Meet Sue Jorstad, eLearning Designer and Developer for the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy!
Sue is passionate about developing training that enhances workers’ understanding of the families they work with, because with understanding comes the opportunity to collaboratively set meaningful case plan goals. Using the latest educational technologies, she aims to create learning experiences that inform, stimulate workers’ reflection on their own practice, and result in practice changes when needed. Sue believes that the child welfare system and the lives of children and families can be improved, one worker at a time, through relevant training.
- What is your job title, and what do you do? I am an eLearning Designer and Developer and I author on-demand, interactive, web-based training.
- Tell us about your education and/or work experience prior to joining the MNCWTA. I started my career with a BA in Psychology as a training specialist at a Minnesota CareerForce location (formerly called a Workforce Center) in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I helped at-risk youth and adults with barriers to employment find and keep jobs. Once I obtained my Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, I earned my LICSW credential and began working in health care including medical and psychiatry units, where I stayed for 12 years. Then, because I observed that I was often an early adopter of new technology, I decided to complete a Master of Science degree in Technical Communication from Metropolitan State University. The MS program included content on web design and development and eLearning, which led me to my current position.
- How long have you been working in your field? Eight years.
- What do you enjoy most about your work? Assessing each intended audience’s needs and designing the user interface and learning activities to match.
- What are you most passionate about professionally? Designing technology-based learning experiences that are easy to use for everyone and measuring the impact of training on micro- mezzo- and macro-level social systems.
- What are you most passionate about personally? Outside of my work, I am most passionate about raising my son to be a good human being and that occupies most of my time. I am also particularly passionate about uplifting victims of domestic abuse from challenging situations.
- What are you surprisingly good at? Playing the button accordion; I’ve won awards, performed at national events, and recorded a CD.
- What do you like to do outside of work? Learn about and experience other cultures, take long walks with my German shepherd, and spend time with my husband, son, and extended family in Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region.
- What else should we know about you? My thinking oscillates between logical and deeply empathic many times a day. This tendency helps explain my somewhat unusual career path of spending over a decade in a helping profession before shifting to a technology profession. The skills for each field complement the other: the communication skills I learned as a social worker come in very handy in group technology projects, and technology skills have become imperative for social workers. I know I am extremely fortunate to have had the educational opportunities to do both.