Student Story: Milica Atanackovic
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Could you tell me a bit about yourself and your current career?
I currently work for an organization called Early Childhood Ireland. Before that I lived and worked in Australia for ten years and I worked in the space of early childhood education and care. I worked across all different levels of service provision, from an educator to managing services and then to delivering kind of training and professional learning to educators for the last six years. I moved back to Ireland about six years ago from Australia.
I’ve been working for early childhood Ireland. We’re a leading children’s advocacy and membership organization, and we strive to work in partnership with our members to achieve quality experiences for children in early years and school age care settings. My work within Early Childhood Ireland is really across the professional learning side of the house.
We’ve actually just recently done a restructuring within our organization, so I now work in the member excellence and learning team. I’m the manager of that team. We head up a team of eight colleagues and again just really focused on the professional learning resources that we produce for our organization. We’d be a core point for our members where we give them support in terms of the provision of early childhood education and care that they’re providing on a daily basis.
What would have been one of your drivers to do the course?
When I started to look at courses that I could do, I was really drawn to the Digital Learning Institute because of how the course is structured. I have a really busy role and I needed a course that could work with me, but also that I could use very practically.
I found that it really enhanced my work as well, because not only was I studying and learning more, I was able to apply that to projects that I was working on. It was such a driver to really have to grow to learn more. It really kind of built my confidence, but actually helped me keeping on wanting to learn and keeping me looped into what is happening in the space of digital learning and also how we need to be so cognizant of how things are moving and changing so quickly.
What do you think the impact of doing the course and working with the Digital Learning Institute has been for you?
The impact for me has actually meant that it’s really driven organisational thinking and changes in relation to how were approaching the professional learning that we are considering and thinking about for our members and I think that’s been really evident over the last number of months.
We have been developing our strategic plan and part of that has been to really work on our learning strategy. The course has given me a really solid foundation to work on and build on. I’m absolutely not going to say I’m an expert, but the course has absolutely given me huge confidence and actually really encouraged me to keep on exploring thus space and to keep in this space.
How do you think Early Childhood Ireland have benefited from you having completed the course?
I think they’ve benefited hugely. I have used opportunities through meetings and through sessions with other colleagues to go through some of that learning that I have garnered and gained. I use it as an opportunity through our project planning. I think colleagues have really gained more of an understanding and it’s encouraged them, some to actually consider going on and gaining their diploma themselves in the area, hopefully in the next number of months or next year.
Why did you chose the Digital Learning Institute?
I chose the Digital Learning Institute because firstly as a course, it definitely was going to be achievable in terms of my working week and just in terms of how I need to balance and manage my time. How the course was structured definitely lends itself to someone who’s busy and working, but also someone who’s interested in learning on the job. I found the way the assignments were structured and set up really allowed me to apply the course into practice. You’re learning theory, but you’re able to apply that then to your current role in your current work.
I just felt from other research I’ve carried out into other courses, that the Digital Learning institute really understood how to develop and support a learner going through the course who has some knowledge in that space, but maybe doesn’t have a lot.
Is there one thing that you thought you got the most value from?
I think in lots of ways, I got the most value from the toolkits. The way the modules were structured, there was really great opportunities to delve further into learning through the toolkits that were provided towards the end of each module. I’ve actually gone on to use a lot of the resources in projects that I’ve been developing or scoping out, so that’s been really helpful.
I also really enjoyed the connections with others on the course and the opportunities to talk about the module that we were learning about. Also when I did the course, there was really great webinars that were organised that I still refer to and still have notes that I took that I go back to because I find them so beneficial and useful.
What would you tell someone who was in two minds about taking the course?
I’d say absolutely go on the course. I think you’ll get so much from it because as a Digital Learning Institute, the course is developed in a way that’s so engaging! It really supports whatever type of learner you are and how you learn.
The assignments are actually so enjoyable because you can make them so practical and link them into your current position or your work. The course is only going to develop your skill set and your expertise professionally.
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