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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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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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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The Multiple Personalities of an ID

 What is an Instructional Designer (ID)? I get asked this question often by friends and family that are not in the industry. For fear of boring them with a passionate rant using a lot of industry jargon, I typically respond with the extremely truncated answer – I build training for professionals. 

Those of us in-the-know understand if we posed this question to 100 different people within the Learning and Development industry, we would probably get 100 different answers. Yet, they would all be correct to some degree. This is due to the multiple personalities of an ID. Rather, the many roles we fulfill from project to project. 

The crux for all of those answers would be “Instructional design is the design, development, and delivery of learning experiences. It constructs those experiences in such a way that learners acquire either knowledge or skills,” according to getsynapse.com. “Instructional designers follow various academic theories and...

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Before You Say YES: Choosing The Best IDOL Role

 One of the great things about the IDOL courses Academy is that you get the tools to land your IDOL role.  There are resources to help you create your portfolio, update your resume and optimize your LinkedIn profile. The job hunt may start off a little slow at first but eventually you will start interviewing for jobs.  

For many of us we want to transition into an instructional design and online learning (IDOL) role because we are passionate about the field. An IDOL role could mean a better overall career including better compensation and work life balance. Once the steady interview requests come in you will start to get excited and possibly overwhelmed. During this process there will be ups and downs and probably a few rejections that can be discouraging.  Sometimes when we get in a down period during the interview process we can get anxious which could lead to us making a hasty decision. Obviously the ultimate goal is to land that IDOL role and join the...

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Building Your Brand: Part 2

Maybe you did or didn’t read Building Your Brand: Part 1 in July. Here is a quick recap:

  • Branding is about the value you give to clients.
  • Branding is about the problems you are skilled at solving.
  • You want to focus your brand around something.
  • You need to be a life-long learner to keep up with changing technologies.

 

If you are in the brand-building or revamping your brand, I suggest the book Digital You by William Arruda. The book is a great guide to help your brand building process.

 

Using LinkedIn in Building Your Brand

LinkedIn is a repeatable way professionals connect across various industries around the world. Your LinkedIn profile provides a first impression, especially when you can’t be there in person to meet. Whether you are on the job hunt or not, you can leverage LinkedIn to build relationships to make business connections.

 

Keywords

Did you know the words you use in your profiles make a difference? You want to use the right keywords...

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Maximize Failure

 

 

Why do people always say you should bounce back from failure? 

Get back up on the horse.  
Get back on track. 
Get back in the game.

But I disagree. After defeat, we need to sit in our failure and soak in the growth and learning that can come from it. Otherwise the same failures will repeat. Your failure should reap a reward that helps you grow stronger and better. 

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” 
- Robert F. Kennedy

However, it is important to remember that failure is not final. While we may experience frustrating failure at regular intervals, failure does not mean the end of the road. In fact, it usually means you are at the beginning of something new.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 
- Winston Churchill

Failure is, in fact, good for us and our personal and professional growth.  It means you are pushing yourself to...

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Making Your Own ID Opportunities: An Educator's Journey Into ID

Are you a passionate educator  feeling educator fatigue? Do you feel like you have what it takes to make a career transition into instructional design, but don’t know how to get your foot in the door? Are you looking to rekindle your passion for education? I have been in your shoes, I have felt exhausted and I made a change. With hard work, self-advocacy and the wonderful IDOL courses Academy support system I was able to successfully transition from the public education system into the corporate world as an instructional designer, and so can you!

 

In an unfortunate era where Arts programs in schools are losing funding and shutting down rapidly, creating opportunities and advocating became my most valuable skill set as a public school teacher. One of the best pieces of advice ever given to me as an Arts teacher was, “You have to create a program that is too visible and concrete for them to silently take away.” This meant creating community outreach...

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