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Overcoming ID A.D.D.

#becomeanidol #elearning #idolcourses #instructionaldesign #learningexperiencedesigner #motivation #networking #teachers Apr 16, 2020

I was first introduced to instructional design from 2012 to 2013. I was part of my hospital's CAPE Program. I can't even remember how I got involved with the program, but this was where I met my first instructional designer Jeff Sestokas. He was an amazing and knowledgeable person who introduced me to Storyline 2 and had an extra license code to give me through the program. He was my first ID mentor. I was working on my first master’s degree at the time, and I played with Storyline 2 to make a final project for one of the classes. Articulate has come along a long way with their 360 products. When I played around back then, I never really realized what I was doing or where it would lead.

Fast forward to now, I have added a master's in instructional design and technology to this costly brain of mine, and I have gone to mentor from mentee while having my mentor by Robin Sargent of IDOL Courses.

I have connected with other people along the way to help me grow like Lance Eaton from Julie Dirksen’s Facebook Group Design for How People Learn. (If you haven’t read her book, you should). I have been able to engage with so many knowledgeable people who have helped me grow professionally. So, my first tip is to find a group of people who will support you on your ID journey for me this has been the IDOL Academy and the various people who are falling into my path like Dr. Nicole Papaioannou and new to the list Anna Sabramowicz . Reach out to people on LinkedIn and go live. I had had the opportunity to talk to Aaron King and Elizabeth Leiba, who were people who fell into my path at the right moment when I was embarking on my own self-discovery and opportunities. 

In helping newer instructional designers, I have noticed one thing: ID A.D.D. I have found many new IDs have a hard time staying focused or trying to do too much at once. If you have this overwhelming feeling you are a bouncing ball in a room hitting all the walls or have what I call the squirrel factor where you are working on something, and someone introduces to a new product or idea (BOOM squirrel) you change your focus ..... you suffer from what I have coined as ID A.D.D. This causes you never to finish anything. Do you have several half-finished projects? Believe me, I know there is so much when you are getting started in the industry. You want to develop engaging and sound learning, but then you are trying to figure out what tools to use and where you should place your focus. 

Over the last four years, I have consumed countless hours of information from books, webinars, videos, lessons, and talking to people. When I have done this, it was very purposeful. I was working or wanting to grow my skills in X. This is important..... don't get distracted by the bells and whistles. When you are searching for information and find something new or exciting, take note of it. I use Evernote to collect my reading materials and organize my ideas. I create folders with the categories of articles I find along the way I want to revisit when the time is right. If I changed focus every time something popped into my searches or was told about something, I would never get anything done. 

 Verbalize and make yourself a timeline .... do I say ......set yourself a realistic deadline. 

Goals are dreams with deadlines ~ Diana Scharf

Assign a deadline to your biggest objectives and stick to it, so they don't become just another litany of "what ifs" and sad regret ~ Carroll Wallace

Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to work on an asset or your portfolio. I have found when I am learning something new; I double the time I think it will take me to learn it to set my deadline. If I beat the deadline WIN, but this helps me from getting discouraged when I am overcoming technology and growing skills.

The biggest tip I have is you need to invest in yourself. Anna Sabramowicz went live on LinkedIn in a post titled how the free trial is killing your career. Whichever tool you choose .... master it and don't just go 'free trial deep.' Ok, you are thinking but Tabatha the software is expensive. A subscription to Articulate 360 is $2.74 a day or $83.25 a month for the year subscription. I don't know about you, but I spend more than $2.74 a day on coffee or more than $83.25 going out to eat each month. The difference is you have to invest in yourself upfront for the whole year. Adobe Captivate has a different payment model where you can pay monthly for $33.99 a month. Believe me, I understand not having the $1000 to pay upfront for the year, but if you only go free trial deep, you lose momentum, and it's harder to grow your skills. If you can afford the $33.99 Adobe Captivate subscription go for it and master the tool because, really, it is only a tool. If you land a job where you have to use different software, you will have the foundational knowledge in developing and building already and can learn the software you need to. 

Don't be scared to get feedback. My friend Molly Parsons went from hating feedback back to craving it. She talks about it in her blog post 'How I learned to Love Feedback and you can, too.' You need to put yourself out there. Feedback is what helps you grow. Take the feedback you receive, synthesize the information, and apply it.


In summary, to overcome ID A.D.D, you need to do the following:

  1. Find a support system/mentor
  2. Connect with others
  3. Get focused
  4. Set your goals with deadlines
  5. Invest in yourself
  6. Master a tool 
  7. Put yourself out there 
  8. Get feedback
  9. Apply feedback 
  10. Flourish 


Written by: Tabatha Dragonberry


Connect with Tabatha on LinkedIn or Instagram.

Tabatha is an EdTech entrepreneur, instructional designer, content writer, and educator dedicated to developing interactive and engaging learning ecosystems. She has a passion for gamification, learning experience design, and the integration of social learning to improve learner engagement and knowledge retention. Also, she is a respiratory therapist who hosts The Vent Room podcast providing a little inspiration to respiratory therapists.