South African researcher joins Netskills “frequent flyer programme”

Leona with Chris Thomson, the lead trainer of the workshop

Leona with Chris Thomson, the lead trainer of the workshop.

Leona Ungerer traveled over 11,000 miles to attend our storytelling workshop.

“I depleted all my training funds for the year!”, the Senior Lecturer at the University of South Africa told us.

“I also paid for the remainder of the trip (accommodation and travel) from my research funds.”

“I am not aware of an institution similar to Jisc Netskills in South Africa and for me, when attending an international training event, it was important to be able to obtain a qualification to take back home.”

This was in fact a return visit for Leona. Two years ago she attended our e-learning workshop.

“On the first workshop I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of theory and practice – instantly applying what we learned by working behind the computers. It was also nice that the number of attendees was kept low so that people could get individual attention.”

Intensive and immersive training

Spanning across three days, both workshops take attendees through a challenging task of applying everything they learn by creating something tangible to take away with them.

“E-learning Essentials taught me skills that that I could immediately apply in my own environment. On Digital Storytelling Masterclass we explored alternative ways to share information with an audience – presenting academic content in a simpler manner and I learned how relevant images can enhance the comprehensibility of the information.”

“This type of approach may require quite a mind shift for some researchers but it may offer valuable opportunities to open up their research to a broader audience, or even their own research communities.”

Leona lists ‘opening up her mind’ as one of the most important things she learned during the workshop and is keen to expand her knowledge of the different applications of storytelling.

“There is definitely space for this approach in academy, particularly to engage one’s students/audience and to indicate that a particular field of study does not only exist in theory or in textbooks.”

We thoroughly enjoyed playing host to Leona in the North East and, after a month of saying goodbye to 30 IT practitioners from Nigeria, were pleasantly surprised that we hadn’t seen the last of our long-distance visitors this spring!