4 May

Student Story: Sallie Melton

Tell us about you and your career

I’m Sally Melton and I am an Educator at East Riding of Yorkshire Council. I’ve worked for local authorities for over 20 years now and have been a Learning Development officer since I’ve started working for the council, with my background in IT training. And then about Christmas time this year, I actually got a promotion, which I do believe was on the back of doing the Professional Certificate in Instructional Design with the Digital Learning Institute.

I initially came from an IT training background, but then I got involved with many other things such as soft skills training, management training etc. And then I wrote my first piece of eLearning in 2007, but I’ve been dipping in and out of eLearning for 15 years, maybe longer.

Before joining Digital Learning Institute, what sort of projects were you working on?

I’ve always been involved in lots of classroom delivery. In 2007 when they were looking for someone to write eLearning for us, people assumed that because I was good with a computer, I could do it. So I kind of got put into that the role by default. eLearning has always been a part of my role, so I did both routine and project work.

When lockdown hit, I was working from home and obviously there was a halt with classroom delivery, so there was a huge need for online learning. And that’s kind of how I got much more into the role, leading to a full-time role. So for two years I’ve been doing eLearning, it is challenging, but I absolutely love doing the job. And again, I got a promotion just around Christmas time where I was up against other candidates, and yes, I have my experience but I’m certain it was also because I had the Certificate to back me up.

What were the key drivers for you to advance your career?

I’ve always been quite interested in eLearning, in 2001 I was reading articles about rules of eLearning, so it’s been around an awful long time. And in 2007 I was given my first project to work on which I really enjoyed and wanted to pursue it further but there didn’t seem to be any accredited courses to put on my CV & backup my knowledge. I didn’t just want to say I’ve done a two-day course, and this is what I’ve achieved. I wanted something that was accredited to a university & gave me a bit more credence, and I really struggled to find somewhere for a long time. I’d found a Masters, but it was extremely expensive & beyond what I wanted to do at that time.

Then 18 months ago, I had looked online again as I was given the more full-time role and then I came across the Digital Learning Institute’s Certification course, which my boss approved me to do. And I’m really glad I did it.

You got a promotion! Tell us more

I’m convinced that I got the promotion because of this course. During the course I was already learning things and putting them into place in my role at work. A new job was then advertised out to the wide world for a full-time position. So I was up against other candidates and even with my experience, it’s never guaranteed you’ll get the job, as they will quite happily give the job to the right person.

As part of the interview process, I had to do a presentation where I used a lot of documentation that was provided as part of the DLI certificate course, which I adapted to our needs. Which certainly gave me some structure that I didn’t have before. I was looking for a course that would provide me with models, structure, and documentation to use, and I found all that with DLI. I feel I got the job because of my experience but also because I could talk to them confidently about processes and models, which I could never have done before. It really cemented my knowledge and gave me that structure I was lacking before.

How has completing the Professional Certificate in Instructional Design, benefited you?

I would work with SMEs prior to the certificate who had this expectation that because I was the person doing the eLearning, that I was also the expert. But I’m not an expert, just a girl who did eLearning now and again. So once I’d gone through the course, I was able to use things like the ADDIE model. It gave me confidence while working with SMEs and just generally helped me feel more confident about the actual role. I think I suffered from a bit of imposter syndrome before, because I didn’t really know what I was doing. Nobody was complaining, but personally I felt like I just wasn’t doing it properly. But now with the documents and structure given by DLI, I’m a lot more confident.

I also love that I can still go back to people at DLI for support and help. I’ve contacted John Kilroy, CEO of DLI, quite regularly and I always get great support from everybody there. I’ve worked with other training organisations who only support you until you finish their course and then you’re on your own, where I’ve not found that with DLI.

What do the next 12 months look like for you?

After I finished the certificate, I asked my manager if I could do the diploma which I was really keen to do, and I’m really enjoying it. Once I’ve completed the Professional Diploma in Digital Learning Design, I would like to go on to do something more advanced, possibly degree or masters level. I’m also very interested in the graphics side, and we don’t have any graphic designers that work for us directly. So I think I’d like to do some of that too, so we can design our own graphics.

We’re looking at building our team as well because currently it’s just myself, meaning I have a lot of different hats that I take on and off, so we’re looking at getting someone to support. And that’s quite an exciting prospect, finally, after all those years.

I like the idea of being an instructional designer, as I love the creative side of things. Ultimately, it’s quite nice to now just concentrate on developing the actual learning itself and then handing over to someone else to do the authoring. I think with the job market these days as well, it’s so much more flexible, there’s possibilities of moving on elsewhere and doing something else for another organisation maybe in the future.

What would you say about the DLI courses to someone reading this today?

I would say to just do it, even if you’re on the fence, because for me, the DLI have been a very supportive organisation. I still get support from them to this day. The 5 or 6 months in between the end of my Certificate course and the start of the Diploma, where I needed support, they were there for me all the time.

I think cost wise it’s very, very reasonable and you’ve got that accreditation so it’s a robust qualification and it’s very well organised is easily accessible.

And I think as well, while the market is as buoyant as it is, there’s loads of job opportunities out there. I don’t know if I’m right about this, but I think up until now, you rarely saw a job advertised which asked for any qualifications particularly in instructional design, but I think that’ll change. I think the more qualified people that are out there, the more they’re going to want those qualified people. And if you don’t do it, then you won’t be one of those qualified people. So that that would be my advice. Just do it!