Education in ActionWe have a story to tell you about education in action.

After making her resume public on, Ashley Bunn received an email from the Director of Learning and Development for an international pizza franchise. After a few conversations, she agreed to interview for a position in the learning and development department.

What most piqued Bunn’s interest about this position was the opportunity to do soft skills training such as; leadership, coaching, SMART goals, AND teach franchise owners and managers how to make the high quality Marco’s Brand pizza.

To Bunn’s delight, she was hired as the Senior Manager of Curriculum Development for Marco’s Pizza in Toledo, Ohio. In her new position, she is part of the team setting up the corporate university and developing the leadership and management curriculum for the company.

Education in Action

Bunn was kind enough to share her story with us.

I owe my success to UMBC’s ISD program!

When Marco’s asked for work samples during my interview process, I pulled files directly from my final portfolio. It made interviewing much easier.

Additionally, the professors in the ISD program gave me so many amazing opportunities and skills, such as working as a Teacher Assistant for Paul Kellerman’s Survey of Instructional Technology Class – which has been an asset to me because most of my coworkers don’t know Captivate and I’m typically the SME on using that software.

Furthermore, knowing how to triangulate data and gather information from unlikely sources has allowed me to think outside the box and use unique data streams for analysis. This has made me stand out among my team members and provide a different perspective on how to identify trends that can be used when developing new training.

The most valuable thing I learned at UMBC was that the client is always right (even when they’re wrong), and that the majority of the ISD world is not going to be as difficult as the courses I took at UMBC.

While at UMBC I made a point to apply my class assignments to work projects, thereby consistently applying my education on the job.

My UMBC coursework made me a stronger, more marketable ISD professional than many of my coworkers. Half the time, the papers I submitted for Dr. Berge’s class were far more advanced than any design document or lesson plan I created for a client. For that, I’m grateful.

I’m a second generation ISD (my mother writes the national medicare/medicaid curriculum for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and have been working for my mother since I was 15, so I’ve been around Instructional Systems Design for the majority of my life.

Educaiton in Action 2
Ashley Bunn jumping in and delivering pizzas to the Marco’s Franchising LLC support staff during the Introduction to Operational Excellence ILT activity. This is when franchise owners have to make and deliver pizzas to the company employees at their desks.

For Marco’s Pizza, I’ll be working as the Sr. Manager of Curriculum Development. Part of my job consists of creating curriculum that will be implemented company wide and seen by nearly 20k+ Marco’s pizza employees. In addition to this, I’ll be conducting instructor led courses and delivering soft skills training to Marco’s franchise owners. I’ll even be working in the test kitchen to train employees on how to properly deliver the Marco’s 5 star guest experience AND making the world famous 5 star Marco’s pizza using fresh (never frozen), all natural quality ingredients!

My two greatest passions in life are food and learning so I’m extremely excited for this opportunity!

I’ve been blessed to get a new ISD job every year or so, and with every opportunity I’ve taken on several difficult projects that have strengthened my skills and made me a more confident ISD. I’ve worked in eLearning, ILT, TTT, OTJ, CBT, and project management. Taking on these tasks has made me very marketable.

My advice to students is to not stay in a professional area for too long without learning and or adding a new skill to your area of expertise. Try to be knowledgeable about software changes. No matter what, do what you can to position yourself in your organization in such a way that you’re not only contributing member of your training team, but that you’re also an asset to your team.

On my last contract, I was the only member that knew how to properly write training manuals. Learning how to write manuals was one of the first things Dr. Chuck Hoddell taught my ISD 101 class, and since then, I’ve applied his method to all of my manuals and they’ve always been the most clear, and concise documents. This skill has made me essential to every training team I join.

The best advice I would give to a current ISD student would be to apply the tools and lessons learned in this course as quickly as possible to your current job (even if you’re not an ISD at your current job). The more you put these incredible skills to use, the more comfortable you’ll be creating a lesson plan in less than a week or facilitating an ILT training course with very little preparation.

I may be biased but UMBC probably has one of the best ISD programs in the Training and Development industry with some of the most supportive and brilliant professors. Were it not for them and their efforts, I would not be where I am today.

A big thanks to Ashley for sharing her story, and an even bigger congratulations on her new position!

Always in Learning Mode,


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