Elevate your instructional design expertise.

Stay ahead with industry news and discover valuable tips and tricks on the IDOL Blog.

Become an IDOL 72: Success Story with Former Teacher Jennifer Berman

#careertransition #corporateinstructionaldesigner #formerteacher #idolacademy #idoljourney #instructionaldesign #instructionaldesigner #virtualteaching Dec 16, 2022

Guest: Jennifer Berman,  Instructional Designer

In this episode, I will be chatting with Jennifer Berman, an IDOL course Academy member who transitioned into an Instructional Designer in just 14 weeks. She worked for 17 years in Elementary Education when becoming the primary virtual teacher inspired a love for online learning. She tells how IDOL gave her the skills, feedback and goal setting that she needed to make such a quick transition. Listen in to hear how her corporate role compares to teaching! 

Listen to this episode below:


Subscribe to Become an IDOL Podcast: Apple Podcast | Spotify | Google Podcast

Let me tell you a little bit about Jennifer:
Jennifer taught elementary school for 17 years and obtained her Masters degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. At first she thought about a career in Administration. During the pandemic after virtual teaching decided on a different route. IDOL courses Academy gave her just what she needed to feel prepared to make the transition from teaching to corporate ID. Her biggest tip is to set goals, believe that you can accomplish those goals, and persevere despite the challenges faced. Now, she is a corporate Instructional Designer and LOVING it!!! 


Connect with Jennifer:  LinkedIn

Enjoy the Episode Transcript below: 

Robin Sargent: I have here with me today, Jennifer Berman. And Jennifer is an idol success story. And I'm so excited to hear her story just like I'm sure you are. And so Jennifer, will you please do a better job of introducing yourself? Tell us about who you are. And your in your career background?

Jennifer Berman: Yes, well, first of all, thank you, Dr. Robin, for letting me have this opportunity. I'm really excited to be here and to be talking with you today. Just very grateful to have this opportunity. So I have a background in elementary education, I was a teacher for about 17 years, and taught elementary education all the way from kindergarten all the way to fourth grade. And that was a very long career, I thought that was going to be like my forever career, I guess you could say. And I got my master's degree about 10 years ago, and kind of with the thought in mind that I would go into school administration, probably. And then once I started learning more about what that entails, I decided that wasn't for me. So I still had my master's degree wasn't sure what to do with that, other than pay off a lot of student loans. And so I ended up during COVID, I was the virtual, I taught virtually, of course, but then once the kids came back face to face, I ended up being the virtual teacher for my grade level for that following year as well. And I, you know, everybody else around me was kind of like, oh, gosh, virtual teaching, I can't stand it. And I thought, oh my gosh, you know, I kind of like this. It's fun. And I was learning so much during the process of, you know, teaching myself how to teach virtually teaching myself, how to get extra techie and learn all the things I needed to learn to be successful in that position. And COVID was a rough time. And I know I'm not alone when I say that, it made me really rethink my career and my life. So that kind of started me down the path of thinking, what else can I do besides teach? And I really was under the impression and I don't know why. But I think a lot of teachers are and were under that impression that there aren't many other careers, but you chose teaching. And that's just what you're going to do. There's really nothing else you can do career wise, especially nothing else that you could get paid more and treated more professional. So I started researching and came across instructional design. And I don't remember where or how I found it. But I did. And through research and through just like getting on LinkedIn and talking to people I started hearing about, like the idol Academy. And I thought, gosh, what is this? I have no idea. But I'm going to find out. And I was hearing so many good things about IDL. And I thought, Okay, well, let's, let's look into this, this might be a possibility. And in the back of my mind, I was always a little skeptical and a little just, I didn't believe that it actually could happen. Not in the beginning. Anyway, I thought, Oh, this is just something I'll learn it. And I'll get lucky. Maybe if I get a position somewhere. So long story short, I enrolled in ITIL courses Academy with cohort 10. So back in April of last year, this year, this year it see that's how long ago. Okay, so cohort 10 was April not that long ago. Okay. And we're in October. Yeah. In April, I enrolled in cohort 10. And immediately just hit the ground running with the duet messy. And that that was That was rough. But it was amazing. I learned so much in such a short time during that due at messy time. And I got everything up and running, got myself all ready to go. And from there I just kept going built my portfolio and my assets in my portfolio. They weren't that great to begin with. I was getting feedback. I was finding out that there were a lot of things I was doing what I needed to to fix and that feedback was very valuable, especially in the beginning to really help me refine what I was doing and understand how to create the assets that I need. needed to make my portfolio standout. So pretty shortly after I enrolled in Idol courses, I started applying for jobs, like I and I had heard from some of the mentors and some other idols in the academy that, you know, if you're looking to have a position by August, you know, you have to start applying many months in advance, because in the corporate world, you know, things work a little slower. And I had no idea what that even meant. But I thought, Okay, well, let's try and I did I started applying. I don't know how many places I applied to I really have. I don't know, I didn't go back and check. But I know it was a lot. You know, there was some weeks, I would apply to 10 or 20 companies. Some weeks, I'd apply to two. But between April and the time I got hired and the position I'm in now, it was 14 weeks. That was it.

Robin Sargent: Whoa, let's just pause for just a moment. Like the cohorts, they only last for eight weeks. But as you know, you go, you can join other ones. So you finished one cohort. And then just a couple of weeks later, that's when you were hired.

Jennifer Berman: Yeah, I was hired on July 15. And so it was for Yeah, I looked back, it was only 14 weeks, between the time I started idle, and started applying and just putting my portfolio together till the time I got hired. I had started interviewing for the position I'm I actually ended up getting, I started interviewing for this position in the beginning of June. So it was a very, very short timeframe. And I definitely was not expecting it to be that quick. But I think back to what you were telling us, Dr. Robin, and all of the sessions I attended, and the mentor sessions and all of the communication I was getting from everybody and idol was telling me that, you know, trust the process, do what we tell you to do. And, and it will work and well, you know what, you guys were right. It did. And it was very, it was very challenging at times to balance working full time. And you know, being a mom and attending idol courses and, and putting my best work out there. It was really challenging at times. But you know, I did late nights and early mornings and the weekends, and I made it work. And I you know, I had, I had decided that this is what I was wanting to do. And you know, one thing that I believe really did help. And I think this is something that, you know, I want to share this for anybody listening? Who is, you know, sitting there going, I don't know, is this possible? Is this real? Can this happen to me? And I mean, the answer is absolutely yes. Because one of the activities or the assignments you had us do Dr. Robin was create that big idol goal. Yeah. And I wrote it out. I typed it out on the little template on Canva. And, you know, made it all pretty. And I listed a date that I would have that goal completed and the date was July 15.

Robin Sargent: Shut the front door. Oh my gosh.

Jennifer Berman: Yes. And that. And I actually got a phone call saying that I was hired for this position. On July 15. The day that I had set as my, my goal to have this position. I couldn't believe it. And you know, I had written that goal, like in the beginning of April, like in the beginning of the cohort. And thinking okay, let me pick a date. That just sounds good. July 15. That sounds great. Okay, it gives me plenty of time. And I, you know, my requirements were, you know, a specific salary that I was, that was like a dream salary that I didn't really think I would get, but I thought you know what, if we're going big, we're going big. So I did, I said it much higher than I thought I would ever really get. I asked for things in my goal, like, you know, just to have an employer that respects my opinion, and respects me as a professional treats me as a professional, all of these things that I really wanted that I had been wanting for a very long time in my career. And I got the call on the day that I had set as my goal. And I thought, oh my gosh, that is that's unbelievable. That you know, and I have that goal printed out sitting next to my computer where I sat every single day working in idle and you know through the blood, sweat and tears and just pushing myself to make it happen and every day I looked at that goal, it was right there in front of me. And then it happened. So I just want to, you know, share that, because I don't think it's a coincidence. I think that the hard work and effort and the believing it, believing that it was possible, I manifested that and made it happen.

Robin Sargent: 100%. And what's really unique about the whole thing, Jennifer, is that you are not the first one to say that you meet it on the exact same date. That's how real that's why every time somebody says that it happens on the exact same date, they put on their goals. I just get the shivers because like an uncanny amount. Okay, well, now, you mentioned your salary. Did you reach your salary goal?

Jennifer Berman: I did. Wow. Yes. i It actually is a little more than what I been what I wanted. Well, yes, yes. I mean, and when they when I got the phone call, I was at the pool with my daughter that day, when I got the phone call. And I saw the phone rang, and I thought, oh, gosh, she's this. And it was this organization, they called and said, You, we're offering you this position, and here's the salary. And when they said it, I just My jaw dropped, I couldn't believe it. And my daughter was right there next to me. And she was like, what's going on? I'm like I was, I was just in disbelief. I couldn't believe that they weren't going to offer me this position with this organization. And with that salary, I was blown away. And yeah, so I exceeded my expectation.

Robin Sargent: What's your actual title? Jennifer. 

Jennifer Berman: Instructional Designer

Robin Sargent: Oh, I love it. And then I know, you haven't mentioned the company name. And I imagine you have reasons for that. But can you tell us the type of company?

Jennifer Berman: It's in the medical industry?

Robin Sargent: Okay. And so you've already started and you started working? So what kind of, what kind of things are you building?

Jennifer Berman: Yes. So they hired me as an instructional designer. But I haven't done a lot of like actual instructional design work. Most of it is eLearning Development. And actually, I'm kind of happy about that, I really do enjoy that the most. One of the things I forgot to mention is, you know, they, they hired me and told me, Look, we know you're not familiar with all of the software yet, we know you don't know everything yet. And we know you have a lot to learn. So we want to give you these first few months to let you really absorb it all, do tutorials, learn everything you need to learn that you don't know yet. And you know, we're going to build that buffer of time and for your skin in your schedule every day. And so I've had that, you know, great opportunity to, you know, I sit for a good portion of my day, if I'm not creating something, I'm learning about how to create something better, and how to be a better designer, how to incorporate graphic design, and get better at that as well. So, so so far, I've I've done some courses in Storyline. I've done some courses in rise, I've created, you know, some fliers and just that kind of thing that goes out to the the employees. I've learned a lot about the LMS and a managing a lot of LMS stuff. So that's interesting, because I hadn't really had that experience before. But yeah, I've designed a lot of courses, what what I'm finding is that they have a lot of PowerPoint presentations that they want to take and recreate in Storyline. And so I'm doing a lot of that as well.

Robin Sargent: Converting those courses. So what was the thing that kind of now that you've been in your role for a couple of months? What is the thing that surprised you now that you actually became an idol?

Jennifer Berman:  I I don't feel like I'll be in trouble if I ask for help. Or if I don't have something. And as a teacher I did, I did feel like that, that I had to do everything myself. I had to figure it out myself and do it fast. And so coming here and into corporate has been a big learning experience for me personally, to really remind myself daily that it's okay to ask for help. They want you to ask for help. Remember to ask for help and at least, you know, put yourself out there so I'm having to you know, kind of retrain my brain in that way. Everything else, I feel like ITIL prepared me really well for all of the things that I have to do in my in my job I the eLearning Development, I feel good about that. And I feel you know, the more you practice it, the better you get the instructional design principles and components. I feel really good about that as well. Again, I haven't had a lot of practice with that here yet. But I think it's coming. And so that's exciting. I don't feel like there's any real big surprises as far as like the work they're having me do. You know, there have been some some difficult SME's and that kind of thing. And you know what, it's really been interesting. And again, a big learning experience.

Robin Sargent: Jennifer, this has been an incredible story. You've given me all the feels, especially when you started talking about how you not only reach your goal on the exact date, you got more than you could have hoped for in your salary. And yet, what I think is probably like such a relief for you has to be that they truly respect you as a professional. And not only that, they are investing in you by having you take time out of your salary day, to go and continue to Upskill and Invest in yourself. So I just, I'm just so happy for you. And I want you to share I know you've shared a lot of tips, but what is your best and final advice for those who want to become an idol?

Jennifer Berman: Yes, number one, more than anything, believe that you can do it. Because if you believe it, it will happen. And I think that is key to anything in life. But especially this, everybody will tell you what's possible. Everybody tells you you can do it. But you have to tell yourself, yes, it's possible. Yes, I can do it. And then make it happen. And it will happen.

Robin Sargent: Were there times where you really had to tell yourself like, believe in yourself, even like when it was hard, and you kept getting all this feedback. And what was it that kept you going?

Jennifer Berman: Well, the thing that kept me going, you know, I again, I go back to that, you know, big idol goal, I had that hanging up right next to me every day, knowing that that was what I was working toward, and trusting the process. Also, you had us write on little sticky notes, little post, it said my name is an instructional designer. And I did that I wrote like 10 of those. I stuck them all over the house. So everywhere I looked, I would see it. I think I still have some of them hanging up some. But I had those all over the house and on every mirror all over everywhere I go. And I would see that. And you know, just every day seeing that so many times that repetition, starting to believe it. It's not easy. No. But it is definitely a possibility if you work toward it, and it will happen. And the other thing I think that drove me, it kind of just lit that fire under me to get me toward that goal was knowing that the alternative was not something I was willing to do that alternative of going back to the classroom when school started. So that wasn't an alternative for me.

Robin Sargent: That's, that's a great point, right? All of this is great. Like no matter what, even if this is hard to write this outline or design this course. It's not as hard as going back to the conditions that don't serve you anymore.

Jennifer Berman: That is absolutely right. Yes.

Robin Sargent: Thank you so much, Jennifer. I know that so many people have been inspired by your story, including me. And so I just appreciate you for coming and sharing it and and thank you again.

Jennifer Berman: Well, thank you, Dr. Robin. Again, I am so thankful that I was able to do this and also for just, you know all of your support in the academy. It has been invaluable to me. So thank you so much.

Thank you so much for reading the show notes for this episode.  If you enjoyed this episode, you may like:

IDOL Success Story with Former Teacher, Laura Wilczek: Hanover Research

Three things I learned from IDOL courses Academy that have nothing to do with Instructional Design


If you are a new listener to Become an IDOL, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit our Contact Page and let us know how we can help you today!

Subscribe & Review in iTunes

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode. I'll be publishing a new episode every two weeks and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Now if you’re feeling extra loving, I would be really grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find my podcast and they’re also fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you!

Want more tips on how to become an IDOL? Get my free guide here

We have a wonderful and friendly community of expert and novice IDOLs in the Become an IDOL Facebook Group. We would love to have you join us in the group or chat with IDOL courses on of our social media channels.  any of our social media channels.  


Join the Conversation!

We have a wonderful and friendly community of expert and novice IDOLs in the Become an IDOL Facebook Group. We would love to have you join us in the group or chat with IDOL courses on of our social media channels.  any of our social media channels.