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Masie's 30 Under 30: Interview with Weiwei Cai of Cleveland Clinic

Each year, The Masie Center introduces us to 30 young leaders in the learning industry with its 30 Under 30 award. Maestro has the privilege of interviewing several of these individuals each year. We look forward to hearing their fresh perspectives and getting a glimpse of their predictions for the future of the learning industry. 

Today, we share with you an interview with eLearning Instructional Designer for Cleveland Clinic, Weiwei Cai

Tell us a little bit about your company and your role within it.

Weiwei: Cleveland Clinic is regarded as one of the top four hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. It is one of the world's largest and busiest medical centers, serving patients from every state and from many countries.

I am an eLearning Instructional Designer. I work closely with clinical nursing specialists, nursing informatics staffs and some medical faculties to design and manage all eLearning programs for more than 10,000 Cleveland Clinic nurses. I enjoy designing online courses using different programs. 

Tell us about some of the things you are doing to keep learners engaged.

Weiwei: As both an instructional designer and a learner, when I design my online programs, I try to attract myself first. What format would I want if I took this course? So the communication with learners and instructors generates many ideas for how to engage learners, especially subject matter experts. They have been teaching for years and they get a lot feedback from students about what works best for learning, as well as what doesn’t work.

Frist is the variety of the learning content. Medical education involves a lot information so I will try to create Flash games, design graphics and videos to display all using diverse formats. Learners have a lot of different learning experiences.

Second, I use action scripts in many programs to control learners' actions, avoiding simple click-by-click online courses. This makes online learning more interactive and interesting. Also, it requires learners to read and learn carefully so they know how to continue.

In addition, I want to say the communication among instructional designers or learning professionals is also very important. Sharing different thoughts and ideas helps maintain creativity. I really enjoyed the Learning 2014 conference and will look for more opportunities like this to learn from others. 

How have you seen technology incorporated into learning?

Weiwei: There are so many different technologies out there; it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Although it is difficult to incorporate technology into learning when transferring from a traditional class, I believe it’s the trend especially for performance development at work. Online/mobile learning allows learners to learn anytime anywhere, which saves money and time. 

What challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders — people like you?

Weiwei: eLearning/mobile learning programs as well as social media cooperation will help a lot in the next generation’s learning. I think we must figure out how to use technology to prompt learners how to learn most effectively instead of distracting their attention away from learning.

Most of us have access to cell phones and internet every day. We have become accustomed to getting everything quickly from the Internet. Some have lost patience to think on their own. No matter what latest technology we use for learning, we need to really learn the content instead of simply using it to get training credit only. We cannot rely on technology so much that we lose our own ability to learn.

Also, there will be more and more different tools and programs developed for the next generation. So how to choose the best authoring program/learning system is another challenge for us.

What excites you about the future of learning?

Weiwei: We never know what will happen and what new technology or authoring tools will come up the next second. Nobody imagined a few years ago there would be online learning/mobile learning and now it is everywhere. So I am excited to see what new interesting technology will come up to help us learn. We’ll never stop learning.

I focus more on eLearning. I think there is no right or wrong answer for an eLearning program. a PDF may work in one situation and a simulation game may work in another.

The possibilities excite me very much. For example, I may create an interactive program in one subject. The next time I revise it, I will challenge myself to make it more engaging and interactive.

Also, it’s exciting to see more people with different backgrounds join the learning field. This will introduce more innovations and changes to the future of learning.

Want to learn more? Get connected with Weiwei!

View her online portfolio

Connect on LinkedIn

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