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Getting To Know… Nikki Ashley

As part of our Getting To Know series of blog posts, we’re talking to key members of the LEO family so you can get to know them better. Today we’re chatting to Lead Learning Designer Nikki Ashley.

Getting To Know LEO's Lead Learning Designer, Nikki AshleyDescribe your role at LEO.

Lead Learning Designers come into the picture for the ‘kick-off phase’ after we get handover from the bid, accounts or sales team for a piece of work. We start working with clients and find out about their wants and needs, as well as what their learners need.

After meeting the clients we go through the design phase process where we start to come up with solutions, and we involve Art Directors, Project Managers, and Technical Experts to work out what tool to deliver in. We have to consider the scope and budget to make sure we fit with that. We then produce the design solution, which is like an architect’s blueprints. We walk the clients through these processes, especially if they’re new to elearning.
After the design phase comes the production phase, where we start building the solution. At this stage my role as a Lead Learning Designer is to be keeping in regular touch with clients for briefing and reviewing. By the time they see the first version, they should have a good idea about what the final product might look like. It involves communicating and knowledge sharing with lots of colleagues and clients.

Which part of working at LEO do you love most?

I have three answers.

  1. The people. You’ll hear that everywhere at LEO. You have to really care about what you’re doing here. There’s a desire to do the best you can, with lots of collaboration. Some of the most brilliant solutions are the most collaborative.
  2. Working with clients. They are going on a steep learning curve when making their first pieces of digital learning, so I like to see their understanding and pleasure in what we make for them and how it comes together.
  3. The variety. We become well versed in such a huge range of subjects, and it never gets boring, because the clients, solutions and content always vary.

Nikki AshleyWhat is your proudest accomplishment?

This is a tricky one. There are two themes. One is making something that you know is a really creative, engaging piece, and the other is when the clients absolutely trust you to use all the tools at your disposal. Two particular projects stay my favourites:

  1. For Sky – it was about web cookies (compliance training). They didn’t want it to look boring or like any other compliance training. They really let us run with it. It was a bespoke piece and every screen interacted with the content like a journey, and the development behind it reflected that too. It was the perfect harmony between design, development and graphics.
  2. The other side is also projects that really make a difference. When I first started working at LEO I worked on a huge project about end-of-life care. There were lots of creative ideas, and although it wasn’t the most revolutionary looking, we know it made a lot of difference because the client researched this after. It was mainly for carers, to help them talk about difficult subjects like end-of-life with those in care. There was lots to consider, and the carers didn’t have much time to spend on the training. At the end, the sense of accomplishment was knowing that it actually made a difference, and the learners felt much more confident in what they were doing.

What are the three things you can’t work without?

  1. My colleagues, because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When you work collaboratively you come up with better solutions than just one person working alone.
  2. My laptop, because everything is on there somewhere.
  3. Conversely, my pen and notebook and the scribbles it contains. Only I know what they mean!

As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

Bizarrely, I wanted to be a teacher but then I twigged as I looked around a classroom I couldn’t figure out an age I would liked to have taught… maybe a junior school. But you can’t get into real conversations with children. Adult learning is different because it’s not ‘do as I say’; it’s more about helping someone do what they do better.


We’d love to get to know you too. To find out how LEO can help you transform learning and development in your organisation, contact us today.