Student Story: Pamela Atzori – Senior Professional Services Consultant at Turnitin
What do you do? Who do you work for at the moment and what’s involved?
So I work for Turnitin which is EdTech company and I what I do is I’m a senior consultant who specialises in implementation and training to customers. We are talking about internal customers which are my colleagues essentially as well as external clients which include schools, universities, external funding boards even government bodies, anything that involves education which every company has some sort of involvement in education.
Before doing the course what was the prompt or was there a situation or a pain point that you thought right I need to do something now to overcome this! What was the catalyst?
So I’ve been training in this company for 5 years now and I was a teacher before, so what we did basically as trainers we used to create PowerPoints and google docs for specifications in order to keep in mind what we wanted to get out of these courses for our clients.
But obviously especially in the last year and a half its become clearer and clearer that the PowerPoint and the google doc specification is not enough. We need to have a much more valid way of sharing content with our customers and we need a platform where some of them can perhaps go through a process of self-implementation as well.
I’ve always been interested in teaching and education and the company offers good opportunities for professional development and they pay for courses to improve your career. So I thought it would be a good thing for me because the team needed it as well to find a way of getting the knowledge to start creating these courses and these modules in a more professional way and also because we didn’t have a platform where we could host any courses.
I was looking as well for courses where I could learn what platforms do and what kind of platforms are there, what kind of training courses and theories around these courses exist and that we could use for our own purposes. So when I looked around a little bit and I researched and found that the Digital Learning Institute, a very good course that was accredited by Glasgow University as well. I then pitched it to my bosses and they approved it straight away.
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Why did you leave teaching to go into corporate?
So it was by accident really, so I moved from an area of UK from Wales into the North East of England because my husband found a job here and I was still developing a teaching career when we moved here and I found it harder perhaps because of the panic of the moment as well to get into teaching again.
So I thought I could use my teaching experience elsewhere and so it happened, I stumbled into admin roles and ended up here at Turnitin first as a sales consultant and then as trainer.
I have no regrets making the move, I loved teaching, and I think now for me especially now that I’m in a training team, I love the fact that I’m pursuing the same type of career with different people with a different purpose of course because it was still trying to promote the idea that education was fundamental for everyone in terms of careers, life, expectations. So for me it’s a way for me to still get in touch with people and sharing information and still doing what I like best which is talking I suppose.
So before in your role there was no real training structure is that fair to say?
Ye I would say definitely the company decided to create a training and implementation team but didn’t really having anything in place to show us what we could do with these roles. They just kind of told us we are going to start selling training sessions just deal with it basically.
Probably at the beginning it was seen as ok your just doing product walkthroughs so you don’t need to know that much. But actually it turns out more and more people want more precise organisation of courses, the correct information and they want it formatted in a modern way that’s pleasing to the eye, that encourages them to perhaps stop and go with their learning and obviously it was clear that the live webinars that we do were good to a degree but we needed to do something else that would also make us more competitive with our training offers.
Why did you pick the Digital Learning Institute and how did you come across us?
First I started with just a random search and then I saw many reviews for digital learning and the Digital Learning Institute and it seemed very positive. I then I navigated the website and the website has a lot of information on the accreditation, on the modules that would be taught in the course and I thought they fitted perfectly in what I thought the aims were for the course I was looking for and what the company needed too from me once I was finished with the Diploma.
How did you find the course while you were completing it?
I found it very interesting first of all. I was great to read all the interesting and different types of theories, processes and different offerings in training like virtual reality, immersive reality. All of that really made me feel like I was getting the knowledge that I needed to become a real education in the EdTech sector because I think previously I felt like more of someone who is repeating the same process over and over without really knowing or without really working on real objectives for people for the sessions. I wouldn’t say amateurish but not quite right for what educators expect nowadays, they expect professionalism and they expect the knowledge to come from a much deeper place than what I had.
The last time I trained as a trainer was when I did my post graduate certificate in education and that was in 2005 so it was a long time since I saw and read about theories and development in training. So for me that was definitely an opener and also something that gave me enthusiasm as well that I was learning new things and I could implement them so that was really good.
Another thing was that I found them challenging. I found the assignments very useful as well because they forced me to read more about these theories and to make up my mind too of what kind of learning I want to implement for my clients, internal and external. For me that was very important, the fact that I was pushed out of my comfort zone to learn more about something I already love to then try to move on from the past and traditional old fashioned ways of teaching into more contemporary ways of thinking about training and implementation.
I like especially the last two assignments when I had the chance to create a script and a scenario and then it came and I could do a little video. You know all things I normally wouldn’t even think about, just sit down do the training, answer any questions. But here gave me ideas on how I could do things differently and I learn different things like editing videos as well as using articulate 360 and creating a whole module in there which was really good because I never had the option to do that before.
So I found it challenging but absolutely rewarding at the same time!
What have been the biggest benefits you’ve seen after doing the course?
The company has now decided to create a group of work where we actually started to develop new ideas for new modules, and these modules will be developed into a platform. My team leader managed to get articulate 360 as well so that’s the first time we’ve had a platform to host any modules and a group of colleagues had already something in place that they transferred to articulate.
So the next step obviously is to develop the new ideas we are working on and there are several. They are product based at the moment, they aren’t holistic but the plan is to move to holistic at some point in the future. But the idea is to create maybe to create at least 20 different types of product based modules for one course in order to guide people to self-implementation.
So that’s what we are working on at the moment, and before it’s not something I could have participated for sure and now instead I’m able to work alongside someone else who is actually a digital learning specialist whose just been hired and help basically to create these new assessments and modules.
So I think now the company is moving more and more towards having a very highly specialised group of people to create digital recourses and that where I come in and the course comes in. It validates what I say, what my plans are and what their plans are.
There is a higher level of trust now that I’ve got this qualification because it obviously tells people I’ve done a course and its accredited by two very respectable institutes, the Digital Learning Institute and the Glasgow Caledonian University.
Now I can have a say as well because I have knowledge that before I couldn’t find in my head and now I have it because I’ve done the course. So I think both for the company and myself now it’s more of a process that can go a lot quicker and smoother than it would’ve before if I didn’t do the course.
Would you recommend the Digital Learning Institute to people interested in learning more about digital learning and instructional design?
I would definitely recommend the institute, because for me I could see it as a group of people who are very passionate about education and have created a course that’s tailored around training, its tailored around people who want to improve their careers. Not just as learning designers but anyone in education or want to change careers.