Practical Ways to Build Your Confidence: No Need to Fake It!

When the sixth cohort of IDOL courses Academy started in January 2021, I felt many feelings, none of which were confidence. I was overwhelmed and apprehensive and even excited, but I didn’t yet have the confidence I needed to delve into the major career shift I was about to undergo. I relied heavily on the support of the IDOL mentors and the camaraderie of the other cohort members as I shakily took baby steps towards all things ID, “fake it ‘til you make it” style. Fortunately, confidence is a skill. It can be developed and strengthened and practiced. As I moved through each week of the cohort, my confidence grew and came more naturally. 

Whether you are seeking a major career shift or looking to grow your existing Instructional Design career, your confidence will deeply impact the journey.

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. When I got the keys to my first classroom and began preparing for my first year with students, I was ecstatic. I was sure...

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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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First Time Using Storyline?

 When I was starting the IDOL courses Academy back in January, the #doitmessy Two Week Challenge was starting and I was sort of nervous/excited to start.  During those two weeks, I made a course using Articulate Rise®, which I found to be super user friendly!  At first, I was a little hesitant and spoke about it on a Facebook post.  Someone then commented: “Wait until you get into Storyline®!”.  I immediately was like “AHHHH!!! This is going to be hard!! I’m NOT prepared for this AT ALL!”  I was absolutely dreading this part.  But, I knew it’s all part of the ID game. It’s like a necessity in the ID world.  

Then, the Storyline for IDOLS® course came out and let me tell you!  It was like the heavens were shining light on my self-doubt.  It came equipped with several modules and a practice file.  It was just what I needed to relieve my stress. And earning a...

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Diving In to the ID Culture

 Prior to January 25, 2021, I planned for a substitute teacher for my seventh grade English classes (which any teacher knows is no small task), so that I could spend the day getting a strong start on my new IDOL Courses journey as a member of the sixth cohort. I was ready to do this! However, in the following days and weeks, attempting to juggle my teacher workload with IDOL modules and creating assets seemed impossible. It was easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by my lack of knowledge and experience. I definitely wrestled with “perfection paralysis”, as validated so beautifully by Tabatha Dragonberry in her blog article from April 2, 2021.

I felt like a clumsy, awkward teenager trying to learn a new dance, a new style, and even a new language. I was attempting to blend in with a new culture, but in looking around, realized how much I still needed to learn before I could become a genuine part of this IDOL culture.

It was not long before I discovered...

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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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Spill The Tax Tea To New ID Contractors & Freelancers

 Few of us ever test our powers of deduction, except when filling out an income tax form. ~ Laurence J. Peter

Currently, it’s Tax Season 2021. During this time of the year, some are ecstatic to anticipate a nice tax refund, while others dread paying a balance due to the IRS. Nonetheless, most people will prepare and file their annual income tax returns by the traditional due date of April 15. However, if you are new to instructional design (ID) and you are an independent contractor or freelancer, there are several important things you must consider when filing your income tax this year. Let me “spill some tax tea'' to you.

As previously shared on this Become an IDOL podcast, during my transitional period of becoming an IDOL, I worked as a tax professional for one of the major tax prep companies (and I still do as a side hustle...shhhhh!). When I filed my tax return recently, even with the increased earned income thanks to my current ID contractual job I gained...

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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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