Are you able to think dynamically about digital learning concepts and ideas?

We are recruiting a Senior Learning Consultant, Instructional Designer and a Digital Design Lead

We need talented digital learning and design professionals to join our growing team. We’re looking for great people who can help us design and deliver outstanding learning experiences for our client organisations.

We are currently recruiting:

We are a small, but perfectly formed bunch of tech, design and education folk. New clients and new projects mean we need like-minded design and learning professionals to join our team.

You need to be creative to work in the Aurion team, with a deep understanding of learning, have strong attention to detail, and be able to communicate and negotiate with confidence.

As Senior Learning Consultant, you will work closely with client Subject Matter Experts and the in-house digital learning development team in the design and production of online and work-based learning materials across multiple subject areas and sectors across Ireland, the UK and further afield.

You will have a dynamic approach with exceptional communications and negotiation skills and excellent client liaison skills, with a background in e-learning and blended learning as an instructional designer.

We’re after an Instructional Designer that has a detailed knowledge of learning theories, methodologies and techniques and you need to be able to demonstrate innovative and creative solutions to meet client needs.

Working in the role as Instructional Designer, you will design creative content storyboards that really bring the learning to life and use a combination of media to create a learning experience that will motivate the learner to apply their learning in practice and deliver the performance improvement that is needed.

You will work alongside your learning technologist and AV colleagues to ensure that your vision for the content is transformed online and adds to our award-winning body of work for clients around the world.

As Digital Design Lead, you will work closely with colleagues to ensure that Aurion produces creative, multi-platform digital learning resources for our broad range of clients. If you are a talented Digital Designer who us passionate about using their design skills to create amazing experiences and willing to learn and share their knowledge with others, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’re interested and think you have the skills and profile required, please email your CV to info@aurionlearning.com

We are on the lookout for a superstar Digital Design Lead

Digital Design LeadOur amazing team here at Aurion design, create and build market-leading elearning experiences. So much so, that demand for these experiences have grown, and with this, our team too. We are currently looking for an all-round enthusiastic Lead Digital Designer to join us.

Working with the elearning design and development teams, you will lead and coach the respective teams to produce creative, multi-platform digital learning resources that meet the very highest quality standards for our broad range of clients.

If you’d like to be part of a creative and talented team, where you have a high degree of ownership and want to influence learning experiences, we’d love to hear from you.

As part of Aurion, you will get to work on some really interesting projects with an impressive client list and fantastic colleagues.

Responsibilities:

  • Lead and coach the digital design team in the creation of creative, high-impact multi-platform digital content that meets the very highest quality standards.
  • Manage the overall design of a client solution, working with a design lead, instructional lead, technical lead and others to produce the project’s design specification.
  • Take ownership and quality assure the deliverables of the digital design team to ensure that the outputs meet the needs of the client and project specification.
  • Oversee AV production throughout the company. This might involve working with the Procurement and Finance Director to commission and quality assure external AV teams; acting as producer/director on a project, working with an assigned Instructional Designer to script materials for an AV project or reviewing and quality assuring post production work.
  • Contribute to new product development in line with the company’s business plan.
  • Drive innovation through the use of new digital content tools and technologies throughout the organisation.

On a personal level, you should:

  • Be creative and passionate about the design of visually rich digital learning content that works beautifully across multiple platforms.
  • Be passionate about developing your skills on an ongoing basis to ensure that you keep informed about developments in digital media.
  • Have excellent analytical, problem-solving and strategic thinking skills.
  • Have experience of multi-platform digital content design and implementation.
  • Have experience of UI/UX design.
  • Have a 3rd Level Qualification in Design, Media, Business or IT.
  • Have a minimum of 5 years’ experience as a Digital Design Lead or senior designer with team lead responsibility in the software or media industry.
  • Have well-developed communication skills including the ability to deliver presentations using structure and style.
  • Have good commercial awareness and a sound understanding of project and business dynamics.
  • Have the ability to work to tight deadlines and make sensible decisions under pressure taking a balanced view of client demands in tandem with agreed project scope.
  • Be willing to travel.

Desirable:

  • Experience in the educational software industry.
  • Have experience of mobile app creation and gamification.

Salary: Negotiable based on experience.

We offer continuous professional development opportunities and a range of other benefits including a contributory pension scheme and health plan.

To apply for this role, please send a cover letter outlining relevant skills and experience, a link to your portfolio of work, and a detailed curriculum vitae to info@aurionlearning.com

Meet our new Learning Architect, Michelle Gallen

Michelle Gallen, Learning Architect Aurion LearningAs our company continues to grow, we continue to add brilliant talent to our team.

We’d like to introduce you to an incurable edtech geek and a super-agent in delivering learning, our new Learning Architect, Michelle Gallen.

In her new role, Michelle will work with our clients to assess, scope and develop high quality learning experiences and map the learning needs to their business needs.

For the past 15 years, Michelle has worked with organisations of all shapes and sizes to create creative, innovative and engaging learning products for classroom, online and mobile.

She is an expert at working with clients to identify and understand emerging learning and development needs and priorities from the bottom up and we’re delighted to have her and her wealth of expertise on board.

A trained BBC content producer and an award-winning elearning blogger for her work on TalkIrish.com, Michelle was named a Talk Talk Digital Hero NI and a Hero Innovator at the Learning Without Frontiers awards. She is also a member of the British Council’s TN2020 network of future leaders and influencers and advised the British Council at Board level as a member of their Provocation Group.

Our new Learning Architect has a sincere love for learning, digital technology and goes all out to identify and create innovative learning solutions that benefit both learners and organisations.

As Michelle says in her own words:

“I’ve a long history of promoting elearning across organisations. I’m fascinated by key technology developments and their impact on how we learn. Throughout the years, I’ve learned how to balance the requirements of organisational goals and learner needs versus available budget and technical constraints.

I’m thoroughly immersed in traditional and emerging pedagogies. My long experience in learning has given me the skill to clearly see and analyse a learning solution all the way from the ‘big picture’ right down to nitty gritty of course specifics.”

We are a lucky bunch to have her on our team and over the coming months, Michelle will blog on a wide-range of topics and bring you her insights and perspective on the latest in digital learning. So get hyped and ready keep an eye out for her blog posts!

If you’re interested in joining our team, we are currently hiring a Project Manager and QA Engineer/Software Tester – pop on over to our careers page for details on the full job description and how to apply.

Are you our next Project Manager? We’re Hiring!

Join our tea, we're hiring a project manager To support our continued growth in local and overseas markets, Aurion Learning is recruiting an experienced Project Manager to join our expanding digital learning team.

This is an ideal opportunity for someone looking to join Aurion at an exciting stage and become an essential part of a great company.

Working closely with the Operations Director, the successful candidate will progress quickly and take on a broad range of responsibilities to help ensure the future success of Aurion.

As a Project Manager, you will be running projects for our clients, from conception through to delivery. You will create project plans, liaise with the design team and client contacts, schedule meetings and create reports. You will also help clients to inform their decision making across key projects.

If you are passionate about delivering projects to the highest possible standard and able to engage with clients at all levels, we’d love to hear from you.

Responsibilities

  • Providing project management for a range of digital learning solutions to existing and new customers.
  • Producing and maintaining project plans, project control documents, and project reports.
  • Managing overall project deliverables and each project stage deliverables.
  • Identifying and managing project issues and risks.
  • Assisting with the documentation of customer requirements.
  • Identifying and managing project resource requirements (liaising with departmental managers).
  • Assisting pre-sales activities as required, such as providing project plans.
  • Organising and assisting with customer workshops and customer project meetings.
  • Managing internal project meetings.

project manager - icons

The qualifications, skills, capabilities and experience we are seeking from you are:

  • 3rd Level Qualification (Business, Engineering, Science or IT).
  • Project Management qualification (e.g. Prince 2).
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience as a Project Manager in the software industry.
  • Experience of working within an agile development environment.
  • A proven track record as a project manager within a Software development environment, successfully delivering such projects within customer and commercial expectations.
  • Robust Risk Analysis and Risk Management skills/experience.
  • Well-developed communication skills including the ability to deliver presentations using structure and style appropriate to the audience.
  • Good commercial awareness and a sound understanding of project and business dynamics.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines and make sensible decisions under pressure taking a balanced view of client demands in tandem with agreed project scope.
  • Capable of effective prioritisation of tasks and personal time management, while recognising and flagging issues outside the area of own expertise.
  • Excellent problem solving skills.
  • Appreciation of good customer care practices.
  • Good team player capable of leading the project team to deliver in what are sometimes challenging circumstances or timeframes.
  • Willing to travel.

Desirable:

  • Experience in the educational software industry.

Salary: Negotiable based on experience.

We offer continuous professional development opportunities and a range of other benefits including a contributory pension scheme and health plan.

To apply for this role, please send a detailed curriculum vitae to info@aurionlearning.com.

We’re brewing up this Christmas for NSPCC

Aurion is a great place to work: we’ve the best bunch of designers, developers, innovators, educationalists and eLearning gurus EVER, if we do say so ourselves! But our small company is more than just work and play; we are a really generous bunch too.

Over the years, our commitments to both community and charity have not only been recognised with awards, but by giving a little something back, our team have also gained a big dollop of gratification.3 cute christmas mugs merry christmas

This year won’t be any different.

We consider our community and charitable involvements to be a vital role of any responsible organisation and take great pride in the support we are able to offer our chosen causes.

This Christmas, Aurion Learning are proud to support NSPCC NI, a charity that is very dear to us, as we had the pleasure of working with the NSPCC NI’s amazing education team to design and develop ‘Keeping Safe’ –  a suite of learning resources that would teach primary school children about keeping safe from abuse.

So in the season of goodwill and in our very modest efforts to raise awareness of the wonderful work that this charity does, we are brewing up and hosting a coffee morning later this week to raise funds for their cause, which we hope will help and contribute in some small way to support children across Northern Ireland.

It’s certain that our coffee brewing and brownie baking skills are not on par with our custom eLearning development skills, but we will give it a shot and hey – everyone loves cake!

If, like us, you’d like to make a donation and help NSPCC fight for every childhood, you can do so online.

The Aurion family would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. In particular to our clients and partners that we’ve had the pleasure of working with this year,

THANK YOU!

We look forward to working with you in 2017 and indeed the years to come! 

Are you our next Front End Developer?

Front End Developer Job TitleNew clients, projects and support commitments means that we are on the lookout for new talent to join our Belfast team. We are currently recruiting for a Front End Developer with at least 2 years’ experience to help our award winning team deliver fantastic learning experiences.

As the successful candidate, naturally you need to be front end fanatic, creative, with great user interface design and development skills and want to out-do us with your front-end thinking.

Reporting to the Operations Director, you will have freedom to work directly with clients based throughout the world on varied online learning projects such as; custom eLearning programmes, learning portals, learning assessment tools and learning management systems.

Our team isn’t huge, but have a great mix of skills, allowing us to take projects from concept through to design and development, meaning you’ll get real input into the process at all levels. You will work in a close knit team of fab web application developers, digital, graphic and instructional designers.

With every day introducing a new standard, we expect you to keep an eye on what’s happening in the industry so that you can actively contribute to our design and development approach, so we continue to lead the way in learning design and technology for our clients around the world.

HTML5 JS CSS imagesEssential criteria:

  • 3rd level degree web design or computing qualification (or similar).
  • Minimum 2 years’ experience as a Web or UX Designer in a commercial working environment.

Proficient in:

  • Photoshop/Illustrator.
  • JavaScript – jQuery- AngularJS/ or similar.

Experience in:

  • Working with a team to scope user interface flows and designing high fidelity mock-ups/prototypes for a client.
  • Designing and building creative and responsive web applications with graceful degradation.
  • Building an interface that works across multiple browsers.
  • Able to work independently as well as within a close knit team to ensure we delight our clients and project managers who make sure we keep things on track delivering on time and within budget.

Desirable but not essential criteria:

  • Experience working in ASP.Net MVC projects.
  • Experience using Visual Studio.
  • A working knowledge of a Content Management System.
  • Experience in using version control tools (such as GIT or SVN).

Salary: Negotiable depending upon experience + benefits

So if you are a Front End Developer and would you like to be designing applications that are that little bit different from what others are doing and you’re interested in pushing people’s perception of what learning is and where it can happen? then we would love to hear from you. Please submit your CV to info@aurionlearning.com.

Getting wrapped up for NICFC

AWU Twitter taking partFridays are always a great day in the office. For some it signals the end of the work week, others the usual trip to the chippie at lunch for some well-deserved fish and chips.

On Friday past, the team at Aurion pulled on our finest festive jumpers and snuggled up to take part in Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children (NICFC) ‘All Wrapped Up’ campaign.

With temperatures in the single digits, we took to this fundraising activity like a duck to water!

Admittedly, some of the jumpers were ashamedly cheesy and far too sparkly, but it was all in the aid of a great cause. We hope that the funds raised will make a small difference to the lives of children living with cancer in Northern Ireland.

As our Director Ciaran O’Hare mentioned, pulling on the Christmas jumper was a welcome move from a pair of running shoes. Earlier this year Ciaran took part in the London Marathon and raised £2116  for NICFC.

Thanks to NICFC for the cosy opportunity, sure who doesn’t love a good Christmas jumper!

You can make a donation to NICFC

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Tips for using stories in E-Learning

Illustration of six people connecting through stories in various digital interactionsIn keeping with the storytelling theme from our previous blog post; using storytelling for learning, we discussed how stories can be used for learning and what makes a good story. Often overlooked, stories are a great resource for learning. They are authentic, easy to remember and are a great way to describe an experience.

Storytelling itself is the oldest form of communication and for the majority it is the medium through which we can communicate meaningfully with one another. At Aurion HQ, we are avid fans of storytelling and in particular using stories for learning (not that you could tell!) We will soon be launching a new online tool called Storee that will change the way we tell and share stories.

It’s been proven that our brain organises information in story form, allowing us to connect and make sense of things. One of the first things we do upon meeting others is to share a story; indeed as humans, much of our communication is made up of stories.

What better way to ignite the learning spark than through storytelling?

5 Tips for using stories in E-Learning.

  1. Bin the lists and facts and transform them into stories. Many case study examples in learning, particularly those in the workplace often involve lists of do’s and don’ts. A better way of presenting this is to merge the learning content around a story. Be sure to include and utilise your subject matter experts as they are dab hands at creating stories from content due to their experience and expertise. The key to the success of stories in learning is to ensure that they are relevant and that the learner listening or watching the story can relate to it. In this way the lessons from the stories are more easily depicted.
  2. Dump the jargon. Within a storytelling context, ‘business-speak’ can sound a little trite. When we recall stories that we have heard, we remember stories that were told in a conversational tone, easy to understand and listen to.
    Studies have shown that the part of the brain that experiences emotions (known as the frontal cortex) does not react to overused phrases or figures of speech. Be sure to tell your story in a natural dialogue and one that doesn’t sound robotic.
  3. Introduce multimedia. With so many online applications available at our finger tips, it is easy to integrate your own videos, great images and audio into your story.  As the saying goes, a picture can be worth a 1000 words. The use of multimedia can really enhance learning and the story. If you don’t have a bank of your own images and would like to get creative and use free images, you can use the Creative Commons area on Flickr or stock.xchng. You can also use Compfight to help you search for photos that you can use. Remember to read the guidelines on proper attribution!
  4. Stimulate the brainResearch discovered by monitoring the brain activity of monkeys that whenever a researcher picked up a banana whilst being observed by a monkey, it had the same effect on the activation of neurons as when the monkey itself picked up a banana. Stories that are vivid and appeal to the various sensory cortices in the brain will increase neuro-engagement. This will have the knock on effect of making the story and the message behind it more memorable. Stories can be made more stimulating by creating dramatic plots, the use of music, expressive language and graphics.
  5. Appeal to universal feelings. Although the actual content and characters of a story may be from another universe all together, listeners get wrapped up in stories that appeal to basic social motivations and feelings.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the use of stories in learning or would like to be part of Storee Beta, please sign up.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

 

Using Storytelling for Learning

ipad-typewriterWe all love a story; it’s part of what we are as human beings. Although storytelling has been around for an age, stories are often not connected to learning activities. In fact, it’s been said that the original learning technologies were the story and the art of conversation.

In recent years, the art of storytelling has made resurgence as people realise the ability that storytelling has in connecting, engaging and informing us.

Storytelling is a powerful means of communication that is relevant across different cultures and communities. Stories have the ability to pull us into the storytellers’ journey, allowing us to bathe in their experiences and emotions.

When was the last time you couldn’t sleep at night because you couldn’t wait to read the next page of your company’s compliance training? Or you got goosebumps as the result of a particularly good training presentation about health and safety in the workplace? No…? We can’t remember the last time either. Research is showing that stories stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.

When used in the right context, stories are amongst the simplest tools that learning and development experts can use to encapsulate a piece of learning. We feel so engaged when we hear or read a story that the areas of our brain we would use when actually experiencing the events in the story are activated (as opposed to only some areas of our brain if we were listening to a PowerPoint presentation).

As learning and development professionals, we are attuned to stories and at Aurion HQ; we love nothing better than sharing! As part of the storytelling revolution, we are developing a new online tool called Storee that will change the way we tell, create and share stories. Launching in beta soon, the tool will provide a platform for users to share their stories online.

So what makes a good story then?

  • Realism and structure,
  • Authentic connection to the content or storyteller,
  • Reusability,
  • Measurability,
  • Connection to the organisational narrative,
  • Surprise (cognitive dissonance),
  • Hope (open loops) and
  • Correct focus or length.

Old-fashioned typewriter that has just printed the text, "What's your story?"Less is more.

When we think of stories, it is very often the simplest stories that are the most successful and resonate with us the most. When it comes to writing and structuring stories, not all of us have the natural gift of the gab, or the penmanship of the great authors such as Dickens. However, it is important to note that many proclaimed authors use simple vocabulary and their way of expression is what makes their writing style simple.

A combination of simple language and low complexity is the best way to activate the brain regions that make us truly relate to the happenings of a story. It is for similar reasons that multitasking is so hard for us. To increase the success of your storytelling, try for example to reduce the number of adjectives or complicated nouns in a presentation or article. If you come to a “bigger” word, try to think of a simpler one that can replace it.

Three reasons for using stories in learning:

  1. People are inundated with information. We are bombarded with information every time we leave the house, go on the internet or switch on the television. We try to digest so much information that it feels as if there is simply no more space. However, the same individuals who don’t have the time to read a one-sided compliance document will happily set aside half an hour of their busy day to listen to an interesting story.
  2. People love both telling and listening to stories. From your elderly relatives who share stories from their childhoods, to the prehistoric artists who have etched stories of animal hunts and tales of survival onto cave walls right through to teenage girls gossiping about celebrities in the corner of the school canteen.
  3. Stories are not just another method of knowledge transfer but contain the reasoning for learning. Great storytelling makes the learner feel like a discoverer. When used in an appropriate context, a good story creates the motivation to complete learning.

Whilst the power of storytelling is highly recognised in the business and marketing fields, we are only beginning to tap into the potential of stories in the learning and development field. Whilst we have incorporated personal stories into some of our recent E-Learning projects, we are incredibly excited about the potential of using more storytelling in learning at Aurion; indeed the possibilities are endless!

In our next blog article we will provide advice and tips on using stories in E-Learning programmes.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Knowledge Retention vs. Behavioural Change

Picture: Michael Cooper

Gavin Woods and representatives from the Sensory Engagement Programme

We were recently posed the question; “How can I use E-Learning as a way to create behavioural change and not just knowledge retention?”

As anyone who is involved in creating and implementing a learning strategy will know, there is often a gap between knowing and doing.

Regardless of the quality of the content, the delivery, or the rate of repetition, many learning and development professionals are faced with the challenge of turning knowledge into actions consistent with that knowledge.

‘When all is said and done, more is said than done’ (Aesop 7th century BC)

Earlier this year, the Sensory Engagement Programme (SEP) commissioned Aurion Learning to develop a new online training toolkit to raise awareness among service providers, in particular, banks, libraries and colleges of what it is like to be blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing and using every day services.

The online resource comprises a series of short films demonstrating the personal experience of those with sensory loss using everyday services; exemplifying best practice to improve service provision and help make their services more inclusive.

Central to the success of the training resource is behaviour change. To meet the learning objectives of this project, we knew that the online resource had to make genuine and relevant connections with service providers.

In this blog, I’ve used SEP’s online training resource as an example of how E-Learning can be used to create behavioural change, not just knowledge retention.

At Aurion, we believe the key to creating behavioural change through E-Learning is to ensure participants:

 

  1. Understand,
  2. Memorise and
  3. Are motivated to take action

 

Understanding

The creation of great E-Learning hinges on the creator’s ability to identify knowledge gaps and find a way to present content clearly to the learner. A part of this process lies in the identification of functions that aren’t happening the way you would like them to. In the example of the SEP online toolkit, the best people to highlight these knowledge gaps were individuals who were blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing as it demonstrated their personal experiences using everyday services, making it more authentic and pertinent.

Picture: Michael Cooper

Discussing the tangible benefits of the online training resource

Once these knowledge gaps have been identified, the challenge lies in finding the best format you can use to convey the information. Content delivery should never mean the regurgitation of large pieces of information and compliance documents but instead the delivery of small amounts of information in an accessible way.

In the creation of the online toolkit for SEP, it was important for us to ensure accessibility both practically and instructionally. Instructionally speaking, there are a few points to consider when presenting learning content:

  • you must ensure that learning content is broken into bite-sized pieces and
  • is in an easily readable format and presented in a logical order.

On a practical note, we wanted to ensure that the programme would be accessible to individuals with visual impairments and therefore chose highly contrasting colours for the background and fonts.

Memorising

Persuasive Information Delivery ensures that content is communicated in a way that resonates with the learner. It is paramount that information delivery is gripping and encapsulates learning in a way that makes it easy to remember.

Interactivity is key, learning becomes memorable when it captures the interests, minds and imaginations of learners. This means that the goal is to present information in a way that is refreshing and creative, utilising all of the resources at your disposal and may look like the use of images, videos, storytelling, problem-posing and real life examples.

Through the online Sensory Engagement toolkit, our intention was to use real life instances, stories and individuals to make learners see mundane, everyday interactions in a new light. By introducing individuals and allowing them to share their experiences and emotional responses, we were able to appeal to the learner in a manner that was beyond just knowledge retention.

Far beyond just sitting down and memorising a set of rules or policies on how to approach an individual with a hearing or sight impairment, the online learning toolkit for SEP presents learners with a problem or situation that they must learn how to deal with. Situations like these are far more memorable than a set of rules.

Motivation

For example, a child may have been shown how to wash his hands; he may have even practiced it with his parents on a number of occasions but repeatedly fails to do it when left to his own devices. This is because he lacks the motivation. Learners are similar – it is important to build into your e-learning the reasoning of why it matters in the real world or learners will fail to apply newfound knowledge in everyday life.

It’s important to bring out actions and consequences. We applied the strategy of authentic learning or ‘real-world scenarios’ as our main approach as it is a very effective tool for learning and driving behavioural change.

Picture: Michael Cooper

Gavin Woods from Aurion Learning and Stephanie O’Kane from RNIB at launch of Sensory Engagement Programme online toolkit

Through the use of short films and storytelling, the learning content for SEP contained the motivation for learners to change their behaviour the next time they find themselves interacting with an individual with a hearing and visual impairment.

We were really pleased to get to work alongside four of the largest organisations who provide support and advocacy services for people with sight and hearing loss across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; the Royal National Institute of Blind People Northern Ireland (RNIB NI), Action on Hearing LossNational Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) and DeafHear.

Our hope is that this free, online toolkit will make it possible for service providers across Ireland to provide basic Deaf and Visual Awareness training for their staff. With easily downloadable resources, engaging stories and bite-sized learning content, the toolkit promises not just to create more head knowledge but instead create awareness for staff working in service providers to not only know, but to do something with what they know and ultimately change the lives of those living with sensory difficulties.

The SEP online training toolkit was launched in Derry-Londonderry on 21 October, 2013. We will continue to work with the partners to monitor and assess the impact that it has had on both organisations and those with hearing difficulties.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.