Training: The Employer in L&D

When I began the journey from adult educator to instructional designer, I was merely looking for full-time work. I wanted to continue teaching, helping, learning and growing somehow. I’ve learned more by teaching adults than in doing anything else in my life.

During the pandemic, I went back to school to get a MEd, and I found the IDOL courses Academy. I realized there was much to learn, and that the Academy would help me move in the right direction. It occurred to me that I was undergoing a bit of a career re-calibration. I had many of the skills that I needed to become an IDOL. I’d done graphic design, teaching, curriculum development, and I wrote and published a novel. So I had all of the skills necessary to become and IDOL, didn’t I? Well yes. And no. 

In the last blog I wrote I said Robin and Jay helped me get through several interviews at a job I still work at. Robin warned me that the role, as she was reading the description, was less...

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Using Canva as Your #DoItMessy Website

In 2021, I was a full-time teacher looking for a creative new career for post retirement. I decided instructional design would be a great fit for me! After researching my options, I chose the IDOL courses Academy to help me reach my goals.  

 

The IDOL courses Academy has a jumpstart program called #DoItMessy. It is designed to help you dive in and quickly develop the basic steps towards ID job readiness, and then go back and refine what you have created. One of the steps is building a website for your portfolio. An online portfolio, preferably a website, is part of the art of landing a job in instructional design. Since I was working full-time, I didn’t have the time to learn the ins and outs of website builders.

 

When I began building my web pages on Canva, I discovered that Canva was an easy, quick solution to my website dilemma. I could create my own #DoItMessy temporary website! Here’s how:

...

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The Myth of Ready

I literally got married on my high school graduation date. In the weeks that followed, I found myself in a weird limbo space, like I was playing house and just waiting for the moment when I’d feel like an adult. Seriously, y’all.

Took me a while to decide Adulthood is a myth, to realize we’re all making it up as we go. And it took me even longer to give myself permission to not know, letting myself make it up, to #DoItMessy, maybe even be wrong. 

Perhaps this realization is why it feels odd to me to have mentees. 

I am so proud of them, and I’m honored, truly, that I get to be a part of the journey. 

But I also feel a great responsibility to be forthright in my answers to questions, to be Correct. Some questions I’m fairly certain of. Others I caveat with a “this was my experience as a white, cis woman.”
But each cohort, there is always one question I cannot answer. 

“Am I ready?”

Sometimes...

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Full Time Employment vs. Contract Positions

 You’ve worked hard to build your portfolio and optimize your resume and LinkedIn profile to show off your instructional design skills and now you’re ready to land your first ID role. 

As you look through job postings on LinkedIn or other job boards, you begin seeing two types of roles. Many job listings are for full time positions and others are short term contracts. You see contract durations ranging from 3 months to several years. Some others may say contract to hire. You aren’t sure what this means exactly, but you’re beginning to wonder if you should give these jobs a shot or stick to full time positions. 

I’m going to be honest, I was where you are after completing the IDOL courses Academy’s 6th cohort in spring 2021. I made the decision (without any research) to dismiss contracts because I wanted stability, health insurance, and a W2 position. I only applied and networked for full time positions and I was able to secure...

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This Playwright Question Informs my ID Practice

 The class workshopped my play first. Professor Hood passed out copies, assigned parts, looked at me, and said, “For the rest of class, just take notes.” And then the class began to perform my piece.

Within the first few minutes, I determined my classmates didn’t know how to read. I clearly meant for this line to be said with anger, another one with relief. The discussion after the reading (me still silent) showed me they had all misread my theme and empathized with the wrong characters. 

Seeing me become increasingly frustrated, the professor brought the discussion to a close: “How well can the Work live without you, Mandy? As a playwright, you create the blueprint. But you can’t follow your work everywhere, making sure everyone interprets it correctly. The Work must live the way you intended without you. If you’re upset by the results of today, you have more work to do.” 

I imagine what Professor Hood put me through...

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Resumes: Defining and Refining with Feedback

I have hundreds of resumes that I’ve written, overhauled, and tailored over the years. So, revising my resume for a career shift isn’t entirely new to me. However, this time I’ve been able to do it with the support of a community. That has been a game-changer.

 

I’m a scrappy person (“resourceful,” as Dr. Robin exclaimed) who’s used to sifting through the internet in order to gather reputable sources of information and strong exemplars to emulate and use as inspiration. Thankfully, the learning and development community is full of people like me, and many of them embrace a cooperative, give-and-receive ethos. So, I didn’t have to rely solely on my scrappiness for my latest resume overhaul.

 

First, I went through the lessons and resume-related resources within the IDOL courses Academy. Then I took that draft to my peers in the Academy. Having founded an accountability group, consistently contributed to it, and built...

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Three Things I Learned From the IDOL courses Academy That Have Nothing To Do With Instructional Design

IDOL courses Academy has taught me much more than instructional design--and I’m not talking about anything found in the modules.  

  1. It’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone once in a while.
    Gretchen Rubin says a key component of happiness is living in an atmosphere of growth. As a classroom teacher of nine years, I was comfortable and confident in my role. Yes, I learned new things all the time, but it was usually within my control whether I decided to learn a new technology tool or tackle a new-to-me novel study. The IDOL courses Academy has actually given me a new respect for all the students who sat in my classroom over the years. I had forgotten what it means to be totally out of my element, bombarded with new tools, ideas, techniques, and theories. It has been refreshing and eye-opening to experience this type of growth and learning again.

  2. You are never stuck in your career path.
    An English degree was never going to open a lot of doors for me,...
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The Rubric of Salary Negotiations

I find comfort in lists, which is how I managed my anxiety when I knew an offer was coming. I studied the job ad and listed how I met the qualifications (and then some). The list morphed into a rubric, which I am about to share with you.

But before I do, some prep items: 

1. Make a list of what you need and want in your next role.

Salary, hybrid or remote, benefits, time off, etc. Make sure to star your must-haves and note your nice-to-haves. Knowing these things guides your job hunt and the interview process

It also helps you navigate an offer. If they can’t meet the salary, maybe they can offer you more PTO or agree to have more remote days. Maybe they can pay for that professional development certification you’ve been eyeing. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. And having to come up with these compromises on the fly is hard.

 2. Make a list of what you’re walking away from!
The recruiter who made the offer for my current role began...

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When No One Answers Your ID Question

 When I started IDOL courses Academy in 2020, I was a mess. One particularly difficult day, my boss informed me that the Central Office was relocating my assignment. I had the rest of the day to pack up and prepare for the following instructional day (with triple the learners now). With my partner on disability and a child at home distance-learning, I couldn’t quit, so I spent the rest of the day moving and attempting to prep.

On the ride home, I had an epiphany about one of my Storyline assets. I began working as soon as I got there. I don’t even know if I ate or how long I was working. I just remember I eventually hit a roadblock and reached out to my mentor. 

And she didn’t respond. 

Individuals in trauma experience time differently because they’re in constant fight or flight. Additionally, as a neurodivergent individual, I struggle with abrupt stops like this, which explains why I spiraled into a panic attack. My vision narrowed. My...

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Mentor Reflections: 5 Lessons from my First Year as an IDOL Mentor

Career transitions can be scary. Sometimes you just need someone to guide you who’s been there, done that. I’ve made the career transition. I transitioned from teaching into instructional design. I can still remember all the feelings associated with a huge professional change - both good and bad. That’s why I can really speak to the importance of having someone in your corner to guide and support you while you walk down a new unfamiliar professional path. That’s where a mentor comes in.

 

In the IDOL courses Academy, the IDOL Mentor has a unique and vital role in the growth of the mentees in their group. IDOL Mentors are IDOL courses Academy Alumni who have achieved their IDOL goals and are now giving back by mentoring a group of aspiring Instructional Designers. Once a new cohort begins, mentees choose which IDOL Mentor is the right fit for them. They are encouraged to attend that mentor’s sessions throughout the cohort. 

 

IDOL...

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