Meet the Team - Mark Gash
Describe your role.
I guide the look and feel of all projects, whether they’re for clients or our own use. So this can be creating new UX designs, storyboarding and styling courses, writing scripts or spinning-up marketing ideas and resources.
I’ll get involved in early meetings with clients to discover what they want and need. We often find that these are 2 different things (!) and can make recommendations to find a balance. Budget is one element that often dictates the design of eLearning but you'd be surprised how creative we can be!
Once we've got a creative brief and the client has agreed any design or copy, I pass these to our platform and content developers who work them into the final product.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to create comic books - I was always writing and drawing. It wasn’t a career path that went down well when it came to work-experience at school and I told them I would need to travel to New York. Needless to say, I didn’t get to go and instead spent 2 weeks doodling in an empty art classroom.
How did you land your current role?
Pure nepotism (or is it cronyism?). I met Lewis at university, as we were both on the same course. Afterwards, we attempted to run an animation company for a year before going our separate ways. My career took a design/copywriting route and Lewis went into eLearning. After a few years of running adaptiVLE, he called me up and asked if I wanted to join in a design/marketing capacity. The rest, as they say, is history.
What do you love about your job?
Every day is different. On the client-side of things, each project is unique. So whether I’m working within the constraints of a customer’s brand on a design or creating animated characters to bring a course to life, it’s always something fresh and exciting. I get bored easily and need the variety to keep me going. Luckily, our clients never fail to keep things interesting!
What is your favourite piece of software?
I live in Adobe InDesign. From creating course mock-ups to character design, animations to brochures, there’s almost nothing I can’t make it do. Except for edit photos, so for that, I use Photoshop.
Where do you see e-learning in the next 5 years?
e-learning creators are constantly chasing that elusive “user engagement” that will improve the experience of learning for all involved. It’s struggled to shed its image of boring pages of text, next buttons and multiple-choice quizzes but I feel like the industry is finally getting there. For a period of time, every course became a game (gamification) but many attempts at this just resulted in protracted courses with little real learning achieved by the end.
Today’s learners are used to instant hits of information - Youtube, Wikipedia, Alexa etc all provide everyday access to on-the-fly facts and there’s no reason we shouldn’t replicate this approach in more formal learning.
Video is versatile enough to concisely deliver all kinds of information, so I see this being used to greater effect. Charismatic presenters, graphics, animation and real-world scenarios can all be delivered in a single format. It can pull together the expertise of subject-matter experts and blend this together with modern learning technologies.
The engagement side will be won or lost based on a formula of production expertise x duration x quality. If you can present useful lessons, in bite-sized chunks, that are visually exciting, then learners will not only take notice, they might even come back for more.
If this interview had been a video, more people might have made it to the end!