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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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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Doing it Messy - An IDOL Mentor’s First Portfolio

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, especially in new situations like the first week in the IDOL courses Academy. People can discourage it all they want. But when you haven’t found your personal mile markers, it’s far easier to look at someone else’s map.  

Here’s my current portfolio

Two years of polish and I still feel like it needs work. Just the other day someone pointed out a typo in my About section. But even with imperfections (that I see!), I'm proud of it and grateful I worked so hard to build it up.  

 

But if this is your first cohort, you’d be comparing yourself to the wrong map.

And that’s what I told my mentees this week. 

Here is my first portfolio

After eight weeks and one badge, this is what I had to show for it. 

This is how I got my first remote ID job.

It needs so much polish—and a facelift—but I am proud of Mandy 2020. 

 

I was in...

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Power of the Portfolio: The Key to Becoming an IDOL

You’re thinking of becoming an instructional designer, or maybe you’re ready to start applying for jobs. You think to yourself, how can I make myself stand out to employers? How can I build confidence as a new ID? The answer: a portfolio. 

Yes, really.

The power of a portfolio unleashes all of your darkest fears. Creating a portfolio allows you to take that leap into the unknown, and scream, “this is me and I want everyone to know it!” The first step to getting over imposter syndrome is to believe in yourself; so what better way to put yourself out there than with an organized, visual representation of who you are? 

Who are you exactly? You are a learner, curriculum developer, problem solver, eLearning developer, and instructional designer - and so much more!

 

Here’s a little backstory. 

I am new to corporate and higher Ed instructional design. Most of my pre-ID professional experience was as a high school science teacher. After...

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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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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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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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Lessons Learned During My First Big ID Project

I have been an ID for some time now.  Mostly working independently on projects except for referring to a couple of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to ensure I have processes and terminology correct.

 I was very excited when I was asked to be part of a large, high profile project. We were asked to redesign a New Hire Training (NHT) that traditionally was done face-to-face and took approximately five weeks to complete.  The redesign was an innovative concept to the company, and the reason it became such a high profile. Everyone wanted to know how the new concept would work. We developed a blended learning course for NHT, which reduced training time to only 3 weeks. 

You are probably thinking – Blended learning is nothing new. It has been a valid teaching strategy for years. However, my new company had been solely creating facilitator-led training before this. We were finally breaking into more modernized training methods.

This was going to be my very first...

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