Member Story – ELTjam

By stuart duncan
27.02.2018


This year, we’re running a monthly feature on one wonderful member. They’ll share what they’ve been getting up to, what they’re passions are and why they choose to use Echo to trade their skills and services for time, not £s.

First up, we say hello to Jo Sayers – Director, Head of Product ELT Jam.

ELTjam… what an intriguing name! Tell us, what do you guys do?

Well, ELT stands for English Language Teaching, and that’s the industry that we do the majority of our work. The ‘Jam’ bit comes from the idea of bringing different specialisms together to create something bigger than the sum of its parts.

We work with learning organisations, publishers, EdTech companies and startups to help them build better learning products in better ways by putting the learner at the centre of the decisions we make in the development process.

To do this we use what we call Learner Experience Design (LXD), an approach that combines a focus on pedagogy, UX, learning content and interaction.

This might be through consultancy, product development, content or project management services. We also run events and conferences and have our blog.

Increasingly though we work outside of ELT now, so the name actually causes a bit of confusion!

How did you discover Echo and what attracted you to join?

We work in the same co-working space called Main Yard Studios and love the concept. Local businesses working together and trading skills that help us all to grow and develop is great. It’s a community we wanted to join. 

As we’ve got to know the Echo team, we’ve become involved in various Echo projects over the last couple of years. Echo Socials are always a fun way to network and meet new people too. I’ve met loads of interesting people who are all willing to share what they know with others. It’s a refreshing crowd!

What kinds of things have you used Echo for?

Earlier in the year, we worked with Echo to co-design and run the Hackney Wick Silver Surfers project as part of their Echo Community Fund. The initiative helped Over 60s in the local area get training and support around using computers and smartphones to access local services and stay in touch with friends and family.

That built us up a bank of Echoes that we have used for photographers such as Will Edgecombe, event spaces, social media helpers for events we run, caterers for delicious lunches, and event videographers like Sylvia Entwistle. It really is such a great source of excellent people with all types of skills.

And, personally, I’ve been using Echo for coaching with Karen Liebunguth and swimming lessons with Immerse; both of which have made a huge impact on my personal development in 2017!

Thinking back, what’s been your favourite Echo experience?

Hmmm, that’s tough! I’d have to say when Echo became a Community Partner for our Innovate EdTech conference at Loughborough University in Hackney Wick.

And, it was great that we were able to work with so many people we’ve met through Echo, either as an Echo trade or for money. It felt great to really utilise the large network and also to save a bit of money by trading the Echoes we’ve been building up.

But probably my favourite experience was my first Echo Social. I helped with the ‘I love Echo because…’ social media competition and in doing so met so many lovely people as I circled the room. I realised then what a brilliant, talented and friendly community I had at my fingertips.

Are you offering anything in the Echo marketplace?

Yes, we are offering LXD consultancy for anyone who is conceptualising or designing learning experiences, on or offline. And we have tickets to our upcoming event in Barcelona for Echoes. 

If you were in charge of Echo for a day, what would you like to see more?

Oooh, tough question again. We do love a party and the ELTjam team enjoy a drink, so maybe some kind of team building day at a local brewery.

Now I think about it, I went to a brewery tour run by Echo members Five Points Brewery last year using my Echoes. It was a fantastic afternoon, I’d happily do something like that again.

What’s 2018 hold for you?

Some of the most enjoyable and rewarding projects we did in 2017 were building and developing experiences that aren’t, on the surface, educational.

For example, we’ve worked with a bank to help its users better understand the implications of the contracts they are signing; we’ve worked designing activities to help recently-retired people find purpose and social engagement; and worked on a project to help small businesses better understand their cyber security vulnerabilities and provide steps to help reduce risk.

Hopefully, 2018 holds a mix of more traditional education work (helping learners in classrooms and online) but also some of these less obviously educational projects. It’s good to have the variety.

Drop us a line if you have a project that is obviously or tangentially educational. We’d be very happy to help you design an effective and enjoyable experience!

We’ve been working with educational organisations and product teams in ELT since 2013. We love helping our clients to create products that are both effective and a joy to use. We specialise in implementing new ways of working designed to get those products to market rapidly. More info about us at eltjam.com