Get to know eLN Director: Luke Merrick

My career began in a high school in Cape Town, South Africa before I traded hemispheres and sectors to help build and establish an EdTech start-up in Scotland.

After more than 10 years’ experience in the worlds of education and eLearning, as well as an M.A. in language education, I now work as the Head of Learning Design at Junction-18 in Glasgow, where I ensure that every solution we design and create is as effective and impactful as possible.

I have been a member of the eLN for 5 years and a director for one year.

What do you like most about the L&D field?

The potential to make people’s worlds better. Genuinely impactful training and resources help people enjoy and do their jobs better – and this makes a huge difference to my personal happiness and wellbeing.

What made you decide to stand for the eLN board?

The eLN has helped me grow as a professional through mentoring, events, and relationships. I want to help this community do the same for current and future industry leaders.

What would your dream job be?

Professional coffee drinker.

If you could change 1 thing about the world of L&D, what would it be?

For everyone to understand that simply delivering content in one form or another does not equal learning – you need so much more than that!

What does a typical work day look like to you?

06:15-0800: Workout > shower > get dressed, then feed and clothe my four kids and caffeinate my wife and myself with freshly pulled espressos.

08:00: Slap on my headphones and head out for my ‘commute’ – a short walk through the fields by my house while listening to music, praying, and meditating.

08:30: Log in and get started!

Mornings: Various internal meetings and work on projects.

Afternoons: Client meetings and work on projects.

Evenings: Play > dinner > bath > bed with the kids, then collapse on the couch!

What book are you reading right now? Or what podcast are you listening to?

Here are a few I listen to regularly: Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, Your Parenting Mojo, WeCrashed: The Rise And Fall Of WeWork, Exploring Series With Shawn Bolz, to name just a few.

Books? Nothing high-brow or impressive at all! It’s all purely for my own entertainment.

I’ve been reading an urban fantasy series called ‘The King’s Watch’ by Mark Hayden. It’s basically about an RAF war veteran and bad-ass who stumbles into the world of magic. It’s as low-brow as it sounds but fun to read.

What is your favourite type of training to either build or deliver and why?

Any project where the client understands the value of meeting learners’ needs.

These are the projects where we get to design the most impactful solutions that provide valuable resources to the learner, but which also help them practise performing the very actions they need to do at work, through simulations, scenarios, and other experiential activities.

I also love it when we get to weave a narrative through an entire course – you can create such an immersive experience for the learner that way!

If you could give yourself advice when you were first starting out, what would it be?

Join the eLN immediately and make friends with more experienced people.

If you regularly get home from work feeling stressed and unhappy because of work, look for a new job.

You are in charge of setting up the healthy work/life habits that will sustain you and your family for the rest of your life. Your boss/clients will obliviously run you to burn-out if you don’t.

Under-paid = under respected; know your true market worth and find somewhere that recognises this.

What has been your proudest moment?

Professional:

Helping the EdTech start-up I joined reach a turnover of £1 million.

Getting shortlisted for a Learning Technologies award one year after joining the industry (we didn’t win, though).

Obtaining my Master’s degree.

Joining Junction-18 as Head of Learning Design

Personal:

Marrying my best friend.

The birth of each of my four kids.

Renovating a crappy old house into a lovely home.

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?

1998 to watch the NBA finals where the Chicago Bulls beat Utah Jazz 4 games to 2.

If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?

Flying – it would be a much more interesting form of exercise than running.

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

Michael Jordan for his incredible drive and elite mentality, Desmond Tutu for his wisdom and cheekiness, Jim Gaffigan for a fun evening, and Michael Schur to ask him about the multiple amazing shows he’s created.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Moved to South Africa for a year aged 18 without knowing anyone there.

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island and why?

Stranded on a desert island: a guidebook, a good folding knife, and a battery-powered long-range radio.

On an island for a holiday: my Kindle, whisky and a paddleboard.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

Fried Mopane worms – crunchy but also squishy.

Fried crickets – very crunchy and surprisingly palatable.

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