Student Stories

Student Story: Deirdre Keary

03 May

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Student Story: Deirdre Keary

Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?

I work in a company based in the west of Ireland, part of a larger multinational organisation. I’ve actually worked in that sort of space for over 20 years in the learning and development profession. 

I focus on helping people progress and develop in their careers within the company. I guess my day to day activities can involve anything from coaching people, mentoring people, sourcing courses to enhance their skills and knowledge and make them excel in their organisation. A combination of both initiatives both face to face and now onto that more digital learning space. So that’s a bit about who I am and where I work. 

What was the motivation behind doing the Diploma with the Digital Learning Institute?

I’ve been in the learning and development space for the past 20 years and over those years I’ve seen it evolve. I took the course for my own personal learning and to bring me up to speed on some of the training practices and technology enhancements over the last number of years particularly since covid. 

I guess I came from a very traditional learning and development, it was face to face, one to one type of support. So I felt I needed to more aware of how digital learning can enhance the offerings within the organisation whether small or large. 

Coming back to my own personal motivation standpoint, within my current organisation there are a lot of what we refer to as corporate resources.  Since it’s a large multinational organisation so we have access a whole team that can work with you on designing digital learning experiences. But that can take time, there was a lot of planning and timeframes if you wanted to do something so couldn’t do it quite quick yourself so that was part of the reason I wanted to explore the platforms. To see what I could do myself and what I would have the courage to do myself because I’m not coming from a very digitally skilled background. 

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Do you have previous qualifications or experience before the DLI?

Ye, so I would have done some third level qualifications in this space and some subsequent diplomas but in terms of the whole digital learning space, it’s not anything I would’ve been familiar with. So I lacked confidence in that space. I’m not very tech savvy as I didn’t grow up with all of that so for me it put myself outside my comfort zone and made me more comfortable with the technologies. 

I felt I needed to understand it more. A lot of the content, theories and methodologies I probably did hear of that throughout the years through different things like reading and other courses but it was fantastic that it was all brought together from start to finish. The complete process, the idea, the design right the way through to evaluation so that was really beneficial. It’s not a one stop shop where one course will give you this and another that, it was altogether and very comprehensive.

How did you discover the Digital Learning Institute and why did you pick us?

It was two years ago, right in the middle of the whole covid situation when we were all working from home and trying to figure out things. 

There was a two day introduction programme that DLI rolled out back then which I did and then I thought I need to do more and took it that step further. 

How did you find the course?

When I had my feedback session with Eva I really complemented the design of the course and the support, I couldn’t credit the team enough for the support throughout. Just the whole structure of the programme, it gave me ideas for programmes that I could potentially put together within my organisation. The mix was great.. the live sessions, there was no pressure to attend the live sessions you could always play them back in your own time. 

The support again, you could check in once a week if you had any questions or problems. I couldn’t fault any of it, I can’t see any area where you could enhance it better. It just seemed to really work. 

In terms of a work life balance, it was ideal for someone like myself who works full time, family commitments & other commitments so I was able to slot it into all of that because you know it was at your own pace and I suppose there was the element where you could put in as much or as little effort to some degree too. There was some days I put chunks of work into it and others I just dispersed it. 

I just really thought the whole package was great, especially the support that was brilliant. No question was too big or too small, whoever I reached out to whether it was Marc or Eva they were very responsive. 

What has been the biggest impact the course has had on your day to day work life?

I’ve noticed one of the things in myself was a bit more confidence around trying out new platforms, new applications. I haven’t rolled out anything just yet because it’s only been two months but playing around with the platforms we got access to. 

In the organisation I work in we do have a team that can do all this for us but if I wanted to do something quick myself I have that capability at my fingertips. Having that more awareness of the learners experience in virtual sessions, they may only be 10-15 minutes but trying to make them more interactive, where you can follow up with them and also give them resources.

Do you have any upcoming projects that the diploma is going to help you do something different? Something you might not have done pre diploma?

There is a programme that we have to enhance for our people management program, I’ll definitely be able to take the learnings from that and apply them to it. Even as I said before the methodology itself is something I can hold onto and apply to programmes.

Would you encourage people to do the diploma with the DLI?

I would definitely recommend it. I’m not tech savvy and I wouldn’t see it as my strength but now I definitely have more confidence now that I’ve done the course. It was a very one stop shop and comprehensible. Everything was there for you, new content and refreshers so I would definitely recommend it. Not just from a content point of view, equally the support throughout it was fantastic.