Yilan Tsai — Learning Content Intern

Crave for knowledge and explore!

Welcome to the UNDP career journey podcast brought to you by the Talent Development Unit, part of the Office of Human Resources. Our conversations explore fascinating careers in UNDP and gives an overview on how you can enhance her career experience through continuous learning. I’m Daniel, and today’s conversation is with Ylan. Ylan content intern at TDU is a Taiwanese language educator, and ad tech enthusiasts has worked in Haiti, Brunei, Darussalam, and the US. Ylan, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s a pleasure to have you.

“Thank you for having me Daniel”.

Could you tell us a bit about your experience in Haiti and Darussalam?

“I was in Darussalam in 2012. And then in Haiti from 2015 to 2020. They are both very diverse backgrounds considering the ethnic groups and culture. And I was in Pruning, I was along for an internship for about three months, that I was teaching mentoring at an Middle School. While I was in Haiti, I was conducting an educational program for International Development and Cooperation Fund”.

And tell us, how did you end up at the talent development unit in the United Nations Development Program?

“After my former work in Haiti, I got inspired to learn more advanced knowledge in educational technology and decided to study a Master’s programme in this Master’s programme, I found that I needed an internship opportunity to integrate more of my knowledge. And then I just saw this job posts at UNDP and decided to give it a try. What I’m doing right now in UNDP, is strongly related to the knowledge and theories I’m learning”.

And now as a content intern, could you tell us what your typical work day look like?

“So, working the learning, content creation and editing, I usually start my day with providing the technical support at the LMS Help Desk. Within these LMS Help Desk, we receive emails from all the focal points of all Regional Bureaus, U and V, or [from the] 135 Country Offices, they have either technical issues, or they want to know more about the data of their online learning. And so, we provided them the solutions for their questions. And then I’m also working on implementing the courses and updating the training course contents. And in this sense, then I was researching and interpreting [from a] disciplinary approach of learning experience design for better implementing these kinds of training programs”.

If you look on your career, were there any major learning experiences that you could share with us?

“Yes, I would say my major learning experiences take place in my two master’s studies, I have studied, two master’s programs. The current one that I’m having right now is the second one, which is major in educational technology. And both of them have taken place online. For me learning remotely, has been an interesting journey and has also flip my learning concepts, like how I see learning, and that’s why I got passionate into education technology, because I feel like nowadays, things change so fast, and they’re always new technology. But how do we use these technologies, how to have them assist our experiences, our personal growth is the main targets that I want to get to know more about”.

Now you touch upon the virtual environment and the ever so changing world that we live in, what’s your view on the future of work? How will you define it? And also, what are the skills specifically in your area of work that you think will be or right now or necessary to function in the market?

“I think David was talking about this in the Town Hall Meeting which was…, someone was asking about the idea of the future of workplace and if it would be remotely working. This seems to be very natural to happen regarding the COVID situation right now, and people can’t really move or travel a lot. But at the same time, we should also consider about the cultural sense, do we already have that culture ready to embrace this new future workplace?

I think the skill is to be able to synthesise different approaches or different concepts or different theories together. For example, when we talk about learning experience design, it’s not only about instructional design, it’s not only about the course contents that we design, but we also look deeply into neuroscience, for example, psychology, like these, all these aspects, to be able to help us integrate and to find a better strategy to implement into it”.

What does continuous learning mean to you, you’ve touched upon your learning experiences in specific instances. But if you could define what continuous learning mean to you, is there a specific routine that you do to keep up the learning habits that you have?

“For me, I know that I am always craving for knowledge. But I can also see a little difference and it is that I was looking for these kinds of knowledge in tertiary education like to get a degree. But nowadays, thanks to the technology, we have open resources, MOOCs Coursera, LinkedIn learning, for example, then it’s not necessary to have a degree anymore. Instead of having a degree for a long time, committing to a big, adverse budget for it, we can always go online to these open resources, courses, and websites, to look for what we want. There’s also the idea of the micro learning, which is to have it within a more rapid way, but at the same time still allows you to learn it thoroughly. For me continuous learning will be taking place in these kinds of opportunities within a short time, but at the same time learning profoundly with professional courses”.

Do you think that these micro learnings have any kind of impact on career?

“For me, I’m still exploring, but I noticed that in Career Development, and Leadership Development, they have designed like a learning path for the UNDP personnel for them to acquire more professional knowledge, advanced knowledge with these courses”.

Was there any career advice throughout your life that you received from someone, and you thought that oh, well, this is a wonderful piece of advice?

“Actually not. Because from my cultural background, people tend to be more reserved, and I am a bit too rebellious and too ambitious and in a certain way they sometimes don’t acknowledge what I’m doing. But that also comes with the advice that I always tell to convince myself, which is to keep failing yourself. There could be experiences of others, advices from others, that they give because they want to convince you, but it’s their own experience, not yours, and you’re the one who work on your own path, or explore and who creates your own learning and your own path”.

When it comes to your, like rebellious self. Do you think that this attitude gives you an advantage over others so you can leverage this and implement it into learning or on your career experiences?

“Yes, I think in some ways, even though sometimes it’s difficult, but I’m always curious. So, I always want to step out of where I am to just to explore new things to get new experiences during this process, to step out of the comfort zone, for example, it’s kind of like a challenge. And I like to take new challenges, just to see if I’m reaching the limits of myself. And a series of sayings go as the sky is the limit. So, I haven’t reached the limit yet”.

And when it comes to these new challenges, your current challenge being a content thinker and being here at UNDP. What do you think, is unique about working for UNDP?

“I think the organization itself is very unique to me. Considering being a Taiwanese, we don’t really have much exposure to the UN World. But I’ve learned more and get to know more about people from the UN World when I was working in Haiti. So, for me now working in the organization in UNDP, then it’s broadened my horizon and to see like, for example, flat work culture, diverse colleagues background, and very innovative approaches to the new set of solutions, learning solutions or work methods. These are many things that I’ve found unique”.

On that note, I would like to thank you Ylan. Thank you all for listening. And to listen and access these audio series, you can visit the Talent Development Hub, or the dedicated webpage on the Career Development and Employee Experience pillar website. You can also send in your questions via email to career.development@undp.org.



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