Improving Learning Design with Data
Finding innovative and user-friendly training methods for working professionals and students has been a career-long focus for Chris Rinere, a senior training specialist at Northwestern University and current Master of Science in Information Design and Strategy (IDS) student.
“There’s so much we can do to improve learning using data,” he explained, also noting that this trend can make professional development more individualized.
Rinere began his career as a talent development and training consultant after graduating with a degree in English and Adolescent Education from SUNY at Geneseo. In this role, he became an early proponent of LinkedIn, and had so much success in implementing it that it caught the social media company’s attention, resulting in him landing a job there as a strategic educational consultant.
However, Rinere always imagined himself contributing more directly in higher education, and after working as a consultant for several organizations including DePaul University, he began an academic and professional career at Northwestern.
Now Rinere manages Northwestern’s Sponsored Project Online Training (SPOT) program and creates custom e-learning materials for the University. He is particularly interested in improving the user experience of training materials by adding more interactive and hands-on elements. When asked what designing training materials might look like in the future, Rinere said, ““Learning how to make training an individual experience using virtual reality is going to be huge.”
The IDS program encompasses many of the intersecting subject matter areas Rinere uses at his day job, and has helped him become an interdisciplinary leader. He noted, “I think the program is innovative. It combines a lot of business goals within the design realm.”
Specifically, Rinere found value in user-centered design coursework, which examines methodologies to create and better digital experiences for the end user. Combining this knowledge with user research, content strategy, leadership, information design, and other key components of the IDS program has boosted Rinere’s skillset as a training specialist.
“The program has given me a lot more confidence in the workplace,” said Rinere, adding, “You can be an effective learning designer by making the most user experience and big data. I’m trying to combine all that stuff.”