Diving In to the ID Culture

 Prior to January 25, 2021, I planned for a substitute teacher for my seventh grade English classes (which any teacher knows is no small task), so that I could spend the day getting a strong start on my new IDOL Courses journey as a member of the sixth cohort. I was ready to do this! However, in the following days and weeks, attempting to juggle my teacher workload with IDOL modules and creating assets seemed impossible. It was easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by my lack of knowledge and experience. I definitely wrestled with “perfection paralysis”, as validated so beautifully by Tabatha Dragonberry in her blog article from April 2, 2021.

I felt like a clumsy, awkward teenager trying to learn a new dance, a new style, and even a new language. I was attempting to blend in with a new culture, but in looking around, realized how much I still needed to learn before I could become a genuine part of this IDOL culture.

It was not long before I discovered the Become an IDOL Podcast. Being a sort-of podcast junkie, I subscribed and began listening from the first episode. It quickly became my routine to listen to a podcast episode on my 30-minute drive home from work every day. I felt as though this 30-minute listening period was like a feast! I devoured the knowledge being communicated as if it was a delicious cuisine in the IDOL world that I want so much to be part of. 

One afternoon, as I was listening to Dr. Robin Sargent interviewing Monica Cornetti in Episode 25: “Gamification of Workplace Learning”, I thought back to my first week in the cohort when I heard that term for the first time. I had no idea what gamification was! But as I listened to this episode, I got excited as I found myself saying, “Oh, I get it!” and I could think of several examples of this type of learning I have already experienced. My next thought was that it felt like I am learning the IDOL dance, language, and culture through the process of immersion.

According to, “immersion learning refers to any education approach that teaches by placing a student directly in an environment.” You may have heard of learning a second language through the immersion process. Being immersed in listening, speaking, writing, and reading of the language will enhance and solidify the learning process. I am convinced that if I want to “become an IDOL”, what I need is to immerse myself in the culture.

Embrace the power of LinkedIn!

The best way to immerse yourself in a new culture is to become involved with the people in that culture. I am becoming involved on LinkedIn which provides a non-intrusive environment in which we can connect and learn from others who are part of the ID culture. I have found that the ID world is full of kind, welcoming, brilliant individuals who are enthusiastic to share and connect.  

Podcasts and ID YouTube channels can be listened to just about any time, anywhere. 

  • Listen to the brilliant mind of an ID from MIT, Dr. Luke Hobson, as he shares his journey and expertise from the classroom to online learning to higher education. 

In our high-tech, visually stimulating world, it is awesome that BOOKS are enduring the test of time!

During my spring break I read the first book in my IDOL library: The eLearning Designer’s Handbook by Tim Slade and was inspired by his story of “falling into eLearning.” It is apparent to me that his “fall” led to an immersion in the ID culture and now he is a leader in the industry.

Other books on my “to-read” list include:

  • The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
  • Multimedia Learning by Richard Mayer
  • Graphic Design for Everyone by Cath Caldwell

IDOL Courses Academy

Of course, it goes without saying that IDOL Courses Academy is its own immersive learning environment, providing us, as members, with an endless supply of resources and opportunities for growth. Star Peterson recently described her accelerated IDOL journey with Dr. Robin Sargent in Episode 38 of Become an IDOL Podcast. As I listened to Star tell her story, it was evident to me that her drive to immerse herself in the IDOL culture has led to her success. 

Becoming an IDOL

The more I read, watch, listen to, and write about the IDOL culture, the more comfortable it feels to be part of it. I believe this may be what Tim Slade meant in his handbook when he said, “Fake it until you become it.” Immersion may be the most authentic way to fake it.  

Janette is a rising instructional designer who is finding her place in the ID culture. She recently resigned from her 11-year public school teaching career and is looking forward to the opportunities that await her in the field of Instructional Design. 

Connect with Janette on LinkedIn. You can view her portfolio as soon as she builds it. In the meantime, she is back to studying “perfection paralysis”. 


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