Sixth in our series of 30 Under Thirty interviews is Nick Elkins with Artisan E-Learning, which creates custom eLearning courseware using Storyline, Captivate, Lectora, and Articulate Studio. Within his company, Nick focuses on the development of these courses; writing and editing the content based on client needs and then programming it within the authoring tool. As part of the E-Learning Uncovered team, Nick blogs about topics, solutions, tools, and trends within the eLearning industry.
Maestro: Tell me about some of the things you are doing to stay current in the world of learning.
Nick: I’m an avid reader. I read many hours in any given week. Whether it’s books (I have a large bookshelf of learning and eLearning specific books), blogs, or tweets, I enjoy reading about the industry. My favorite book I’ve read this year is 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Dr. Susan Weinschenk.
I have also had the pleasure of attending Learning 2012 this year. It was a place to connect with other learning professionals from around the country in a fun setting. The 30 Under Thirty program has really given me some tools to further my education and experiences in this industry. We’ve even begun, as a cohort, to hold monthly “Learning Lunches” where we are able to catch up and to talk about information relevant to our careers.
Maestro: What challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders - people like you?
Nick: I come from a family with a strong background in education and training, as well as business management. I’ve grown up with the mindset that I can do anything I put my mind to. If I work at it hard enough and smart enough, no obstacle is too large. That being said, one of the challenges that the next generation will face is resistance to our fast-paced, change-oriented, do-it-now lifestyles. We’re the first generation to have grown up with cell phones and the Internet. Because of that, we have become accustomed to getting everything quickly. I had a great conversation with someone during the Reverse Mentoring session at Learning 2012 about the sense of immediacy so closely associated with my generation versus the patience that so many generations before us have shown. In an interesting turn of events, he (and several others) recommended that we embrace that instead of trying to change it.
Maestro: What excites you about the future of learning?
Nick: I love that I’ll never stop learning because whether it’s learning about new design techniques, authoring tools, or the way people learn in general, there’s an unending amount of information that’s being created and studied.
I’m also really excited about the chance to take courses given by the likes of Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. The MOOCs (massive open online courses) that are being created and shared with so many people are giving huge opportunities to people who otherwise would not be able to take these courses.
I also love the fact that so many in the learning field have the opportunity to wear so many hats. As a field, we’re constantly inheriting new roles that demand agile teams with multiple skills, and it couldn’t be more exciting!
Maestro: What advice do you have for companies struggling to keeping up with the changing landscape of learning?
Nick: Take it one day at a time. There are so many resources out there (books, blogs, websites, tweets, etc.), that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Seek out an expert, or a few experts, and do your research. Don’t rush into decisions that will cost a lot of money.