extension is the first one! But that is part of a larger goal to improve accessibility practices on my team. New legislation on accessibility for the apps and websites of public bodies has given us that final push into making accessibility a priority. And I’m looking forward to helping my team and the larger university embrace the spirit of that law and move to designing with intentional care for people with disabilities.
YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT LEARN APPEAL ON THE FOLLOWING PLATFORMS:
Learn Appeal’s Website: www.learnappeal.com
Learn Appeal’s Twitter Account: @LearnAppeal
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