Two men standing separately from each other. One is holding on to a wooden handrail in the background.
Aaron McKenna and John Kilroy, Digital Learning Institute. Image: Conor Healy/Picture It Photography

Dublin’s Digital Learning Institute is hiring to fuel international growth

19 Jul 2023

The Digital Learning Institute has appointed Aaron McKenna, formerly of UCD Professional Academy, as its new CEO to drive growth and nearly double its current team of 15.

The Digital Learning Institute (DLI), which is based in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, has secured €1.8m in funding from a series of investors to enable it to begin expanding its team and its business internationally.

DLI was set up by John Kilroy and Nicola O’Neill in 2021. It employs 15 people and the funding boost will give it the capacity to create 10 additional jobs over the next 12 months. It is currently advertising for a head of partnerships and a chief operating officer. Since it was founded two years ago, the company has grown rapidly and it counts the NHS, Manchester Metropolitan University and Diageo among its clients.

The company works with lots of organisations, including education institutions to help them educate digital learning practitioners.

DLI has plans to scale into the US and UK markets, although much of its current revenue comes from global markets. It has served more than 2,000 learners to date and it covers a variety of topics in the digital education space such as learning design, instructional design, universal design and immersive learning. It also incorporates VR and AR as a means of instruction.

As part of its expansion plans, DLI has also appointed a new CEO, Aaron McKenna. According to Kilroy, McKenna will “spearhead growth”, bringing experience in scaling start-ups and leadership roles in the education sector.

He is the founder and former CEO of the UCD Professional Academy, a university workforce upskilling subsidiary that grew to serve thousands of learners. He also held the position of managing director at the Digital Marketing Institute.

“I am excited to join DLI and contribute to the growth of this dynamic Irish start-up. Coming from a large university, I have had a front-row seat to the disruption and opportunities arising out of the digital transformation of learning. The Digital Learning Institute is leading digital learning education in Ireland, and over the coming months will bring this expertise to a global audience of corporates and education institutions,” said McKenna.

DLI’s funding comes from the Davy EIIS Fund (a joint venture between BDO and Davy), Enterprise Ireland and a group of private investors from the digital learning industry.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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