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Become an IDOL 76: Strategic Assessment Learning with Tamara Schroer

#becomeaninstructionaldesigner #formerteacher #learninganddevelopment #trainer #transitioning teacher #workingsolutions become an idol podcast podcast Mar 24, 2023

Guest: Tamara Schroer, Vice President of Education & Development | Working Solutions

In this episode, I will be chatting with Tamara Schroer, the Vice President of Education and Development at Working Solutions and she is not you typical corporate executive. She is a born educator and putting her formal training and innate talents to work, helping Working Solutions to develop one of the world's most powerful and effective approaches to virtual corporate education. You will love the energy in this episode! 

Listen to this episode below: 

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Here's a little bit about Tamara: 

Tamara Schroer,  Vice President of Education and Development at Working Solutions, isn't your typical corporate executive. She's something better: a born educator. Armed with a degree in education and a passion for making a difference, she began her career helping the nonprofit Boys Town develop a nationwide, secondary reading program for at-risk youth. Tamara eventually traveled to Texas with her sights set on becoming a principal, but soon discovered a new sphere where she could enrich the lives of others: customer service.

Today, Tamara is putting her formal training and innate talents to work, helping Working Solutions develop one of the world's most powerful and effective approaches to virtual corporate education. With a network of 150,000+ registered agents across the United States and Canada, she's teaching thousands of independent contractors how to serve clients and their customers every single day.

Connect with Tamara:  LinkedIn

Enjoy the Episode Transcript below:  

Robin Sargent  I have here with me today Tamara Shroer, and she is the vice president of Education and Development at Working Solutions. I was connected through someone else to Tamara and so I just want Tamara to do a better job of introducing herself. So Tamara will introduce yourself.

Tamara Schroer  You bet. Thank you so much, Robin, and thank you for having me today. Hi, everyone. My name is Tamara Schroer, and a little bit about me. I started off in education, I actually graduated and began my career working with at risk youth. I started at a place called Boystown based out of Omaha, Nebraska, and amazing place to start my career. I actually worked with that rescue there. And then worked with two amazing women from Harvard who developed a reading program that I got to be a part of and go national. During the early 90s. No one could on those at the high school and middle school level, no one could read. And everyone was so shocked that that was happening. And this reading program was actually increasing their reading ability and comprehension a year's growth in a semester. So got to work with these two women under the umbrella of Boystown and go around the country working with educators and teachers to make that increase in comprehension and reading, love that moved forward, moved to actually move to Texas, and actually got the opportunity to meet a great leader and owner of the company that I still work for today. And that company is called Working Solutions. And she sat down, I sat down with her. And I mean, if you think of back early 2000 100%, virtual, we were going to train these agents, learners, let's call them learners, their agents. And I said, what 100% virtual No, no four walls, nothing it's going to be. She goes, yeah, that's, that's what we're going to do. And so you know what, she took a risk on hiring an educator, I had no experience in the business or call center world. But I had education and a passion for teaching and designing and learning. And I went for it. And I'll tell you what, it has been a roller coaster ride a fun one ever since. And I'm still with this company. Today, I only hire educators, we've taken a whole new unique blueprint for designing and delivering a education curriculum for all different kinds of businesses, that has really changed the learning, the quality and the comprehension for all of them. So that's a little bit about me, and what I've done to and very excited to be here and to explain more.

Robin Sargent  Okay, so I want to know a little bit more about Working Solution. So what I understand is that you said said it's all 100% virtual training, and it's for different companies. So is there a special skill set that you teach? Or it's whatever they need? Or how to what is? How does working solutions work?

Tamara Schroer Great question. So to give you that what we do companies, we will bring on companies that we augment their call centers, so we're an extension of what they do. It could be customer service, it could be sales, heck, they might even need an expertise, travel agent, or a tech person, whatever it may be, we will do a train the trainer with their training team, we will take the whole curriculum and virtualize it and does that mean no, we're going to take that curriculum and just put it directly in a video. Heck, no, that's not good teaching. There's a time when you do video learning or simulations. There's a time to do that. But you still have to have teacher led instruction. And you don't need four walls to have good instruction. And that is what's so hard. And as you know, in the beginning back in the early 2000s. Like, how can you take our six week curriculum where we're learning we have 18 different systems to learn and virtualize it. Well, you take the education strategies, and you make it on and you make sure that when you deliver it, you deliver it to all different learning styles. So the first part of it is then we hire agents/learners, and they are contractors to Working Solutions, and we hire them according to whatever need that client has. So if it's customer service, whatever that curriculum is customer service, we're going to look for that profile that's going to do really well, if they're going to give us that profile, if they need sales, we're going to get that with a spin of customer service. And they're going to be they need a background in retail, or a background in industrial or travel, we're going to look for that background. So imagine, when you're picking a classroom, Robin, you're gonna get the best of the best, because our recruiting is the whole United States to put in our classroom. So picture a bell curve, you got your top, your middle, and your low, well guess what we get to choose that top 25%, because we're going to do the best profile, the best experience. And we already have a network of agents in our pool that we have today, we already have that. So we're going to create a classroom for our educators to deliver that curriculum. So we go through that train the trainer, we learn there, we we get all their PowerPoints, we learn how they deliver it, we engage in their culture, because that's important. You got to get them all excited, whatever client you're going to go for. And you're going to train that and we're going to use, you guys I call it you know, I think ours is hybrid, we use Zoom, or WebEx or whatever you have out there, I actually, you know, I can get into all those because we've used them all and what we like, but I do like the one we use, because we can break into subgroups, and more subgroups and bring them back as a whole. And it's amazing with a click of a button. So we do all of that we do full direct instruction, which means we have a full class, and we engage them. We don't just use PowerPoints, we'll do a little bit of Round Robin, and polling, we do something called flipped classroom. And I'll talk about how we do all of those strategies that engagement you use in the classroom, in our virtual training. So in training in person, what you and I are doing now I call in person, it's direct instruction will be on camera. And they are learning from me, and we're engaging them. And I'm asking Robin, Hey, Robin, what do you think about that I'm engaging the whole class, and I'm asking them to come together and cool responses. We also do in our time, so we have interrupted, so we do guided practice. So we break into groups, and they work into smaller groups. Why? Because not everyone learns from me, okay, they all learn from each other, and process that information and talk it out loud. Now, whether in that we might do some, some collaborative learning a little jig sign, think pair share, whatever it may be, we are doing that in the small groups, they might come back to direct instruction, getting some new information. And then they go back into small groups, just like you should do in your classroom. You know what, you know what I find today, there's a lot of people who don't, okay, so just because you're doing it virtual, doesn't mean you're not going to be a great educator, teaching learners, a great educator and a great curriculum is how you deliver the information to all different types of learners. Okay, and I do have 1/3, that's important. So we have the direct instruction, we have the guided practice, and guess what you have individual practice. And that's where you might do some simulations or voice boards, or something that they're going to do to process that information individually. Because if all of you know all of these educators that you have Robin that I just love that your audience, they know this, they know that everyone doesn't learn the same. And that's what makes educators whether it's first grade, or on going to high school or college, we know that. So you have to use that strategy, those techniques in your classroom, whether it's virtual, or the four walls. So when I say four walls, I mean, four walls are not so you have amazing teaching, and you don't need to be in a classroom to do it. So those are the three things we do and makes us so successful. And I'll tell you what, I can tell you the proofs in the pudding, our educators and what we do at Working Solution, we have outperformed many, many of our competitors in terms of quality, in terms of motivation, in terms of engagement, in terms of attrition, because of how we engage and motivate our learning. So that's kind of in a nutshell, and I could go on and on but that is the key to the delivery of the initial part of our education.

Robin Sargent  And so when you found Working Solutions Tamara, you met the owner and founder as well? Was it kind of a startup when you got involved? And you've grown with the company? I'm just a little curious.

Tamara Schroer Yes. So I met Kim Houlne about talking to her about working solutions about 2000-2001. Because I initially came on as a contractor. That's just how we did it, you know, at first. And Kim started in 1996. So at the time, I mean, imagine, I mean, she tells an amazing story. But imagine trying to do this all virtually. And you know what she cranked it, her first client, one of them, she had to find an an agent to work in every state. And then she had to, like train it. And it was very unique. The first one that I sat on, I mean, they run a phone call, going over information. And they're like, you don't think of this back in 2001-2002. This was crazy, right? Like, oh, my God, this is amazing. We're going to work out of the home. So when I came on board and said, all right, Kim, people got to hear it. They got to see it. They got to believe in it. She goes, yup, yup. How about if you try this and so we we did it, we ran with it. And it was exciting. I was working with the first person who was hiring people for you know, to work out of their home and the first operations manager who was running it, she was actually training it at the time. But all I did to start this is you had to be a little crazy. And when I say crazy, not afraid to dip your toes into things, things that we did during COVID. We were doing back then. I mean, we were trying new things. Okay, let's do this. Let's, let's videotape. I'm out there with my camera showing how to put a satellite in so I can train it better. I mean, you had to think of everything out of the box. Nothing could scare you. Okay, we're gonna do a six week curriculum, selling cars with customer service, you know, let's try. And we did it. And it's why we are successful today. It's we know what works and what doesn't, what tools are great. The classroom management of a virtual classroom is quite a bit different. When I hire educators out there today, it's okay, if you're brand new, and you don't have a lot, and you're a little nervous. But if you have the passion, and you have the desire and your love change every day, then you'll love this job. Because it's different every day. And you're always solving for new ways of trying to get it to stick still. And so that's what's exciting. So all the tools that we have today are much more exciting, we didn't have Nearpod, and Cahoots and all these fun things. But we had things we had to be creative. We used a lot of music, we did hip hop, we got people going, we use just good old fashioned bells out right, Robin, you did mean you had to engage and motivate people at on your own. And it worked. It worked. And we just kept growing from there. Yeah, we had some losses. But then we had wins, we cracked we climbed over those brick walls, and we made it happen. Because you're never settled with what the way you did it before.

Robin Sargent  Yeah. Okay. So there's so much I want to unpack in here. And so, all right. So here we are, let's talk about the people that you hire. Because there was more like, you're probably in the role of looking for the people that are coming up underneath you and making sure that they're good fit for your culture. And like you said that you like that there are educators. But let's talk about the people that you've been talking about and that we're emphasizing, which is those that actually do the training. Now the ones that deliver the instruction, do they also design that instruction?

Tamara Schroer Okay, that is a great question. And very dear to my heart, too. So, these people are amazing men and women, they make up our education and development team. And as I told you before, they have they all have the same DNA runs through my entire team. Okay, so what did they do? And they actually are very much a part of when they do the train the trainer's but we don't expect someone we just hire, even though I'm like, wow, this person sounds great. And she's an awesome or he did awesome in this in the classroom. They're going to be amazing. We're not going to sit them I remember my first day I don't know about you, Robin, when I had to go train after I was hired from college and stuck in a classroom like what am I going to do? So we don't expect that? I mean, yes, they're great educators. But this is like learning a whole new job because it's a different kind of classroom management. It really it's unique and different in designing. But what you can learn and embrace is, is amazing. So what is it so they will come in? And again, I'm looking for someone who's very passionate. I'm looking for someone He loves teaching, loves designing. And when I say designing, I don't mean you have to say, oh my god, I had experience, you don't realize you designed every day. If you really were a teacher, I mean, if you were teaching, you had to change it up, sir, the, the district gave you a curriculum, but you had to make it happen, you have to design your lessons. I mean, so Teacher A has been here for 20 years, and teacher B's only been here for one, hey, it doesn't matter how you do it as long as you what's the end result, what's the objective, what's the goals, and what's going to get your students there. And whatever you do to make it happen, that makes you a great teacher, and how you overcome it. So if you you're going to come in and you're going to watch, you're going to listen, you're going to hear you're going to listen to the trainers that we have there. And you're going to be mentored, you're going to get to sit and listen and really hear how we do it. And then we're going to really immerse you into one of the curriculums that we're going to start you with. And then you get to hear it and you get to listen, and then you're going to start training some of them, and then your own personality is going to come into it because that's what makes it great. And you already have your DNA, you know how to deliver it, you just need to know the content. So you asked about, are they delivering it? And designing it? That was a great question. When you first come on with me, you're not going to be designing it right away. But it will come organically when you start teaching. You're going to end up coming. Tamara, can I add this to it? Or can I add a little tool they need to be more engaged here? They don't get this? Can I put more. That's all in part, I don't know what you call that. But you're adding more to the design and making it better. So when I first explained Working Solutions, I told you that our clients come to us with a curriculum. Some are very robust, and some are very little. Okay. And sometimes the very robust curriculum is the hardest. Yeah. Because we all know, as educators, that if you teach this much, okay, my hands are now way out here. But if you teach so much in that three weeks, or four weeks, depending how long your training is, how much does the average person really learn? You know, they, there's a lot of data out there 50%, 60%, it also depends on the learning capability of that person. So if it's 50%, of what you are going to get in a four week curriculum, are you going to train all of that, that maybe you get one call on a year. So sometimes people don't understand that educators do. But sometimes, designers who didn't understand the curriculum might not if they didn't hear it,  if you're not in the field of like latching and learning and bringing it back, or maybe the person does delivering it to you feel that's always important. And that's their philosophy, and that's great. But if I'm gonna get you where you want them to be on day one coming out, and 30 and 60, are going to train the stuff that is going to make the biggest bang, right? They're going to feel successful, and we're not going to overwhelm them with stuff that you don't need to know right now. So our educators are going to go through the train the trainer, they're going to process the information, they're going to take the information, and just rearrange it, that makes sense. That's what makes them good. They know the information. So the designer, I do have a designer as well. They'll do quick video clips for us, because we don't have time when we're getting this all ready. Yes, we can do some quick videos too. So they are kind of a designer and a deliver because they've almost become the content expert. Because they are sitting in that training, and they know what's best. And at the end, they're going to know what clicked and what didn't. And they're going to make the changes. That's what makes our training so powerful. However, I do love knowledge experts, Robin. And as our agents come out, and they get really good, we're going to come in the training and bring them as experts and guest speakers and say, Hey, let's talk a little bit more I got an expert on that is going to provide you more detail and more information of what's out there. So yes, but it does take the trainer in the initial training, they are the experts, they are the designer, and they're going to make it happen. So I don't know if that makes sense. But it's really been our key to our success.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, well, and it's all and because they are training and it's like you can you can have that iterative, continuous improvement.

Tamara Schroer Ongoing that you got to change. It's got to keep evolving. Yes.

Robin Sargent  Yeah. I mean, that's really a Learner Experience Design at its core too, right.

Tamara Schroer That's why if you love the process, you love to design and you love deliver, but you're doing it together with others and your manager. That's the biggest reward is to watch these people come out and your clients go, you hit it out of the park, this is the best ways we've ever had. And you're gonna go, Yeah, I nailed it. And that feels good.

Robin Sargent What's cool about what you've done and all your experience Tamara, I bet you just have such a wealth of knowledge and understanding specifically when it comes to virtual instructor led training that works, and things that don't work and methods. And just like you said, you're a risk taker, and that always reap some pretty incredible rewards, especially in our space. And so I know that I'm I got a hint of one of those things that you have discovered and use a lot. And that is your salt method. Will you tell us about that, and what that looks like, and the whole give me the story.

Tamara Schroer You bet. So with Working Solutions, as I told you, we have a great team that hires and they put them in the classroom. And then we have these educators that are training them. And when they're training them, whether it's, as I told you, three week, four week, could be a six week curriculum. Remember, so much can go in your brain. And it doesn't matter if your four walls or not, if you learn a great educator, you're going to hit it no matter what four walls are no four walls, if you're not four walls, those walls aren't going to make you any better. Okay? So they're going to get 50%, maybe some 60% of what you taught. Now, that is the foundation, think of any educator out there, if you're listening to us now and you're in a classroom, when you're teaching new information, you're, you're hitting it for the first time, the foundation, maybe summer, it's a repeat, and it might be a little bit more, that's why more of it stuck for them. But now, you got to go out live in my world, they got to go out and apply what they're using the application process, this should be familiar if you're an educator, right? If you need to apply it to other areas, or take a big test or whatever it's going to be, you now need to apply what's been taught, okay? And what happens in our world is many times we train it, and we expect for them to know it. All right, I trained it. We reviewed it, I did groups this time, and we did it. It doesn't work that way. Not everyone learns that way. So you need now this process of application. And you guys had coined it salt, strategic application learning techniques, okay. And all this means to all the educators in this world is now I'm going to reinforce, put B12, right in the brain and reinforce what I taught them at the foundation level, right? And now I'm just gonna put it on steroids. Okay, so now my educators are not teaching it, they're almost breathing it out a different way. So here's the application portion, they're going to first you know, during the salt time, we're going to motivate them. And with motivation comes contests and badges, you got to keep people motivated. You're also going to do learning, how are you going to now relearn? Well, with learning, we're gonna have pump it up sessions, and all that means is groups, okay, we're gonna pump you up with the things we know you're going to struggle with. We know in week one or week two, this is where you struggle. So I have some pump it up sessions reviewing and getting back on the phones applying what they're doing. They're coming back to the pumps, and they're asking questions. Oh, and another person's like, yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Process it, get them back on the application. So we're being proactive, not reactive. We're not waiting for them to get the get it wrong and feeling frustrated. Oh, no, we already know this happens. So we're going to do pumping up sessions this week on these topics. And of course, have them ask questions. And we're going to keep them motivated by badges and contests. And the last one, the third one, we want them to hit mastery. So what is the definition of mastery? This is one of the things we forget to do. If you don't define success, to your learner's, they're never going to achieve it. I always found this so funny when I work with different people, clients curriculums, they all have that. Here's what they got to do. Here's the this is the test they need to do. You know, we never gave them the answers to the test. It's like it's hidden. And then oh, they gotta get 100% Well, can they get 100%? Give them the answers, tell them train and over and over. If you can do it in a test and then apply it. They're winners. They got it. So what is your definition of success? And you can do it through a quiz. You can show them Oh, that's amazing. Those learners that need the kinesthetic learners, the people who need to hear, show them, see what it sounds like, how does it sound like what does it look like? In my world, it could mean you know, a certain flow on a call certain responses, the way they overcome an objection, if it's sales, every everything has a different meaning of success. And so whatever that is, we need to show them they hurt we need to work with you know what that is. So those three things is a huge thing, install, and it's it just, it complements the foundation. So if they came out, and they only know 50%, of your training was no good. No, your your learners need time to process 30 days, some need maybe 60, they could be the best performers, they could do the best on your test. If you just were proactive about processing that information, giving them that extra B12. Put it on steroids, however you want to look at it, those three things are the most important.

Robin Sargent  What's the timeline look like Tamara. So they've had their their formal virtual instructor led training? Yes, I imagine they're first up how long between that first series of trainings. And then that how long is that gap before you start the pump it up sessions and your salt method?

Tamara Schroer Awesome. So it's going to depend on the length of the training in the complexity, okay, you got a six week training, you got 18 different systems, this is my world and your world, it could be a four month curriculum, and a lot of complex topics they've never heard before, same thing. So you're going to be teaching the instruction. So ours is all up front right away. And you're doing all the different types of teaching with the practice and the guided practice in the independent practice. And then they're going to go immediately to salt in the call center world, you teach and typically, they go strictly to operations, and then they have their way of working with quality and performance. Our education philosophy way is they go through the education training, and then they go through salt, for 30 day, it could be 15 days, it could be 30 days, it could be 60 days, it could some could even be a little more, it depends on the complexity of what that entails, we find that 30 to 45 seems to be that magic number for real complex, because after that, it's just continuing. But then they go to the operations team. And they continue that motivation and quality performance at our end. So this is just a whole educational approach. But again, the amount of time whether it's 15,30, or 45, is going to depend on the complexity. But we do find Robin, that little time of processing that information, giving them that extra month, going through that learning process, how they're going to learn it, doing the pump it up sessions, the motivation, you know, all of the different areas, and letting them know what success is really has been a key to our quality. And our operations, who we work very closely too does a dynamic job, then just taking it from there and going yet they're on grade level, let's run with this. And then bingo, our clients are happy. And as educators, we're thrilled, because our learners are not only learned it, but they feel they feel motivated. And they feel successful. And they loved how they learned it.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, because and also just mentioned that motivation comes from a sense of mastery. It's almost like you are building more motivation by giving them that sense of mastery probably than you are by giving them a badge.

Tamara Schroer The internal is so huge how they feel versus the external. Look, I got an A or an F, you know.

Robin Sargent  I want to know what are some of and I'm sure all of you are curious, what are some of those techniques that you use for the external motivations in your pump it up sessions? I know you said badges, I'm sure you said giveaways but like what are you giving away.

Tamara Schroer So that's great questions. So what do we do? So with our agents that are being trained on different clients, we like to incorporate their culture, big time. So whatever their theme may be, that's what we're going to use. So let's pretend you have a car theme. We're going to have every group named after a car, and if you have a indestructible, you know, oh my gosh, oh my god, it's faster than the Lamborghini, or, Hey, we're gonna make sure it's fine. It starts with that not even in my pump it up, it starts with training building the culture if they have a mascot, Oh, guess what we're gonna come on day dress like their mascot, whether it's a car or a bee or whatever, all of that gets them excited about who they're working for who they're taking calls for. 

The other thing we'll do in our pump it up sessions, so and we even used this and outside of education in salt will bring them back for round tables. But in order to continue to motivate them, we use a lot of our clients, T-shirts and anything they're giving out, we're going to give out big time spread it out, like we're gonna have all those swag, and make it fun, right. That's what builds the enthusiasm and the excitement. Do you want to know all of our fun names, get people excited. So we might call pump it up, we might call it Hey, come to the Hawaiian party and bring one of your great ideas, your great dance that you do on your phone. So they come in, we started off with the hire, and their dance that does so well is Bingo. Everyone loves that we call it a dance. And it's like, oh my god, I love the way you did that. It's a dance the way they worked their client. And so now we call it the dance. And all of the people on that phone are going to use that particular dance is their new technique. And it's fun. Oh my gosh, that dance was cool. And now we're not going to a cost quality. We also use bonuses we do all of those things, get people excited. We find though sometimes the bonuses are great. But do you know what's more important? Recognition, praise, and are the agents you have this DNA. I mean, we have bonuses too, and it motivates them, especially if they want to be on this tier and you get this that's exciting. But we also find being a part of working solutions being a mentor, kicking it up bringing in a special guest to our meetings, having these huddles with all these they love that the more we can engage and motivate them that way that makes it happen. So having huddles, putting a name to it. I mean, I got a lot of crazy names, pump it up is just one and putting a theme to it is all you know, everything we do are round robins are, you know, anything we can do to make it happen. Let's build the thermometer. Let's blast the thermometer today. Anything we can do to add a name add a contest. Or bring it to a different level makes it happen.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, oh, wow, I've got a lot of people got a ton of ideas for even motivation.

Tamara Schroer Halloween and Christmas. I mean, everything has, you know, let's, let's build the pumpkin and make it done. And I mean, they they love it. So.

Robin Sargent  And then. So what about your assessments? You said they can do quizzes, but it's applications. What kind of tools? And do you like do like a drip email system? Or is it like you're in person with them when they're taking these assessments? Are you just sending them quizzes? Will does that look like?

Tamara Schroer That's a great question. So a quiz is used to the need we need. That makes sense? So if a client says I really need to measure true knowledge, I want it, I can't. So here's the thing, I'm a big believer, if you give them a test, and on the phone, they're always able to look up the information when they're talking to the client, then why on the test? Are we not allowing them to look up the information, you know, you got to assess what they're doing. That's an that's a key. So if on the phone, they have a knowledge base area, and they get the look up while they're talking, then why can't on the test that they do that? But if you have a test, well, if you need them to know knowledge that needs to be off the cuff on the phone, and then we need to have them know it, then great. We'll put a timed test on it. And let's say we'll put it for 30 minutes, and they just have to answer these questions. But we're going to make sure we can answer it within 30 minutes because if we can't, how can you expect our learners so I'm really big about measuring the success with tools there's so many there's so many test tools out there and I mean there's some great inexpensive ones and there's some higher ones. I got one that I you know my hearts with because we've used it so many years and it has their test with but you know like even something like Kia It's just very, it was very simple, but it had the test. And that's what we use back in the day. And it was just very simple and easy to use. And now they have a variety of all over, even through, just so you know, also we use businesses across the country have learning management systems, right, an LMS. And there's tons out there. In fact, many of our clients use all the different variety. As I told you, I take an education approach to everything I, I hire educators, my people, okay, our philosophy is completely education and strategies. And the last my tools, and we use Canvas, that is our I've heard of Blackboard or Canvas, we use Blackboard at one time we use Canvas now, that is our muscle behind working solution University is what we call it. And a lot of applications come through that, and makes it unique. So when our learners come right into Canvas, or working solution university, they feel like they're in a college course, it's very professional. There's where I had my designer develop that it's cream of the cream. They come in, they're like, Wow, we have our educators and you gotta break out. Here's your curriculum design, we got our salt area, and here's what to look forward to. So they really liked that. So all of our tools totally are learner based, all education strategies, we use Cahoots, we use Nearpod. We do a flip grid, we do lots of strategies in terms of flipped classrooms, think pair share , graffiti wall, I mean, all of the strategies and techniques that you're using in education. No different. We use it here.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, that's how I was, as I was thinking there, I was like, Oh, my gosh, there gonna be people listening, it'd be so excited just to hear that you are using so many tools that educators use, especially like Canvas, and you said Nearpod, and all those things.

Tamara Schroer I mean, you name it, it's out there. Now you can get the tools don't make one thing I'm gonna say. And this is kind of a misconception. Tools don't make a great training, the educator does. A tool can assist. But you're, you're the tool is only as good as the educator. So do know, the educator, is what makes the great training, not the tool. So I don't want 50,000 tools sitting in an virtual school, because then all of a sudden, everyone's confused. And we're jumping from tool to tool that doesn't make the learning process. It's the educator and how you use the tools.

Robin Sargent  Okay, so I know that many people that listen to this team are going to be thinking, oh my gosh, Working Solutions, hires people who are educators to come and work for them in this 100% virtual and I still get to be, you know, live out the heart of a teacher, but I get to do it for adults. And so I bet they're wondering, so besides being a teacher, or an educator, what are you looking for in those interviews? What are the things that stand out to you? Or kind of the questions that you ask? Because a lot of them are looking to make this transition? And I'm sure they want to know some inside info.

Tamara Schroer  You bet. Let me give it to him. One thing I always ask them, tell me your favorite lesson you ever taught. I want to hear what, how, what is Robins teaching experience? I want to be a student in Robins class. What does it look like? What does it feel like? I want to know what you use. And I don't care if you did it virtual or not. I just want to know what it's like sitting in your class. And I do I look for passion. I look how you engage how you motivate how you design a curriculum. And those are the questions. I also asked what was the most difficult and how you overcame it? I want to know I want to I want to get in that head and and see what it's like learning from you. How do you think on the spot? How do you engage? What is your most memorable student? Why? I know do you care? Passion is huge in this world. So those are just some of the things that I will ask. I will also just ask their experience of any using any virtual but that doesn't make or break it with me. Really it is there. How are they teaching? What are they using? What's their objective? What is their passion? How what is your definition of success? I'm trying to think what else? Some people answer I will tell you this. I'm tired of that I'm tired of teaching in the classroom. I I need to go fly I need to go virtual well, then you're not. That wouldn't be the reason for coming to work under my department because you're still teaching. You're still designing. You still got to be creative. And you got to be a multitasker if you want everything the same every day. You will never get that whether you work your first day or your third year, it's different, you're gonna get a new curriculum all the time. So that's huge, you got to like change, you got to want to try new things. Because if you want the same thing every day, this isn't the job for you either.

Robin Sargent  I mean, that's not the job for you, in instructional design period.

Tamara Schroer I know. So I'm just gonna say it. But there are educators and that's okay, that doesn't make you a bad educator, it's just you need to be prepared for that.

Robin Sargent  Maybe accounting would be good for you.

Tamara Schroer Just someone who likes consistency. And that because it's always changing. It's a grow up and you love new ideas, and you love that feeling and you thrive on it. And that's what makes it a little bit different.

Robin Sargent  And I think that you just shared just through all of your examples, and how Working Solutions works and your own passions and your own emphasis on what you stress and how you guys deliver things to your learner's on. So I'm sure that people have gotten a lot of great ideas and advice. But Tamara, if you were to give someone who is brand new to this field, your best and final piece of advice, what would you tell somebody who wants to become an instructional designer?

Tamara Schroer I would tell them, don't think years of experience is going to make you a great educator or designer. It's all you. I've hired someone who had been in education just a year. If you have the passion, and you love teaching, designing, and you want something new, go for it. Everything's the stars, don't hold yourself back. So I would say to anyone out there, if you got the passion, and you got the will go for it, I believe that wholeheartedly. I have lots of examples of people who have as well as myself. And you can achieve whatever you want, if that's what you want to do. Because this world is exciting right now. And you don't have to just be in the classroom. You don't have to just be virtual. You don't have to just train adults or just trained children, you can do whatever you want. So that would be my best, go for your passion. Go for it take the risk.

Robin Sargent  Oh my gosh, that's beautiful advice. And where can people connect with you? How can they come and find out more about Working Solutions? What do you what do you want to share as far as those things?

Tamara Schroer Oh, love that. You can now you can email me directly at [email protected]. Maybe you can put that up Robin, you can go to our website at Working Solutions and see me there, you can go to my LinkedIn. So either way, Tamara Shroer, Robin, if you get to type that out, you can do that as well. I'd love to hook up with you. Gosh, if anyone's interested, we were always taking educators throughout the year, and always looking for the best of the best. So we'd love to have you come join us if that's your passion.

Robin Sargent  Thank you so much, Tamara. I really, really appreciate this. And this was a wonderful time getting to know you and about your methods and working solutions. So thank you.

Tamara Schroer Thank you, Robin. I appreciate it was fun. It was fun being here.


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

Become an IDOL 70: Digital Learning that Makes Impact with David James from 360Learning

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