An Idea Generation Activity for Portfolio Topics

 So you’re burnt out. Decision fatigue is kicking in. Somehow you’re supposed to come up with a topic so you can build something for your portfolio. But all you can think of is K12 teacher stuff. Or maybe you can’t think of anything at all. 

If you’re like some of my mentees, you can’t seem to get out of the teacher's perspective. And I get it. When you’re teaching and creating portfolio items, the desire to kill two birds with one stone is strong.  

But you don’t have to throw out your academic expertise to build something for your portfolio. You just have to shift your perspective a little. After all, a science teacher has a lab safety lesson every year. I’m willing to bet a corporate lab has safety compliance training with similar content.

 

Three Questions to Ask

Remember, instructional design solves problems with learning. So whatever topic you choose, make sure you can provide specific...

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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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Apply the AGES Model

In this Digital Age, we have experienced a paradigm shift in the way we learn as well as consume, and process knowledge. Even if we re-wind a decade from now and look back at how the Learning and Development sector has transformed, we can see a monumental change in the way how learning is designed and delivered and how learners learn and process information. We often come across the new age learning jargon like digital learning, e-learning, asynchronous learning, problem-based learning, gamified learning, blended learning, accessibility in learning, microlearning, mobile learning, adaptive learning, etc. These are not just the jargon; they are today’s reality and need of an hour when it comes to workplace learning or even academic learning. With the advent of advanced technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, which are currently in their nascent stage in this field of L & D, it is even beyond one’s imagination how...
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ID and Ed Tech: They Intersect More than You May Realize

When I was in a teacher credentialing program, I apprenticed under two mentor teachers, both of whom frequently integrated technology with their instructional practices. I took that idea and ran with it, first when I developed and taught lessons in their classrooms, and later when I flew solo in my own classroom.

 

Soon I began to think about how I could take that inclination, strength, and interest I had in using technology for learning, and actually specialize in it. That’s how I ended up enrolling in a master’s program in educational technology. I quickly learned what it meant to earn a Master of Science degree – literature reviews and research papers!

 

What does this have to do with educational technology? Well, instructional practices should be grounded in solid research – in studies that are peer-reviewed, published, and with findings that usually are reinforced through subsequent studies....

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Lessons about Visual Design that I Neglected to Follow

As a freelance artist who has studied and produced art for years, I thought visual design would come naturally to me and yet it was the one thing I neglected in instructional design. In fact, when it came to visual design in the courses I created, I failed, miserably. The reason is simple. I didn’t pay attention to it. I was solely focused on instructional design principles, content, and assessments. I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even realize that I was neglecting something so important until someone pointed it out to me. I mean who neglects CRAP (contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity) and doesn’t even know it?! Surely not me… I joke. 

 

I decided that I was going to have to go back to my roots. As an artist, when I got stuck, I turned to the works of artists I admired such as Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Francisco Clemente and Elizabeth Murray. Their work inspired me and gave me new ideas. This time, I turned to magazines and...

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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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Event-Specific Self-Reflection

In my current role, I’m developing a solution that’s event-specific. The event happens every year, but every year they may need to leverage the event differently. 

The problem I’ve always run into with annual asks like this is that I tend to forget the process until it comes up again, which wouldn’t be an obstacle if the process were exactly the same year after year. But the hope is our learners will build on their learning each time the event happens and deepen their practice.

So how do you get learners to remember something that happened a year ago? 

My answer: You don’t. 

Like myself, a lot of my family and friends are neurodivergent. Asking many of us to remember learning from a year ago is a big ask, and I assume it’s likely a big ask for neurotypical people too. 

Instead of hoping people will just remember, build self-reflection mechanisms into the workflow.

Since my build is event-specific and the event happens...

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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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Reading the Last Page of the Book First

 Have you ever read the last page of a book first? Or skimmed through a textbook for the main topics and titles and decided which parts to read? Decided to skip parts of a film? If your answer is yes, a nonlinear curriculum is not that new for you.

IDOL courses Academy has a nonlinear curriculum, which means that the steps and speed of learning are up to the learner. The nonlinear curriculum works well with adult learners who usually take responsibility for their learning and like to be involved in their learning process. It also goes deeper than just that. If adults own their own learning, their learning will be more effective. 

Learning from a nonlinear curriculum can be scary for those of us used to learning from a linear one. In a linear curriculum, there are strict steps and timing for each of the learning phases. You can’t skip steps without losing content. You could try, but the chances are high you’d have to go back and complete the missing part...

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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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