Getting to Know Roundtable: Employee Spotlight

This week, we sat down with Roundtable’s Maria Pappas to talk about her role, Learning & Development, and industry trends.



What is your job title?

I’m an instructional designer here at Roundtable.


What exactly is that?

Basically, an instructional designer identifies learning or performance gaps, determines the most effective modality for the delivery – designs it, delivers and, then evaluates it!   


Going off of that, what do you for Roundtable?

I’m heavily involved in every step of our design process and work closely with our project manager, scriptwriter, and graphic designers to ensure that we provide an instructionally sound solution for our client.


How did you get into Learning & Development?

Originally my goal was to work in television and or radio, so I pursued my undergraduate degree in telecommunications. I learned the hard way that that market is a tough one to crack…While in pursuit of my “dream job” and while obtaining my undergrad, I worked in the foodservice industry as a server, bartender, and trainer. 

My first corporate job led me to further opportunities to train my peers and eventually facilitate and assist with the development of departmental training–I loved it. I felt like I found my passion. When a full-time trainer position became available in a different department, I applied for it, and I got it. In that role, I was fortunate to be mentored by some very talented individuals where they fostered an environment for continuous learning and growth. With my newfound passion, I chose to pursue my MS in Training and Performance Improvement. And, well, the rest is history! 


What would you say is the most important part of designing learning?

Making sure that the overall lesson is effective. It’s not about the bells and whistles, what’s important is that the lesson is successful and achieves its objective. For example, if you attend a workshop where we learn how to make coffee, the objective [to make coffee] is clear, so the lesson better ensure that you know how to make coffee by the time you leave!


What is a trend in Learning & Development that excites you?

I’m definitely going to have to say VR! It presents a whole new level of opportunity and there are so many more advancements it has yet to undergo. It’s groundbreaking honestly. I am still amazed by the fact that I can be in my living room here and attend a virtual lecture from someone based in Australia.


Finish the sentence. Learning is essential to an organization because…

WHEW! Alright, I have a million things I could say about this. It’s essential for growth. It’s essential for ROI. It breeds loyalty and builds a positive working environment. Training is an investment, but when it is completed, an organization has just armed itself with an educated, smart workforce that strengthens all areas of the company. 


What do you see for the future of Learning & Development?

At a certain point when the economy was down, people weren’t putting value in L&D departments. I think the trend is turning around now. Companies are reinvesting in training and upskilling, and I think we’re headed toward a more blended approach. Things used to be all ILT (instructor-led training), but companies are approaching video, eLearning, and VR for blended learning experiences. I also think the future of L&D will be about finding new creative ways to present information, for example, virtual reality and social learning will be huge. I think companies will focus on implementing some sort of internal social learning network to encourage discussion and collaborative learning. It’s all points to a pretty exciting for L&D!


What is something you have done in this role this year that you are proud of?

I applied and was selected to facilitate a break-out session at the GCATD Power of Possibilities. My session was titled “In Front of our Facebooks: Utilizing Social Media for Performance Support.” It was my first time facilitating at a conference, and I hope to get the opportunity to do it again soon!