Get to know the eLN Director: Gemma Wells

Hi my name is Gemma, I have worked in Learning and Development for just over 9 years now. I started in the world of Training delivery then moved into the world of design. I am self-taught in the world of digital design and I am always looking for new ways of developing content and different ways of delivering key messages to learners. 

I am currently a Digital Design Manager for an Insurance company – which involves making financial training content engaging and easy to understand for our learners.

Gemma has been a member of the eLN for 8 years and a director for nearly 2 years!

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

I love being creative and looking for new ways to help a colleague learn or to understand their role more. Learning and Development allows us to look at the bigger picture and think about ways to engage people with learning.

What made you decide to stand for the eLN board? 

I decided to stand for the board after being mentored by John Hinchcliffe, I attended several eLN events and also helped to set up some social events in Manchester. From there I got the bug to help promote the eLN to anyone I knew in the L&D world as I had learnt so much in such a short space of time. I wanted to help organise events that would help people like me learn as in the field of Digital there were not a lot of places to turn to that didn’t cost the earth. I loved what the eLN had created and wanted to help build on this! I applied for the board in 2017 but wasn’t successful but after attending more events and getting involved in socials I applied again in 2018 and the rest is history!

What would your dream job be?

My dream job would be to create digital learning for schools – mainly primary schools so I can create fun characters and games!

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

I think the one thing I would change would be the limitations on qualifications for the digital arm of L&D – I don’t think there are enough courses/qualifications that are recognised or easily accessible.

What does a typical work day look like to you?

To be fair there is no typical day for me! My role involves me managing our LMS on a daily basis (we are currently migrating all our users across several businesses on to one platform!) responding to learning requests and looking at the best way to deliver these. Liaising with the wider group on mandatory learning and the schedule for this. Checking in with my team to keep them updated on what design is being worked on and also trying to keep up to date with anything new that comes out in the world of L&D to see if it will benefit us. I also like to keep up to date with the eLN board and now that the current situation with Covid is calming down I am looking at how I can get more involved in what we are delivering to our members!

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

The current book I am reading is “Battle Scars: A story of war and all that follows” by Jason Fox from the SAS – it gives an insight into dealing with mental health and the consequences of dealing with war. Podcast wise I have been listening to Off menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster – they invite special guests into their fake restaurant to choose their fave starter, main, side dish, dessert and drink – they ultimately create their dream meal! Its very funny. I also sometimes listen to Humans of XS Manchester which allows some of the legends of Manchester to share their incredible stories with one of my fave DJ’s Clint Boon.

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

My Favourite type of training to build are micro courses on a specific topic such as how to do something in excel – we create a short how to video with an expert in the topic and I get to edit and make it look “pretty” it’s a quick hit of learning and I often get to learn something new from the topic too! I also like to create animated videos using Vyond as I can be so creative in the tool and bring scenarios to life for learners.

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

Trust your gut! The amount of times I have ignored my gut instinct when designing a piece of learning is crazy – if you think something is too out there when you are designing – try it with the SME you never know they may just love it!

What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment will be when me and my colleague won Gold at the Learning Technologies awards in 2015. We had worked so hard on a project and to present what we had created to a team of experts was exhilarating and nerve wracking! But to hear your name when they called out the award for Gold was amazing! I even got to meet Phil Jupitus (and I squeezed his bum too!).

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

Easy – the ability to fly! Cheap holidays anyone! 

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

Love this question! I would love to share a meal with: 

Winston Churchill – he is such an interesting character and the speeches he gave were full of hope – I would love to learn how to speak like that! 
Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers (my favourite band) – I have loved the chilis for years now and to just be in his presence would be so exciting! 
The Queen – she will have some stories to tell – she has lived such a life and met so many amazing people in her lifetime! 
Dwayne Johnson (AKA The Rock!) – when I was younger I used to love the wrestling and have been to see it live in both the UK and America but never got to see him – he seems like a nice guy and he could show me some wrestling moves!!! 

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

Done an abseil from the roof of old Trafford Football ground for charity – I am terrified of heights!

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

Music – I love music and it helps me to relax and focus when I need to so I reckon it would keep me calm! 

A selection of books – with 3 kids and a busy job I don’t often get the chance to chill with a good book so have a ton I want to read! I reckon with the quiet of the island I could do that! 

Crisps and dip – I live for this snack!!!! 

Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? 

Oooh that’s a tough one!!! I think I would want the perfect job – I don’t think I could hack all that money and the trouble it can cause – if you are in the perfect job you should be making a good wage so that covers the money and you will be doing something you love! 

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

As cheesy as it sounds my family – I am lucky to have 3 gorgeous if not slightly crazy kids and a very patient and loving husband! I couldn’t have got through half the things we have without them! 

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