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💡Learning Design Lead



Posted on Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Learning Design Lead

tl;dr: A remote, learning design role at an early-stage, VC-backed edtech startup building a group learning platform.

 About Sparkwise

We want to become the new definition of online learning.

Traditional online learning fails to deliver impact at scale.
Solve for scale, and you’re left with solo learning (click-click videos, big Zoom calls…) that bores people. Solve for impact, and you need high-touch group facilitation that is costly and inflexible.
At Sparkwise, we’re pioneering a new type of online learning to scale a more humane way to learn and grow for life.
We’re building an intelligent group learning platform that massively scales active, social learning: our tech guides people to solve problems and practice together in small groups — without the need for expert facilitation. It’s way more engaging/impactful than asynchronous content, and way more accessible/flexible than typical high-impact workshops.
Since launching in 2022, we’ve grown rapidly to >50 customers (examples: global philanthropy, Ivy League publisher, top consulting firms, charter school network, top 10 LinkedIn influencer — to name a few). We see 80% completion (vs. <15% of traditional eLearning), and 90%+ learners say Sparkwise is both highly engaging and practical.
We’re a remote company with teammates based in different parts of the Americas.
We are proven operators who worked at McKinsey, Minerva, Google, Teach for America, and more. We’re funded by leading VCs and angels.

👋 Where you come in

At the heart of Sparkwise is pioneering a new type of group learning that transforms learners.
We’re seeking an all-around Learning Design Lead who’s excited to create incredible learning experiences, shape our technology development, and build up our Learning Design function.
Could that be you? 😎

💥 What you’ll do

You’ll work directly with Vince, the CEO, and shape one of the most critical functions of the organization.
As we’re a rapidly-growing startup, your role will evolve and expand over time. With that said, here’s what we expect your day-to-day to look like for the first year:
Build learning experiences on eclectic topics, alongside a junior learning designer whom you manage — ~70% of your typical week will focus on architecting new learning modules and creating content assets on a variety of topic areas.
What this tactically involves: identifying core underlying insights for modules that have to be built or refined, creating a detailed activity sequence outline, building input assets (slides, worksheets), getting feedback on beta versions of the assets and refining them, filming/editing videos, uploading assets to our internal authoring tool, and more.
Given the size of the learning design team, you’ll spend most of your time building content yourself alongside the junior learning designer (vs. just managing).
Examples of topics we’ve covered: general business skills, clinical delivery best practices for an autism care startup, culture setting for a childcare company, sales best practices, and more.
Here’s a quick demo video that shows what our group learning looks like
Collaborate with clients — ~10% of your typical week will involve working with clients. You’ll be the main point of contact for clients building custom content with us. You’ll engage their subject matter experts to gather insight and work with their learning designers to co-create modules.
Level up the function + product — ~10% of your typical week will be spent on continuously improving Learning Design as a function and giving inputs to our product team as they build our tech (improving UX/UI, informing the build of AI-powered authoring + group learning experiences, etc.). Tactically, this will involve synthesizing learner feedback, refining our Learning Design Playbook, leading team-wide problem solving sessions, and more.
Tackle diverse priorities as they arise~10% of your typical week could involve any number of priorities, such as company-wide strategy sessions, to business operations support, and team alignment meetings.

🌟 Who you are

✔️ Your Zone of Genius

At Sparkwise, we care deeply about helping our team members reach their full potential. We believe this only happens when people work in their natural Zone of Genius.
Do the 5 items below sound like you? If so, there’s a good chance this role is a fit!
You have a passion for education/learning — Even if you’ve never formally worked as an educator (school teacher, corporate trainer, learning designer, course creator, leadership coach, tutor…), you have diverse interests, pick up new ideas quickly, and see yourself as a lifelong learner. You might enjoy reading personal development articles/books. Academics likely came naturally to you while you were in school.
You love problem solving — You find ambiguous problems energizing, not daunting. You have both a logical mind that can break down complex problems and an expansionary mind that can come up with creative solutions quickly. You embrace intellectual discussions that drive towards the truth/essence of a matter — and are unafraid of disagreements to get there. You might enjoy cerebral activities like board games, puzzles, or escape rooms.
You’re practical + get things done, fast — You like action beyond theory. You find it easy to sustain focus and check things off the to-do list. You’ve likely been told that one of your strengths is quick execution. You might have voluntarily led teams/clubs while in school. You might be known at work for your clear, prompt communication + dependability.
You’re a people person — You enjoy working with others and find it effortless to communicate your thoughts and build new relationships. This is not about being extroverted; it’s about how natural you’re at figuring out how other people think/feel and building trust based on that intuition.
You thrive in remote work — You can manage your own energy and stay fully motivated in a remote team (our team is distributed across NY, CA, Canada, Costa Rica, Philippines…). With that said, we’re highly collaborative, and you’ll work with many team members day to day in this role. Also, you’ll meet the full team on a week-long offsite ~3 times a year.

✔️ Your skills

Because our learning approach is so unconventional, we do not require the traditional instructional/learning design skill set for this role.
We care much more about your underlying intrinsics to thrive with us.
First-principles problem solving — You’re a natural at defining and structuring an ambiguous problem, getting to the root drivers, coming up with multiple possible solutions, and rapidly prioritizing them.
Client service intrinsics — You have the communication + people skills needed to lead important client relationships.
Project + time management — You can take ownership of multiple projects at the same time, keeping your tasks organized and juggling priorities.
Clear, concise writing — You can write in a simple, pithy way. This isn’t necessarily about how good of a writer you were in school (which is more academic writing); this is about how good of a writer you are for professional learners who want you to get to the “so what” fast.
Attention to visual detail — You have the visual intrinsics needed to create clean learning design assets that learners can easily understand. You’re proficient with Google Slides, and can learn other digital tools quickly to build visual assets.

✔️ Your experiences

(MUST) You’ve worked and succeeded in high-performing, fast-moving environments, such as schools, consulting, startups, etc.
(MUST) You’ve designed + led structured group interactions at some point in your academic/professional career (e.g., classrooms, workshops, training sessions, seminars, conferences, events, communities, etc.)
(NICE TO HAVE) You’ve worked in client service.
(NICE TO HAVE) You’ve managed junior staff.

✔️ Your mindset

You care + have a high bar — Eager to co-create something innovative. Ready to be part of a team that deeply cares about the mission/impact.
If you’re simply looking for a paycheck and a 9-5 job, we’re not the right fit.
With that said, we ensure the work is sustainable and allows you to build a fulfilling life, and you’ll get to hear directly from our team members about their experience.
You’re hungry to learn and grow — Ready to build new skills fast, take on meaningful responsibilities, roll up your sleeves, and get stuff done.
You get the startup grind — Proactive, embrace ambiguity, and understand that the company’s directions and your responsibilities will evolve.

💖 Why you might be excited

 Catapult your career

You get to be a core member of a team that brings deep domain expertise and connections to top investors and operators.
The more ownership you show and the more impact you drive, the more opportunities you’ll get to grow as a leader within the company.

 Make an impact

We have an opportunity to transform the work lives of millions of people.
You'll be given a lot of autonomy, and infinite room for growth. You can help us define and refine what great looks like.
You’ll shape the trajectory and culture of our company as a core team member.

 Work with a caring team

We’re eager to help you grow as a whole person. The 3 founders are proven and caring people leaders of diverse and distributed teams (references available!).

🎨 Equal opportunity

Sparkwise is an equal opportunity employer. All aspects of employment including the decision to hire, promote, discipline, or discharge, are based on merit, competence, performance, and business needs. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or military and veteran status.
We do require that you have authorization to work in the country in which you intend to live.
We are committed to providing an inclusive environment of mutual respect where differences are celebrated and supported!

🧮 Other benefits include

Health insurance. The specifics vary by country, but we aim to provide coverage or a reimbursement for coverage for all team members. In the US, we cover the full premium of a “silver” medical plan, and half of the dental & vision plan premium.
WFH home-office stipend. Expense up to USD $750 per calendar year to enhance work-from-home experience/productivity. (e.g., external monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset, stand-up desk, solo access to co-working space)
Quarterly company off-sites. While not a benefit, per se, our regularly-scheduled off-sites (on-sites?) do feel like one. Every few months, our entire team congregates for 3 consecutive days of working together in person. The location varies but the value has been consistent: enhancing trust and empathy, and diving into deeper reflection and planning as a team.

🍀 Meet the Team

Meet our full team here!

On the founders:

The 3 founders bring deep expertise and passion in edtech, Future of Work, and venture building:
Ari (CTO) has been building edtech for 15+ years, as Chief Learning Scientist (and employee #1) at Minerva, CTO at Calbright College, and Chief Learning Architect at Grockit. CS PhD.
Romain (COO) was a former People function leader at McKinsey who ran global ops, built top training programs, and coached 100s of consultants. MIT, CentraleSupélec alum.
Vince (CEO) helped launch several startups at Polymath Ventures and ran multi-million dollar Future of Work transformations for F500 with McKinsey. Princeton, Harvard alum.

🚂 Our interview process (we’ll make it fun!)

Initial call (45 min) — chat about what we're both looking for + showcase an interactive group experience you have built/delivered/facilitated before and feel proud of!
Case solving (45 min) — show us how you solve problems using first principles
Learning design challenge (~4 hours take home + 30-min call) — show us your intuition on building engaging group learning experiences
Founder chats (30 min) — get to know the founding team
Reference check — 2-3 references (supervisors + peers) who can share their experience working with you
Work together — let’s design a short paid period to test out how we work together

🎉 Ready to apply?

If you're excited about the position, e-mail Vince (founders+learningdesign@sparkwise.co) with the subject line: "Application for Learning Design Lead"
Please include (1) an intro, briefly explaining how your own Zone of Genius aligns with what’s outlined above, and (2) a resume (or your LinkedIn, if it’s up to date and showcases your skills and accomplishments).
We can't wait to hear from you!