As we kick off the back-to-school season, we engaged with six professionals on our digital content teams. Together these individuals are responsible for shaping the content that fuels learners' success on our diverse range of learning platforms. Janine B., Ryan C., Alex K., Jack P., Lisa P. and Courtney T. have a combined 82 years of experience working at Cengage Group, bringing a wealth of experience and commitment to their roles. They are dedicated to staying ahead of the curve, continuously seeking innovative ways to enhance the learning experience that empowers learners to reach their full potential.
Excitement Around the 2023 Back to School Season
With the 2023 back-to-school season upon us, Jack, Creative Director, shared that he is excited about the number of previously static elements that have been turned into interactive assets that enhance the digital experience of instructors and students and support learning objectives. “A great example is a collection of over 30 timelines completely redesigned and delivered as fully accessible HTML-based interactive timelines for history programs.”
“The back-to-school season isn’t just a time for kiddos to jump back into learning; it’s an opportunity for regular folks to draw inspiration from their kids and remember that we’re all lifelong learners. Whether you’ve been holding off on acquiring a certification, tackling a new software, or indulging a passion project – now’s the time for everyone to upskill,” says Ryan, Instructional Designer.
Alex is excited to see the new products that her team built get in the hands of students and educators. “The Fall season also represents a busy time for my team as we get started on the development of our next cycle of products.”
Lisa says that she is full of energy and anticipation, “this time of year represents an opportunity for students, educators, and educational institutions to embrace new technologies and approaches to learning. As technology advances, more innovative tools and resources will be available to enhance the educational experience. It is an exciting time to witness the evolution of education and the positive impact it can have on students' lives.”
This school year, Janine is particularly motivated as “many classrooms around the world are using our new secondary program, Lift. With the new digital tools for this program (and other programs on Spark) teachers will be able to generate reports for our online practice and assessment that will better inform them how students are progressing. I am very excited to hear customers’ feedback on this.”
Our ELT teams have a unique vantage point around “back-to-school as Courtney shares: “ELT gets to experience numerous back-to-school seasons throughout the year thanks to the global reach of our products. Our marketing team is great about sharing the excitement of students and the big wins from around the world.”
Advice for Learners
Jack’s biggest advice to students is to “put in effort early to develop a healthy equilibrium between yourself and your work (even if you love it)! As a creative the cycle of concepting, critique, failure and revision is a huge part of the process that I drive. To avoid emotional burnout, we have to hone our skills to receive constructive criticism of our work, and understand the criticism is about a specific solution, not about ourselves or our ability to solve the problem.”
Alex advises learners to “never underestimate the power of asking questions. It can fuel your learning, help you connect with teacher and peers, overcome challenges and foster critical thinking. Keep asking, keep exploring, and keep learning!” Courtney shares a similar piece of advice, saying “no one knows all the answers, but you can usually get the information you need, or it will at least lead you to another question to ask.”
Ryan says that for those considering taking an Infosec training course, he adds “upskilling can be fun, engaging, and inciting. Tenets my team keeps in mind from the first written word to the final frame of a video: don’t hold off! The best time to start an Infosec training was yesterday. The second-best time is today.”
For anyone considering reskilling or upskilling with an ed2go course, Lisa advises “taking the leap without hesitation. Start out by assessing your goals and interests. Research our course offerings, read reviews from previous learners, and ensure that the course aligns with your desired outcomes. Finally, staying engaged and actively participating in discussions and activities will maximize the benefits of your online learning experience.”
Janine says that for teachers who are just starting to teach English, “even if you have been teaching for years, look at the teacher’s book; there are so many great ideas that will inspire your lessons.” For students who are just starting to learn English, Janine says that “some people are nervous about speaking when they are first learning a language. Use the online speaking practice tools to become more comfortable with oral language. It’s so easy and you can practice an activity again and again until you feel comfortable.”
Jack has worked here for 20 years and has held many titles including Production Editor, Art Director, Senior Art Director, Managing Art Director, and presently, Creative Director. “Each step of the way I’ve been able to use my education and experience in graphic and media design to advocate for the creative process and help deliver outstanding solutions to customers. The technology we use in Creative Studio is always evolving, so it’s important to make it clear that ongoing professional development is critical for our success. I enjoy empowering the team with the tools and support they need to elevate the work.” Alex shares similar thoughts, saying “one of the most rewarding parts of by job is coaching individuals to achieve their goals, both performance and personal development.” As a people leader, Courtney enjoys “seeing people on my team achieve their goals and we celebrate ‘little wins’ together.”
Ryan just recently celebrated his three-year service anniversary and shared that the best part of his job is “being able to use my creativity to develop products that help people learn. Folks learn best by content that resonates – whether through a silly joke about a vampire not securing his mobile device. Or an ‘aha moment’ that changes the way someone thinks about cybersecurity. Humor resonates. Insight resonates. Knowing my passion makes a difference and helps people be more cyber secure is fulfilling and validating as a creative.”
Lisa says that one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is “witnessing the profound impact our courses have on learners. It is truly rewarding to observe students as they acquire new knowledge and develop valuable skills that empower them to achieve their personal and professional goals.”
Janine shares that she enjoys “visiting classrooms to see our products in use. Once, I was bringing additional materials to a class, who had been using our program for several months. One girl saw me and ran down the hall, with her arms outstretched and screaming with glee, when she saw that I was carrying more NGL product for her class. Excitement like that is what we all hope to inspire with our product!”
This content is part of an employee takeover on our LinkedIn page. To see more, follow us on LinkedIn.