How Dr. Kristina’s passion for teaching led to a career in education technology

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With more than 1.5 billion people seeking to learn English worldwide, a career in English language teaching is more rewarding than ever before. And for educators like Dr. Kristina, it has paved the way into an online learning industry valued at $315 billion worldwide.

Dr. Kristina Francis stepped into the world of online education with a background in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Now, she is a full-time lecturer pursuing a PhD in Curriculum Technology. Her latest projects include developing a global teacher training program, fulfilling her research grant, and developing new MOOCs for her university.

We sat down with Dr. Kristina to find out more about her journey into online course creation and how other educators can collaborate on creating engaging online learning experiences.

The journey so far

How did you begin your career?

“I have always had a passion for teaching since I was young,” Dr. Kristina tells us. Pursuing her childhood interests, she successfully completed an undergraduate B. Ed in TESL and started her career in Multimedia University (MMU) as an assistant lecturer. 

Her love of teaching—and learning how to teach better—inspired her to pursue academic and professional development alongside her full-time job. While at MMU, she obtained an M.Ed in TESL while also being awarded a Train-the-Trainer (TTT) certificate through her training with the Malaysian Human Resource Development Corporation (HRDCorp). 

“During my years of service at MMU, I started gaining interest as we were encouraged to attend various seminars, workshops, and events related to the usage of technology in education. Slowly, I started my career as a trainer using the tools, techniques, and strategies that I had learned for my own training programs.”

She then progressed her career in Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) as a lecturer, where she was given opportunities to practice using the knowledge that she had learned. “Today, I am also able to share my experience and guide my fellow colleagues in helping them to enhance their skills. UTAR has always encouraged me to explore further into various other tools, platforms and resources which will help the academics in UTAR to upskill themselves and thus, I started exploring more in the online learning industry.

What made you interested in the OpenLearning Ambassador Program?

“The OpenLearning platform has been one of my choices in the online learning industry. I became more interested in OpenLearning when I started my PhD in Curriculum Technology. I was looking for a platform to develop my online training program and decided to join the OpenLearning Ambassador Program.”

The OpenLearning Ambassador Program is a 5-course series that guides users through the basics of course design, assessments, and facilitation. Learners may earn badges to become certified as an OpenLearning Ambassador and access more opportunities in online learning design.

Dr. Kristina shares that OpenLearning has given her the platform, tools and resources to help her develop her online teaching and training—adding that guidance is also given to build, market and sell courses that support learners all over the world.

🌟 Get the guide: Register for the OpenLearning Ambassador Program.

The learning design process

Describe your personal course building process, from start to end.

Dr. Kristina’s rich experience in the field of education has equipped her with a go-to framework for creating engaging online courses. “I always practise the ADDIE model for all of my course building,” she says, referring to the popular instructional design acronym that stands for Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. She outlines her learning design process:

1. Analyse

  • Needs for my eLearning course
  • Target audience learners and gather as much information
  • Create broad goals for the course

2. Design 

  • Learning objectives – identify what specific skills and knowledge for my students to obtain
  • Sequence – design the course sequence of the course content
  • Instructional strategy – combine the content and the various resources, tools, and evaluation methods into one system

3. Develop

  • Content – what media and resources will be used to support the eLearning efforts

4. Implement 

  • LMS – Choosing the LMS to organize my course delivery
  • Course content delivery tools – The communication tools will be used to support my eLearning activities

5. Evaluate

  • Measure, evaluate and make changes accordingly

How do you engage with your learners?

Aside from using the ADDIE model to develop engaging online courses, Dr. Kristina adopts an open style of learning: “I always encourage my leaners by getting them to talk and be open. I tell my learners that success in life begins with your capability to talk openly and voice out your concerns. Then, things will look simple and every issue will always have a solution.”

💡 Read more: Explore other frameworks such as Guskey’s Model for professional learning and active, case-based, and project-based learning.

Where to go next

“Always keep the mind open for new ideas,” she advises other educators who are looking to go online. 

“From the ideas, create structures and stages in accomplishing the tasks. Never give up and attend various workshops to give you the kickstart in online course building. Be creative and reach out to the right people for help. Take an interest in issues and trends related to educational technology and how to implement it as an educator or trainer.”

If you would like to explore more online learning ideas and collaborate with Dr. Kristina, reach out below or join her in the OpenLearning Ambassador Program:


OpenLearning is a social online learning platform that can help you and your team to achieve your institution’s goals. Start your free trial today.

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