Become an IDOL 72: Success Story with Former Teacher Jennifer Berman

Guest: Jennifer Berman,  Instructional Designer

In this episode, I will be chatting with Jennifer Berman, an IDOL course Academy member who transitioned into an Instructional Designer in just 14 weeks. She worked for 17 years in Elementary Education when becoming the primary virtual teacher inspired a love for online learning. She tells how IDOL gave her the skills, feedback and goal setting that she needed to make such a quick transition. Listen in to hear how her corporate role compares to teaching! 

Listen to this episode below:

 

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Let me tell you a little bit about Jennifer:
Jennifer taught elementary school for 17 years and obtained her Masters degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. At first she thought about a career in Administration. During the pandemic after virtual teaching decided on a different route. IDOL courses Academy gave her just...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Taking ADDIE to the Church the Business Side

“Wait, Churches use Instructional Design? But how?”

I remember when I 1st begin to volunteer with the church, I walked in thinking the office staff would be at their desk with Bibles open talking theology and praying for people when they called.  I remember thinking the pastor and board members would be in a room voting on new leadership and responsibilities.  Boy was I wrong! So here is a little breakdown of how the local church uses the ADDIE process to accomplish its “business” goals?

ANALYSIS

In my 1st week, the staff was meeting about the 1st community job fair the church was hosting.  Because of the magnitude of the project, it was important to have all our ducks in a row, from the participants to the employees, to the volunteers…everyone needed to know what their responsibilities were. So in a planning room, with a whiteboard of information about who is in the community (leaner analysis), and the goal of the event as it...

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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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