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From Games Maker to Marketer

This post was written by Jake Story and first appeared on the LINE blog on 17th December 2013.

In the summer of 2012, I was one of 70,000 volunteer Games Makers at the London Olympic Games. I had just finished my degree when I headed to London for two weeks, working in a press tribune at London’s Excel centre. In a nutshell, it was my task to provide journalists from around the world with printed results, refreshments, and every now and then, a little bit of help with sentence structure.

Little did I know, the company I now work for, LINE communications, had produced a good chunk of the learning material I had been given to have a look at prior to the games. Pretty much everything I needed came on one CD, which was pretty handy because, understandably, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG to me and you) were a little busy for questions before the games started. I never considered where the learning had come from; I was oblivious that there was a team of people focused on making my learning experience as interesting and as beneficial as possible.

My induction CD told me about where I’d be working, the history of the Olympics and loads of other stuff. I didn’t even think I was using a piece of elearning, it seemed far too interesting. At the time, elearning would have conjured up images of a dusty, old professor making material on Windows 95 in an intentionally boring manner. I’m pretty sure if the CD said elearning anywhere near it, I would have spent about 5 minutes using it, clicking all the wrong answers to find the right ones, skim reading blocks of text, and muting the sound on videos.

Instead I was presented with a tool that really excited me and I lapped up the content, absorbing everything I needed. On the same token, I expect that the organisers must have felt a lot more confident handing out a CD full of rich, interactive imagery, than a 60 page booklet. After all, if you make a voluntary role seem boring, I don’t think you’ll get many people turning up to help out!

I began to work for LINE this September, well over a year after I finished working in my purple uniform at the Excel centre. Even though my role is peripheral to the actual learning stuff, I’ve begun to develop a real interest in organisational learning. I don’t think people are aware of the thought and care that goes into the design of learning, making hoop-jumping exercises, like induction, something that people can actually enjoy doing.

So without realising it, my initial contact with LINE was well before I knew a MOOC from a Moodle, as they had developed the induction training for me and the entire voluntary workforce of the London Olympic Games. It’s amazing how I’ve gone from a very distant end user to Jake, the Marketing Intern in Sheffield, learning a fair amount about elearning in the process.