Data Points

13. What's New in Online Learning?

Data Points
13. What's New in Online Learning?

In this episode, you'll hear a bit about what's going on within the Online Learning team. First, Michelle Spisak tells us about the monthly learning newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here!

Then, you'll hear from Jaising Pasten about his journey, his experiences since joining the team, and some of the items he's worked on recently. One of them, which he mentions, is a Provider Directory video about navigation and search. HealthShare customers can view it here:

For more information about Data Points, visit



Derek Robinson    00:00:02    Welcome to Data Points, a podcast by InterSystems Learning Services. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast app. Links can be found at I'm Derek Robinson. And on today's episode, we're chatting with Michelle Spisak and Jaising Pasten, two of my colleagues on the Online Learning team, for a look inside Online Learning. 

Derek Robinson   00:00:43    Welcome to Episode 13 of Data Points by InterSystems Learning Services. Today's episode is the first in what may be a recurring type of episode every once in a while, called What's New in Online Learning? The idea behind an episode like this one is to take a look behind the scenes of the Online Learning team as we build content and work on projects aimed to better equip learners of our technology. In the first half of the episode, I'll talk to Michelle Spisak, an Instructional Designer on the team, about the monthly learning newsletter. Then I'll chat with fellow course developer Jaising Pasten, about what his experiences have been since joining the Online Learning team after spending several years in the InterSystems Chile office, working on TrackCare, learning, and implementation. So without further ado, here's Michelle.  

Derek Robinson    00:01:26    All right, and welcome to the podcast, Michelle Spisak, Instructional Designer here at InterSystems. Michelle, how's it going?

Michelle Spisak: It's good, Derek, how are you doing?

Derek Robinson: I'm doing great. We're very happy to have you on for a little bit different of an episode today. We're really focusing within Learning Services and talking about some of the things that we have going on. So obviously you have, you know, a lot of different responsibilities in your role here at InterSystems in the Learning Services team as an Instructional Designer, but we're going to focus today on your role with the Learning Services newsletter. So first question kind of just for the audience that may not be familiar with it and may not know what it is, tell us what the Learning Services newsletter is and why we began offering it in the first place.  

Michelle Spisak    00:02:02    Yeah, so the newsletter is just basically a way for our clients and partners to stay up to date with what Learning Services is coming out with. So on the Online team, we're always coming out with new videos and learning paths, and other things like that. Documentation has been working really hard to modernize their website and make it even easier for people to find what they really need, really quickly. And so we just want to make sure that people know about everything that they're doing there. And then finally, in the classroom with all the changes that we've had lately with, you know, quarantine and policy changes at a federal and also local level, we want to make sure that people know exactly what our policies are in terms of the classroom offerings that we have, and also classes that are coming up so that they know, you know, new ways that they can learn. And so once a month, what we try to do is put out this newsletter, just letting everybody know, you know, everything we have going on, because like I said, it's a lot. 

Derek Robinson    00:03:04    Yeah. And I think that serves an important purpose because I think for a lot of developers and end users of our software, they might group together all three of those groups you just said, right? Like Classroom Training, Documentation, Online Learning...a little bit of a look behind the curtain. You know, those are different groups. And so this is an important thing to consolidate information from those sources. So very cool. So the newsletter started about four years ago, and so I know over time that's developed, it's gained some subscribers. We had a few things with like GDPR and you had to change some lists, lots of evolution over the course of time, but what are some of the recent improvements that you've made this year to be able to make it more effective for the recipients of that newsletter?  

Michelle Spisak    00:03:42    Yeah. Like you said, we've been doing a lot lately in terms of kind of slimming it down, streamlining it. We used to include like pretty substantial descriptions of all the different resources so that people had an exact idea of what we were offering, but we found that that's not really necessary for people to know whether or not they want to check out a resource. So what we try to do is make it as easy as possible for people to find, you know, "Oh, this is a video that I'm definitely gonna want to know about. I really need to know more about, you know, FHIR APIs or whatever."  And so we started really streamlining it, first of all, putting, you know, the things that we think will be most popular up front. And then also from time to time, we've kind of brought in another voice, like for example Jim Breen, the director of Learning Services worldwide, has provided an intro, just a little letter, so that he can kind of speak directly to our clients and partners and say like, "Hey, this is, you know, what we're doing. We know everybody's facing a lot of uncertainty right now, but you know, we're trying to keep people informed about Learning Services and always bring new information to everybody about our products and technologies. So that's kind of what we've done so far. In the future, what we'd really like to do is continue to modernize the newsletter, you know, kind of update the look and feel a little bit. So subscribers will definitely start to see a little bit more in terms of fun features, new ways that they can engage with the newsletter. Instead of just, you know, reading it, here's a way that you can interact with it a little bit more. So we're trying a couple different things and it's panned out so far. People seem to really be responding well. So yeah, hopefully that continues. 

Derek Robinson    00:05:32    Nice. Yeah, that's great. And I mean, I think for anybody who's familiar with the website, there's a ton of content on there, right? Like there's lots of past Global Summit presentations and videos and courses and, you know,  we have so much content on there that sometimes it might not be easy to actually identify quickly, like what's new, like what has changed maybe, what some new topic that I might be interested in. So I think newsletter is a great way to distill that for people to understand what they might be missing if they haven't been on the Learning site in a month or something like that, you know.

Michelle Spisak: That's exactly it!  

Derek Robinson  00:06:07 So speaking of that, with this month's newsletter, what are some of the cool things that people might be interested in, some of the other, any ones that particularly jump out at you for content that you included in this one? 

Michelle Spisak    00:06:15    Yeah, so absolutely. I mentioned you know, that we're trying new features to help people kind of get engaged. One of the things that we tried this month is to, and, we'll continue it in the future, is to provide a spot for people to contribute what we're calling their "quick wins." So little ways that they found, little tips and tricks that they found, that are helpful for using InterSystems products and technologies that they want to share. There's always space for this in the Developer Community, you know, to share your little tips and tricks and stuff, but we would love to start including some of those in the newsletter so that readers can get just, you know, alongside all of the updates about, you know, what we're doing lately, here's also something from your peers who are saying, "This is how I've used InterSystems technology to help me in my job." 

Derek Robinson Nice! 

Michelle Spisak    00:07:08    Right. Yeah. So that should be a fun thing that we're starting now.  We'd love to get feedback on that, anybody's stories out there. And then also there's lots of videos this month. New videos about new technology that we think is really gonna help people, like InterSystems Reports. There's a couple of videos on Provider Directory. There's actually one use-case video that's really cool that shows an automated receipt processor, which might not be directly relevant to everybody in their position, but it's cool to see how people are using InterSystems technology in their own jobs. And maybe there are ways that it can spur on, you know, new ideas. 

Derek Robinson    00:07:47    Right. Nice, nice. That's a lot of interesting stuff for people, both, you know, heavy users of our products and also people that maybe are newer and evaluating and just kind of looking at it and exploring it. So I think that's a lot of good content. All right. So last question. How can we subscribe to the newsletter, and also, what can we expect in the future from the newsletter going forward?  

Michelle Spisak    00:08:05    So, first of all, to subscribe to the newsletter, we'll put a link in the show notes so that people can just very easily just click to subscribe. There's also a little link on If you go there and just click Learning News on the home page, it's just a really quick and easy way to get there. So we try to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up. And then in terms of things that people can expect to see, I touched on this a little bit, we're going to be updating the look and feel again to just kinda modernize things, make it, you know, even more pleasing to look at every month. And then also we're always looking for feedback. So if there are things that people want to see more of or, you know, new features that they think would be cool, we're happy to provide that. In the past we've done kind of a who's who of Learning Services, let people see, you know, who are actually the people who are creating all of the material that they read.  If you want to see something like that or something else that you think would be interesting, we're always looking for feedback, again. So feel free to shoot us a quick email about that. 

Derek Robinson    00:09:10    Yeah, for sure. All feedback and all suggestions are welcome.

Michelle Spisak    Yes, absolutely.

Derek Robinson   So Michelle, thanks so much for joining us, and we'll talk to you soon! 

Michelle Spisak    00:09:16    Yeah. Thanks Derek.  

Derek Robinson    00:09:22    Thanks to Michelle for taking the time there. Next we have Jaising. I recap Jaising's journey a bit in the opening question here, but he definitely has an interesting story, and I believe he's actually the first guest we've had on whose first language is not English. So lots of credit to him for being willing to join us. I think he did a great job. Here's my interview with Jaising. 

Derek Robinson    00:09:45    Alright, so welcome to the podcast Jaising Pasten, Online Course Developer here at InterSystems. Jaising, how's it going?

Jaising Pasten Very good! What about you?

Derek Robinson: Pretty good, thanks. And we're happy to have you on, your first time doing a podcast here, probably a little blend of nervousness and excitement, I'm guessing.

Jaising Pasten Yeah. Both of them.

Derek Robinson: For sure. So to give the listeners a little bit of background, Jaising, you joined the team about a year ago, I think, or maybe a little bit less, the Online Learning team here at InterSystems, is that right?

Jaising Pasten: In November.

Derek Robinson:  In November, it'll be one year. So, and you spent the past five years or so in Chile at the InterSystems office in Chile, and you were working on a lot of implementation stuff, being able to create training for the people doing implementations of InterSystems products. And one thing that you started to get into was Learning Services material in a way, but you didn't really have the budget for it in Chile, being kind of a one-man show. So tell us a little bit about what that was like briefly, and then also what it's been like transitioning to the Cambridge office, where you're actually now part of a full Learning Services team with resources and processes at your disposal.

Jaising Pasten:  Yeah, well actually, I think it's a very huge change. I began with InterSystems, sorry, with Learning Services in Chile, with zero budget, but it's just because I tried to resolve a problem with the training in Chile. Nobody are prepared to do the training in Chile, so I talk with my manager at the moment and we discuss about it and he told me that, "yeah, go ahead," but I don't have money for it. So yeah, I receive an offer for, it takes a lot, maybe a year or more, and that's the way I arrived to Boston. And it was a very huge change because as I told you, I never worked with budget. So here, for example, the things that you have now, podcasts, the license, all are considered are like a basic thing. I didn't have it. 

Derek Robinson  00:11:56  Right, right. Nice. So, being able to leverage some of the software tools and, and kind of things that we've built into place, that can make the job a whole heck of a lot easier than doing everything yourself from design to production, to reviewing and releasing, right?

Jaising Pasten    00:12:09    Yeah. Well, that's another big change for me because all the Learning Service Chile was I (laughs).

Derek Robinson  Right, right!

Jaising Pasten 00:12:20  So now we have a very entire process, a powerful. Someone can review your job. I think it's very good. For example, when we have the ID review or text review. People that maybe don't know the product, that the way that we know, see the video or see the script and, and define if it's understandable. And actually for me, it's even better because you know, English is not my first language. I feel they're safe if someone seeing my job and, and define, because it's not the same, it's not the same when you talk or in your mind you think that the course and someone read that, sometimes different.

Derek Robinson    00:13:10    Right. Yeah. That was going to be one of my questions with, you know, you've mentioned before, you've you mentioned even before we started recording to me, you mentioned that English isn't your first language, and that is one of the adjustments you have to make in this move to the U.S. office, the move to a team that is fully really only speaking in English. And so it sounds like you kind of mentioned the text and ID reviews. Those are a couple of things that are, you know, course development lingo for us, but sort of the reviewing of the language and the writing in a video script that you might write, or a course section or an exercise. And it sounds like those are a couple of things that have really helped you as well.  

Jaising Pasten    00:13:49    Yeah, well, I say that not only for me, I mean, I don't speak English. I mean, I speak English, but it's not my first language. But even for the rest of the team, it's a good idea to have this process when someone can see your job because, it's not just, we're a worldwide company. We need that our job, our work be very good and enough. And if we need to review more than one time, it's fine. I think the process, it's a new experience for me, but all this process was syncing in a way that all the, all the parts work together. I cannot work without the Production team or the people who reviewed our script or, and so on. So I think the most important thing about Learning Service is that we work like a team.  

Derek Robinson    00:14:57    And so, so it sounds like a lot of those things have been able to help, you know, take what you were doing before and as a one-man operation really, and be able to implement it and kind of continue to work in the way that you really enjoy working, which is designing learning content and really paving a path for a learner to understand a topic, but having a lot more processes and tools and resources and teammates at your disposal. So that's really cool. 

Jaising Pasten    00:15:23     And, and actually another thing that I think I can help, I have another view because one of the things that most of the people say about the Learning Services, we work just for U.S. And that, I think that has been my value here. I always say that we are a worldwide learning service, so we need to be like a worldwide learning service. So I have been helping people translate some courses, adding closed captions in Spanish. Even I have been like a connector with people in South America with the U.S. because they contact me directly because it's easier. You know, it's not just the way that you talk. People in Latin America know me, so I be a contact for the rest of the Learning team. Actually, I speak both Spanish and Portuguese, so people from Brazil have contacted me to help them.  

Derek Robinson    00:16:35    Right. Yeah. And you're really kind of one of the only people on the team that has those connections to those areas of the world. So I think it's pretty cool to be able to step into that role. Last question here, just kind of shifting a little bit to maybe some stuff that you've been working on recently, just to give a little bit of light into kind of, you know, we, we have a bunch of course developers in our team and I think I'll, some of them have been on this podcast before and others will be joining us in future episodes to talk about what they work on. As I mentioned, I talked with Michelle before about what she's worked on. So what's a recent project that you've been working on and are kind of really interested in and might be able to share a little sneak peek of, of why it's important and what's been exciting about it? 

Jaising Pasten    00:17:15   My first course here was the Starting and Stopping the HealthShare. I need to confess that I didn't have experience in HealthShare because in Chile, I used to work with TrackCare. But I have been receiving a lot of help from you, from my manager, and all the team, to learn new features. And well, now I'm working with HealthShare too. And well, I currently working in Provider Directory, making different videos. Actually, I released the
Provider Directory Navigation and Search, where I show how to move through the Provider Directory. It's a very, overview video, but it's the first step if you don't know or you aren't familiar with the program. So we are going to have the entire first steps for Provider Directory in, I think in one month. 

Derek Robinson    00:18:25    Yeah. Great. That's awesome. So, good to see that after doing a lot of TrakCare, you can dive into new technologies and new products and be able to learn from colleagues. And I think it's one thing InterSystems does a great job of is having people within the company be very willing to lend a helping hand and be able to help people get up to speed on a topic when they really need to. So that's great to hear.  

Jaising Pasten    Yeah. Actually, I like to learn new features, or new software. Actually, I am very interested, interesting in learn about machine learning and artificial intelligence. And I think it's a new thing that is going to be the future for InterSystems too.

Derek Robinson   00:19:08  Definitely. I agree. So Jaising Pasten, thanks so much for joining us, and we'll talk to you soon.

Jaising Pasten  Thank you.

Derek Robinson   00:19:16   So hopefully you guys enjoyed this episode, a little bit of a look behind the curtain at the Online Learning team and what's going on. Make sure to not only subscribe to the podcast, if you haven't already, but to subscribe to the newsletter Michelle talked about earlier. That'll do it for episode 13. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time on Data Points. 

Brought to you by InterSystems Learning Services of Data Points