About ten years ago I began my Doctoral program with the goal of understanding how people learn in digital environments and, more specifically, how the learning industry could design ways to improve that experience. While in that program I had the opportunity to meet a classmate who, during the traditional first day of class introductions, shared that she was an executive at a company called Remote-Learner. Her goal was to make the world a better place through online learning. When it came around to my turn I shared that I was working designing training for the aerospace industry and my goal was to go work with the lady from Remote-Learner and to help make an impact in the world.

About a year or so later I was working at Remote-Learner.

Fast forward to today and a lot has changed. I moved three times, I completed my PhD, and I am now part owner and Chief Innovation Officer of Remote-Learner. What hasn’t changed is my desire to make an impact in the world by providing robust and engaging online learning to a global community. “Make an impact” is a phrase we use quite often at Remote-Learner and I am proud that it is one each and every member of our team has come to embrace. Our mission at Remote-Learner is “to unlock the potential of technology to improve lives through learning” and that is as true today – perhaps more so – then it was when I first fell in love with this company nearly 10 years ago.

I recently had the opportunity take my research in Persuasive Design Strategies (PDS) and the Remote-Learner approach to China. Our friends at CMS Global and our long time partners at the Online Learning Consortium invited me to be a member of a delegation of US universities and online learning experts presenting at the US-Sino Online Higher Education Conference. For me, this represented an exciting step towards being able to make the kind of global impact I set out to make all those years ago.

Presenting to an audience representing nearly 400 Chinese universities was an amazing experience. After getting a laugh when explaining why “Dr. Chen”, the speaker they came to hear, was a blonde American, it was clear that even with our cultural differences we still share a common goal of providing quality learning experiences that produce well-educated members of society.  It was also rewarding to discover that Persuasive Design Strategies don’t get lost in translation and that the power of a well designed digital learning environment can cross cultural barriers.

I’ll be honest, there were some cultural barriers that were harder to cross when it came to meal time. But we enjoyed our culinary adventures with a healthy respect and appreciation for the care shown to us by our hosts. And for the record, I cherish the impact we make with all our R-L clients every day. I am always happy to expand my culinary horizons when asked to do so by a client!

I am not sure when I’ll visit China again, or if any of the attendees I had the pleasure to meet will implement PDS into their digital learning environments but I liked to think both will happen. Meanwhile, I am content to Make An Impact right here … at least until the next time I am invited to Make An Impact – globally.

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