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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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The First Recruiter Call

The First Recruiter Call

“Ahh, Mandy, I have a recruiter call tomorrow. What do I do!?” 

At least once per cohort, I get this message from IDOL courses Academy mentees. Newness can be scary, and I remember how uncertain I felt when recruiters started reaching out for the first time. 

Here are some general guidelines that may help.

The First Call

The first call may feel informal, and the recruiter may come across as really friendly. But don’t mistake this tone to mean that you’re not being evaluated on some level. It is an interview. You want to be prepared

In the first call, they tend to ask some of the basic questions:

  • What do you know about the company?
  • Why are you interested in the role?
  • How do you meet the qualifications of the role?
    (You’ll want to answer this with specific measurables and examples.)
  • What’s your desired salary?
    (This will likely be the recruiter who negotiates...
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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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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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Start now! 3 Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

Starting something new is scary. When I start something new, I’m afraid I’ll fail. Worse, I’m afraid people will know I failed. So why bother? Some don’t. Some let their fear take control and prevent them from taking action. But for those of us who persist, we have to let go of perfectionism to take the first step. 

 

There’s a misconception that recovering perfectionists like myself have, that the first draft we create must come out perfectly. Of course we know that’s not the case. My favorite Simpsons writer, John Swartzwelder, said he wrotecrap jokesfor his quick first drafts, all 59 of them! Every finished project started somewhere messy: TV, movies, books, apps, and yes, elearning courses. 

 

The IDOL courses Academy Do It Messy challenge is built on taking action: Create an asset, receive feedback, implement feedback, and repeat the cycle until there’s a polished result. This was exactly what I...

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The Comprehensive Guide to Storyboarding for Learning Experience Design: Elevate Yourself from Mediocrity to Master

Does the idea of storyboarding launch your imposter syndrome into manic mode? This comprehensive guide will empower you to slay the imposter monster and storyboard successfully in LXD.

 

Punching The Panic Button

Now don’t quit on this blog post yet, you’ve barely even started.

I know. I can already hear your imposter syndrome alarm blaring:

“I can’t draw!”

”I’m not a graphic designer!”

“My stick figures look like blobs!”

Deep breath.

The purpose of storyboarding for eLearning is not to expose you as an imposter. One storyboard will not end your ID career. And no one is going to laugh at your drawings—I promise.

This guide will give your storyboarding abilities the confidence boost they deserve. We’ll answer six questions about storyboarding for learning experience design and supply you with 9 simple, actionable tips that you can apply straight away to your next eLearning storyboard.

We’ll...

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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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You Have Permission: To Make a Major Career Shift

For as long as I can remember I knew I would be a teacher. As the oldest in my family, I’ve always felt like that teacher trait was embedded into my DNA. Teaching came so naturally to me, and I loved it! No one was surprised when I pursued a degree in education after high school. Three months after I received my degree, I walked into my first year of teaching with the confidence of a twenty-year veteran. I felt unstoppable. 

Then, reality hit. I realized that there is more to teaching than you can see on the surface.The physical, mental, and emotional toll teaching takes on a person is tough. In a lot of ways, it felt like the deck was stacked against me before I ever started. It became clear early on that this job was not the forever career I had planned.

What followed was the process of changing my mindset, determining a new career path, and transitioning out of teaching. I had built my identity around my job as a teacher. It was who I was. It impacted the ways I...

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