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Career Profiles

Desiree Newhook (she/her)

Instructional Designer
Let's Talk Science
Desiree Newhook headshot
Desiree Newhook headshot
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Location Now
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I take hard-to-understand information and create simple and accessible learning experiences.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Barrie, ON

I now live in: St. John's, NL

I completed my training/education at:  University of Guelph, B.Sc., University of Toronto, OISE B.Ed., and University of Calgary, E-learning Certificate for Adult Education.

What I do at work

I spend most of my day researching new topics and working with subject matter experts. I build games, videos, and online interactions. I am always discovering new ways to integrate learning strategies into online courses.

My work is done on a computer. I use a variety of software tools to design the learning experience. This includes the Articulate 360 suite, Adobe suite, Canva and Canvas. I have also started using artificial intelligence tools, like language learning models (LLMs) and image generators. I use them to help spark ideas when developing new content.

I work with an amazing group of people who help to collaborate and review the course content. Working with a team helps to strengthen the course content. It also gives me chance to see if what I have developed is simple and makes sense.

My career path is

When I first graduated high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals! I found a great job working for a Humane Society. I worked in public relations and communications. Here I also discovered my love of teaching others.

In my late 20s, I decided to go back to school to get my teaching degree. When I graduated, there were few opportunities to teach full-time in a classroom. I returned to public relations and communications. But I still felt strongly about teaching and learning. During the pandemic, I returned to school to get my e-learning certificate for adult learning and instructional design and became an instructional designer.

I am motivated by

As an instructional designer, I am always learning new things. I love the process of discovering a new topic. I enjoy meeting with people who are experts in their field. I love taking that shared knowledge and sharing it with others in simple and accessible ways. This career combines my love of storytelling with the opportunity to be visually creative with the design and layout of a course. Technology changes at such a rapid pace. As a result, I also get to learn and test out new technologies and tools that support a great online learning experience.

How I affect peoples’ lives

I provide educators with the space to learn and reflect on relevant STEM topics. These educators can then take the information and the learning strategies back to their classrooms. Then they can help their students learn and reflect.

Outside of work I

I enjoy hiking. I live in a beautiful province with wonderful and challenging hiking trails. I also enjoy Pilates, yoga, meditation and exploring new hobbies. I recently took a class on creating stained glass pieces. I spend quite a bit of time with my kids and family and volunteer in their school library.

My advice to others

If you are the kind of student who takes what you have learned from the teacher and then re-explains that information to your friends so they can understand it, instructional design may be for you. Be open to problem-solving, being creative and helping others.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Geography
  • Math
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Computer Science
  • Business & Economics
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Learned by by doing
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Always knew what I wanted to do

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