The Importance of Accountability Groups & Peer Review

Accountability is the glue that bonds commitment with results. ~ Will Craig

Starting out in instructional design a person may feel overwhelmed and lost. But there are secret weapons you can employ to help you reach your goal: Accountability Groups & Peer Review.

I was part of the the IDOL courses Academy's 4th cohort (June 2020). While I received lots of support and encouragement from the IDOL courses community and my peers, I would have not made much progress without my IDOL accountability group. They were divinely-sent as we all journeyed together to become IDOLs. They became a part of my success and I was to theirs. Even now, we still remain in contact with each other regularly. 

So, I want to share four benefits I’ve gained from being a part of an accountability group in the IDOL courses Academy:

1. Similar Starting Point - My IDOL accountability group consists of myself and four other ladies from different parts of the country. We all had little to no...

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Soft Skills: Important to an Instructional Designer

One aspect of being an Instructional Designer that is rarely talked about is soft skills.

Soft skills, which can also be called emotional intelligence (EQ), are important to instructional designers because even though we may feel as though we are in a silo, we actually work with various people across different departments.  Instructional designers are constantly collaborating, giving or getting feedback, checking in with stakeholders, and communicating a message.  This means a level of comfort and skill is required when interacting and working with others.

Here are my top 3 soft skills important to the instructional designer role.



One reason why educators make great instructional designers is because they are empathicIn fact, the first step an educator takes when teaching a class is to fully understand where their students are. An instructional designer is not any different. Knowing where the learners are starting from and understanding their...

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Diary of a New IDOL: Month 3

Uncategorized Jan 24, 2021

What is your design process? 

Every designer does things a little differently, and every company requires different processes and steps when designing a course. This month we will reflect on what process works best for us in our new IDOL positions. 


In my department of the company, instructional design is relatively new. Therefore, there are not many processes in place for “best practice” in developing a course. This can be viewed as a very positive thing, or negative. I choose to view this in a positive light because it means that I can set the standard for how I want the process to be. I get to find out how I develop courses best. For me, I have discovered that a prototyping process works best in most cases for what I am developing for my company. To find out more about how that works for me, take a look at the vlog post for this month.


We use a pretty standard process for Instructional Design.  My manager is the one that receives all...

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Interviewing: Why am I Not Making It Past the First Round?

Applying for jobs is exhausting, stressful and soul-destroying. These could have been my words, but instead, they came from Google. Even Google understands every jobseeker’s frustration at spending time on tailored Resumes and Cover Letters to carefully analysed Job Adverts only to be rejected. Repeatedly.



When I started my job search, I felt confident. I was ready. I had a full portfolio with several assets, I optimised my LinkedIn and I ditched my teacher Resume for a fresh, Instructional Designer CV that I had engineered to specific jobs, following Jay Lash’s method.

 It worked! I was contacted by a few companies who had liked my profile, thought I had potential and were impressed by my experience. I was excited.

As you can guess, I didn’t get any of those jobs. Not only that, I didn’t even make it past the first round of interviews.

I knew I had to change something and that’s when I came across IDOL Academy Member, Niya...

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Surprises During My First ID Job

 Before you get that first job in Instructional Design, you might have a lot of questions and wonder what reality will be like. What skills will I use on the job? What tools will I use the most? What will the role really be like? Will my actual job be close to the job description? Will there be any surprises? I mean, what in the world does an Instructional Designer even DO?!

Of course every job, company, and person will have a different experience. But I will share my own experience so you can get a glimpse into what you might expect in your job from my perspective. For more experiences, check out Gretchen Johanson’s blog post Lessons Learned During My First Big ID Project or check out the IDOL series: Diary of a New IDOL by Kristi and Veronica.

Some things I expected or assumed going into my first Instructional Design job. However, some things surprised me.


The Top 3 Things that Surprised Me:

1. You might be the only instructional designer on your team....

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Recap: The Become an IDOL 5 Day Challenge

 This has been an exciting week for IDOL courses offering the first free Become an IDOL 5 Day Challenge. Over 1400 people joined the challenge. The crowd has been diverse, with teachers, graphic designers, instructional designers, and others who want to jump start their careers in 2021.

As part of the challenge, everyone received a workbook, and every day this week, Robin held a live training session empowering people to take the first steps in creating a hiring manager avatar, identifying their ideal IDOL role, and developing portfolio items for the job hunt. The transition to becoming an instructional designer is a challenge, but it is easier when you are not doing it alone. 

This week has been full of community and working together toward goals, asking questions, and learning more. Strangers formed accountability groups and helped each other on the path to a career in instructional design. This is a significant first step in networking. Networking is an integral part...

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Become an IDOL: Top 5 Podcasts of 2020

 It’s the last day of 2020. What a year, right? Life is full of events creating a wild ride. This year has felt unreal, like it was scripted out of a movie. The year has been challenging in ways many of us would have never imagined. Now we are on the eve of a New Year. 

This is the time most people set goals or resolutions for the next 365 days. I started this year by talking about kicking self-doubt to the curb. I know it is not always easy to overcome your self-doubt or imposter syndrome. Sadly, to say, many of us create self-doubt in our heads, negatively affecting how we perceive ourselves. The Women Talking About Learning Podcast ended the year with an episode on imposter syndrome. Twenty-five industry women talk about imposter syndrome, what it means, the effects, and overcoming it. This was one of my favorite podcasts this year because it shows others ….. guess what, you aren’t alone in your self-doubt. The question is,...

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Starting our Freelance ID Business: 5 Key Takeaways

A few years ago, my wife (Chantel) and I (William) talked about running a business together. Instructional Design and eLearning was a natural choice: we had corporate and not-for-profit teaching experiences, we had transferable skill sets from related fields, and instructional design experience.  Most importantly, we loved helping people learn and grow. But, since the timing wasn’t right, we set the business idea aside.

Then, 2020 hit like a Category 6 hurricane. COVID-19. Massive unemployment. Worldwide lockdowns. I lost my job. My industry, which was heavily dependent on tourism, was gutted. We had a wonderful newborn son and a mortgage. Since we had some savings and my wife had a great job, we had what so many others did not: the luxury of choice. We were incredibly grateful. After prayerfully considering all options, we knew it was time to start the business.

A few months later, we had successfully launched a freelance Instructional Design, Online Learning...

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Diary of a New IDOL: Episode Five--Two Months on the Job

diary of a new idol Dec 14, 2020


What does your typical day look like? 

This is the number one question I get from people wanting to transition to instructional design. This month we are here to answer that question.


Each instructional designer’s day most likely looks different. However, having an idea of what an instructional designer encounters most often can help shed light on what to expect.



My company works under a “self-directed” policy. All employees are trusted with their positions and to get their work done. Therefore, my schedule is pretty much up to me. As long as I get in 40 hours a week, my boss is very flexible with how and when I get that time done. With that said, I do have team meetings to attend, SME discovery meetings, and one-on-ones with my boss. The discovery meetings with SMEs, while they do depend on the schedule of the SMEs, are scheduled by me so I can decide when I would like to hold those. Other than meetings like this, I schedule my...

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Networking During Webinars

 Want to build your network while attending a webinar?
  • Be prepared to focus!
  • Make the first move!
  • Reach out and connect!

Networking can sound like a nightmare, especially for us introverts. Fortunately, this is one area where 2020 has actually helped us out. With in-person events getting canceled, you can attend conferences, meetings, and professional events from the comfort of your home. 

I’ve been attending several webinars a week, and one unexpected benefit was all the connections I’ve made! The first dozen webinars I attended I simply watched, like I was watching a movie, and did not network in a meaningful way. Don’t be like me! 

Read on to find out how you can use webinars to build your network.



  • Curate your online presence: Google your name and make sure nothing shocking comes up. If your portfolio is published, make sure the link is working. You’ll be sending connection requests, so polish up your LinkedIn....
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