Alyssa Paige Treager is passionate about accessible learning and helping people achieve their dreams. In her new role as senior instructional design and learning specialist, she aims to do just that. She’s also a certified scuba diver.
What are some projects that encompass your new role as senior instructional design and learning specialist?
One of my biggest projects is implementing the new Cornerstone OnDemand Learning Management System (LMS). It’ll consolidate professional development for faculty and staff into one centralized area. Once it’s up and running, the existing online catalog and registration system will go away completely. After that’s implemented, I’ll concentrate on creating and designing interactive online modules to go within the new LMS system.
Why are you passionate about instructional design and online learning?
I’m passionate about helping people reach their goals. I want everyone to succeed, have their dream job and live their best life. That’s why this job is perfect for me. Online instructional design allows me to create learning opportunities for everyone. Many people don’t have the time or ability to go and sit in a classroom for instruction. Some people have to stay at their desk to fulfill the function of their job. They may not be able to go to a classroom, but they can take part in online training. Online learning makes training accessible for everyone.
What’s one of the biggest challenges of creating online learning courses?
There are two large challenges. One is access to technology. Not everyone has an office with a computer, so we want to make sure our learning content is accessible to all, which includes in-person and online training. So technology accessibility is a huge challenge. Second, when creating the online instruction, we want to ensure that content is tailored towards a specific learning group while also covering all of the learning objectives. If training is constructed correctly, learners will walk away with the intended instruction.
What is one thing that people may not know about your job?
Instructional design is a science. We go to school to understand how adults learn and then how to create instruction so they can learn and absorb that information. It’s not an element people usually know about. Sometimes companies think that if you’re a public speaker, then you can design training, but typically that person is not trained to create instruction. It’s a design process with a specific science behind it.
What is your previous experience before coming to UNC Charlotte?
I have about 12 years of retail store management at Starbucks. I was a part-time employee in college at the Starbucks near J.W Clay. While I was there, I worked my way up and became a store manager. Eventually, I was hired as a regional training specialist for Starbucks where I taught classes at their Boston regional office. That’s where I got bit by the training bug. I always loved to attend trainings, but I discovered that I loved facilitating training even more.
What was something you learned from your time at Starbucks?
I love creating connections to aid collaboration. It comes with working as part of a team. I really feel like that’s where the learning happens. It happens in that moment when I have one way of doing something and someone else has a different way, and another team member as another way. Sometimes one of those ways is best and sometimes we can combine all three to make an even better way. I love that there’s so much learning that comes out of collaboration. It’s always been a part of me.
What is one of your hidden talents?
I’m a scuba diver. I actually took scuba diving at UNC Charlotte when I was an undergraduate student. It used to be a gym class where students could become a certified scuba diver within a semester. So I became a certified scuba diver, and when I met my husband he became certified as well, so now we scuba dive together. Our last scuba dive was in the aquarium in Atlanta, where we went diving with whale sharks, rays and sea turtles. It was amazing and kind of magical.
When you’re not at UNC Charlotte, what do you like to do for fun?
I love hanging out with my husband, Garrett. I don’t often say his name, I call him “husband.” We’ve been married five and a half years. We also love to travel. We’ve been to Europe, but we want to go to Asia. I want to go everywhere. I want to go to Iceland and New Zealand, as well as South Africa to go scuba diving.
Anything else you’re involved with at UNC Charlotte?
This year I am one of the Giving Green co-champions for Business Affairs. Giving Green is a campaign for faculty and staff to be able to give back to the University by donating scholarships and raising various funds on campus to give back and support our students. It’s been around for a while, but this is my first year being the co-champion for Business Affairs, so I’m very excited.
Interview and right photo: Jordan Estabrook
Top photo courtesy of Alyssa Paige Treager