Get to know the eLN Director: Jason Baker

Jason Baker is Director of Learning Product Design & Innovation for global Integrated Risk Management solutions provider SAI Global. He has over 20 years of experience in the design and development of effective digital learning experiences and today helps organisations manage their ‘people-risk’ through impactful learning programmes and campaigns that deliver measurable behaviour and culture change. Jason has been a member of the eLN for six years and is in his second year as a director.

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

I love the talented and inspiring people that I get to meet and work with within our digital learning community. Tools, technologies and methodologies are changing rapidly as the need for digital learning evolves and grows, so I love how we’re all continually learning from each other.

What made you decide to stand for the eLN board?

I’ve been on the fringes of the eLN for many years and have always enjoyed and found great value in the eLN CONNECT conference. I chose to stand for the board as I wanted to give something back to a community that has supported my own digital learning journey.

What would your dream job be?

Assuming that my chances of being an international rock guitar god, Olympic skier or Tour de France cyclist have long since passed, I’d be quite happy to be an indie music producer, discovering and nurturing some cool new bands.

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

Do I only get one? I think most of all I’d like to see an acceleration in the fundamental shift towards ‘substance’ over ‘form’. In other words, I’d like to see many more learning projects initiated with a very clear idea of the business impact they need to achieve, and then designed and implemented to measurably achieve it. We need to leave far behind the days of building pretty learning courses “on a topic” and measuring them on consumption, rather than on whether they actually made the desired difference.

What does a typical workday look like to you?

Working with a US-based team from the UK, I usually have my mornings to myself, so that’s when I can get my head down to imagine, create, design and define as I work on new POC or MVP projects. My afternoons, and sometimes my evenings too, are usually spent on video calls working with my team.

What book are you reading right now?

I wish I had more time for books, but I do have a soft spot for history. The Floating Brothel by Siân Rees is a fascinating story of the journey of the first female convicts sent to Australia just a year after the first fleet.

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

I’ve been designing digital learning experiences for over 20 years, using all sorts of different tools and technologies, but most of all I’ve enjoyed building simulations. Providing learners with opportunities for safe practice by applying situational judgement in relevant and credible scenarios can be a hugely valuable part of a learning experience and helps shift an experience from ‘knowledge’ to ‘performance’. My focus today, however, is very much on data and analytics and the capture of meaningful data from learning experiences to generate actionable insights, which is fascinating.

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

Trust your instincts, be confident and back yourself. But most of all engage with the digital learning community whenever you can. They’re lovely people and you’ll learn a lot!

What has been your proudest moment?

My first Gold eLearning Award is certainly high on the professional side of things, but aside from my great pride in my wonderful family, cycling 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles on the AIDS/Lifecycle charity event is definitely up there.

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

I certainly wouldn’t mind going back to the 60s/70s to catch some of the greats in concert; Hendrix, Zeppelin and the rest…

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

That would have to be the power to fly. I wouldn’t be a very good super-hero, as I’d be too busy flying around exploring new places!

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

The Dalai Llama always seems like a good laugh, but I’d have a few 18th century explorers and mad Victorian adventurers along too. Imagine the stories they could tell…

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

Probably becoming a dad. If bravery is overcoming fear of the unknown, little can prepare you for parenthood. You just need to grit your teeth, strap in and enjoy the ride.

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

A good hat, my guitar, and a few cases of good wine. What more could you need?

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

I’m not really much of an adventurous eater. I tried durian (a weird fruit) once – let’s just say it’s an acquired taste…

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

Perfect job for sure. Have you ever seen a truly happy lottery winner? I would feel bad knowing I’d done nothing to earn the cash aside from being a lucky so and so. I’d much rather get paid to do my hobby.

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

Tea!

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