Since 1999 I have been involved in setting up and rolling out online learning options for professionals and students. My professional work is a combination of practice and theory in a wide range of online learning opportunities, for academic, non-profit, as well as corporate environments.

I am currently finalising my PhD at the renowned institute of CREET at The Open University in the United Kingdom, where I am investigating how experienced, online learners self-determine their learning in MOOCs (FutureLearn courses). While finalizing my PhD, I am privileged to work on setting up online training environments that use MOOC, SPOC (Small Private Online Courses), and blended learning approaches to best meet the personal learning needs of executives and professionals in various areas. Some of the projects I am working on are Embedded Systems, Internet of Things. This opportunity was provided by iMinds (one of the top 5 innovation incubator institutes worldwide) and EIT Digital Professional School.

Previously, I was the eLearning coordinator and educational researcher for the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerpen Belgium (2006-2012). In this capacity I set up participatory eLearning initiatives with health institutes in Morocco, India, South-Africa, Cuba and Peru. This resulted in projects enabling Continued Professional Development for Health Care Workers in low resource settings (e.g. mobile solutions that would work on a variety of mobile devices in order to send out updated health information to practitioners in rural areas). These projects were set up using annual budgets of approximately 100.000 EUR to cover development of mobile solutions, training of the professionals and general roll-out costs. Each of these projects have resulted in lasting connections between  

Before that, I have been working as a staff member for the Vrouwen Overleg Komitee (VOK), a non-profit gender equality organisation, I gathered funding and organised events. While working at the VOK my passion for online learning started and became a reality up to a point where I decided I wanted to work in an area combining education/training and technology. Since then I have been involved in educational research with Athabasca University in Canada to improve my understanding of online learning across different contexts. Thanks to many wonderful people, and a growing network of friends/colleagues and various institutes I have had the privilege to work, investigate and share the subject of TELearning, Massive Open Online Learning and mobile learning across different continents.

Working frequently with partners from developing countries, I have been an advisor/consultant for institutes from around the world setting up eLearning initiatives or roll out an innovative learning strategy. I had the opportunity to be part of the first MOOC organised in 2008, which led me to explore the format while it was still in its pioneering years. To get optimal experience in the workings of MOOCs and their related pedagogical options, I organized free, open, online courses (MOOC) on mLearning, the so called MobiMOOC’s. There were already 2 MobiMOOC’s: one in April/May 2011 and a second edition during September 2012, feel free to look at the course. Since then I have been involved in multiple MOOCs. 

Apart from this, my professional life has been fine-tuned with a couple of on-off jobs along the way. Let me add a couple of odd ones out: I got jobs as a journalist, lumberjack, stand-up comedian, waitress, caterer at movie sets, photographer, writer and once - when I was at my (financial) wits end - I fought a bull in the Roman Arena of Arles, France which resulted in just enough money to get back home to Belgium. All these jobs were a great way to learn more about human nature and on how to absorb and use knowledge really quickly.

I am a firm believer in connecting with each other, so feel free to get into a conversation.

Online resources:

MobiMOOC course: http://mobimooc.wikispaces.com
eLearning blog: http://ignatiawebs.blogspot.com
Twitter: @ignatia
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ingedewaard
Presentations: http://www.slideshare.net/ignatia/presentations
Publications: http://www.ingedewaard.net/pubconsulpres.htm
Skype: Ignatia_dW