Peer Review: Make It Work For Everyone

Using peer review is a great way to grow your skills, while also developing a strong community of colleagues. It’s a useful tool in any field, but it’s especially valuable for us as instructional designers because it shows a commitment to ongoing learning. 

I have used peer review in all kinds of professional contexts, from teaching in higher education to my work consulting with clients on instructional design projects now. My many experiences with peer review have included teaching others how to use it, as well as giving and receiving peer review from others. From these experiences, I have learned that peer review can be a rewarding experience for all involved, but only if it is practiced with the intention and care it deserves. These are my tips for effective peer review for everyone.

 

Tip #1: Peer Reviewers Are Expert Reviewers

Peer review is the process of peers giving structured, focused feedback on in-progress work. In this context,...

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Working Full Time and Managing the IDOL courses Academy

When you are balancing your full-time job and the IDOL courses Academy, you may feel an overwhelming onslaught of emotions. You are excited to learn something new! You see hopes of being able to leave your current job or level up in an instructional design role. It’s also easy to feel overwhelmed when you add something new to your plate. 

My goal is to share the lessons I learned during the 8-week cohort and how I managed my time while working a full-time job along with several side jobs and a family.  It’s not a one size fits all approach by any means.  

  • Prioritize your time and figure out your WHY.

I knew when I signed up for the IDOL courses Academy, the 8-week cohort would fly by quickly.  But I didn’t realize how much I needed to prioritize my time in the Academy. My schedule was already jammed packed before I started the cohort, and trying to figure out how to fit it all in was a challenge.

I needed to focus on WHY I joined the ...

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Perfection Paralysis

 Many people strive to be perfect. Social norms push people to have this belief that we are less than if everything isn't perfect. Trying to reach perfection can be paralyzing, and most of the time, we do nothing.

Do you know what perfection paralysis is?

A defense mechanism. It protects you from being seen as less than or not seen as entirely perfect. Feelings are complex, and perfectionism paralysis could be similar to the fear of rejection. Don't expect to win the first prize trophy the first time you do something. Practice doesn't make you perfect. Practice makes you better. Better than you were the first day you started. The work you produce the first year you are an instructional designer will probably be a little embarrassing the fifth year in your career (keep a copy to compare). This is called growth, and it's the best part of life.

Perfectionism paralysis comes in many forms for instructional designers:

  1. Primarily the Inability to start
  2. Fear of putting your work...
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How to Use Any Technology

 Here’s something funny: 6 months ago, when I enrolled with the IDOL courses Academy, I didn’t know what HTML was. It’s funny, because, looking back, I still can’t believe how little I knew about technology. 

Two months later, I didn’t only fill that gaping hole about HTML, but I was copying CSS and Javascript codes to modify things on my website and add special functions to my Storyboard course. 

In two short, but very busy months, I built two websites with Google Sites, created videos with Powtoon, Camtasia, Biteable, and Vyond and I developed interactive courses with Genial.ly, Rise, and Storyline. None of which I had known much about before. I had not even heard of Canva, Visme, or Snagit either, yet I was now effortlessly designing images for my assets.

I am not here to boast. My point is that if I could do that, anyone can and I am happy to share some tips.

 

FIND SOME TIME

I think the best way to learn any tech is to find...

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Am I Doing This Right?: IDOL Lessons Learned

 Hindsight is 20/20. Coincidentally 2020, is the year I decided to pivot and fully immerse myself into a career transition in instructional design. I joined IDOL Academy in September 2020. This wasn’t my first trip down the “what else can I possibly do with my career experience and education background” road. Years ago, I started an expensive certification course, which I enjoyed, but I had an opportunity to join a new school, develop a new program, and get paid more so I had to put that on hold. The new opportunity also brought out the same issues I’ve had with my career that made me want to jump ship the first time: burnout, limited career growth, feeling undervalued, and siloed in my classroom. Why did I do this? 

Starting IDOL courses Academy was the best decision I made to start my career transition journey. But it has not been the most of smooth ride for me. Working full time, parenting full time, and squeezing in the IDOL coursework is not...

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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.

 

Empathy

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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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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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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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.

 

BEFORE A WEBINAR

  • 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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