Taking the Leap: Transitioning from Teaching to Freelance ID

When I decided to leave teaching, I had a mix of emotions. What else could I really do? Teaching had been my life for seven years. I knew teaching like I knew how to take care of my children or like I knew how to drive. I could do it really well with minimal effort, and I loved it. I loved the excitement my students had for learning, and I loved creating lesson plans. Lesson plans gave me the opportunity to bring learning to life, whether I was teaching financial literacy or marketing concepts. 

There came a time I became mentally exhausted. Professionals call it "teacher burnout," and it is real. Teacher burnout usually happens around year five, but I made it to year seven. So, wasn't that an accomplishment? I asked myself often to justify staying. But what I realized is once my heart wasn’t there anymore, I had to leave because I’d lost my passion. When you lose your passion, everyone suffers, from your family to your students, the community and the parents. I...

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5 Lessons I Learned Building My Portfolio

Are you a perfectionist?

Are you struggling to build your first portfolio?

Do you feel like you're spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere?

STOP! Right where you are. Save yourself wasted time and effort by learning from my mistakes.

Here are some revelations I had while working on my portfolio:

Set realistic expectations for what your portfolio should look like based on your current abilities and experience as an instructional designer. If you are new to the field, aim to demonstrate your proficiency and understanding, instead of skill and expertise.

While the portfolios of experts and leading industry practitioners are great sources of inspiration, your portfolio will likely not look like theirs. As a novice, you do not have the experience to create a portfolio equivalent to the portfolios that took others years and sometimes a decade-plus to work up to.

Here are some examples of what your first portfolio website might look like:

Christine Prince

Bonnie Lou Davis

...

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What I Learned From The Show: Learning Competition

 If you haven’t had the chance to check out The Show from The Learning Conference, I have to say you are missing out. The Show has been an incredible learning competition where designers worldwide have been showcasing their solutions for designated client briefs. The creativity and designs have been inspiring. Cath Ellis and Kim  Tuohy, the hosts and creators of The Show, have worked to develop a fun and engaging contest where designers have gotten out of their comfort zones.  There were a ton of cameos, including IDOL courses Academy’s own Dr. Robin Sargent, who was a guest host and provided feedback on the LexCorp Engineering Resource Challenge where competitors had to create a universal storyboard per their client request. 

 

The Show is the preceding event to The Learning Conference, which is happening online from August 3rd to 5th 2020.  They have got a fantastic lineup of speakers. If you have the time, you should join in the...

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Finding Your Design Identity

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read these two words: design identity?

If you are thinking this is just an alternative way of referring to your brand or brand identity, you’re wrong. 

Here’s why:

Your brand is how people perceive you.

A brand is the recognizable feeling a product or business evokes...They live in the minds of everyone who experiences them.

---Brian Lischer

 

Your brand identity is how you want to be perceived and what you create to influence that perception (logos, color palette, etc). 

 

Brand identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer.

---Deanna deBara


Your design identity is who you are as an instructional designer. 

 Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.

---Epictetus

 

To discover your design identity is to undergo self-discovery without the pressure to live...

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Building Your Personal Brand: Part 1

We live in a digital world. If something good or bad happens anywhere in the world, it is likely caught in a picture or more than likely on video. Messages spread faster than ever before. We receive messages consistently, whether it is an email, text messages, or social media, there is something always trying to grab your attention.    

In a world where you are inundated with messages, how can you stand out among the crowd?

 

If you said branding, then you would be right!

We are used to seeing companies brand themselves. I am sure if you are an IDOL courses fan whether you follow the blog, Become an IDOL Podcast, or the Become an Instructional Designer and Online Learning Developer Facebook group, you recognize the green, yellow, pink, purple, and the fun logo. 

 

  

But how do you create a personal brand?
Personal branding goes beyond your logo or color pallet. It goes beyond your portfolio and its design. I have been on a journey to...

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Embrace Your Inner Child: How to Approach Being New to Instructional Design with Childlike Wonder

When first starting a new career path, have you ever thought to yourself any of the following?
  • I don’t know how to do any of this.
  • I am too embarrassed to show my work to people.
  • I’m not good enough.

Being new sucks.

You are just beginning to learn the rules that everyone else appears to have mastered. The list of things you don’t know seems never-ending. You are taking in as much information as you can, yet your output is subpar. Plus, you don’t get the inside jokes and are not even sure if you fit in.

Being new can be so uncomfortable, embarrassing, and sometimes demoralizing...except if you’re a toddler.

Then being new is liberating!

You get to be bad, really bad, at things, and still be proud of your efforts.

You get to experiment without worrying whether you look presentable doing it.

You get to fail miserably and repeatedly without fear of judgment.

Even when you literally fall on your face, you give yourself the grace to make mistakes and...

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The Magic Question that Simplified my ID Process

You are starting on a new instructional design project and just read the project outline. You are half-excited and half-worried that you may not meet expectations. You decide to silence that voice first. You get into your design space, and you start thinking: Okay, I got the learning outcomes, and the intended business goals but:

  • I should probably follow what's on the books this time.
  • "A" from ADDIE. That's my lifesaver.
  • Let me google first what others might have done. It isn’t cheating because I am just looking for some inspiration. ;)

Let's face it. If you have done your instructional design homework, you have probably concluded there are a LOT of ID frameworks out there.  As part of the IDOL courses Academy, I got to take a dive into the 7 most commonly used instructional design models.

I thought : "That's it! I got into the backstage, got the tricks of the trade now, let me start designing and developing." I quickly realized I should be very selective in how I...

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Degrees Don't Get You an IDOL Job, Experience Does

  • “Hey professor, I thought I made it clear that I did not want to teach children.”
  • “What in the heck are all these new terms and authoring tools: LMS, Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, Vyond, Lectora, stakeholders, and so on?”
  • “I can’t afford to spend another dollar.“
  • “How is this lady going to help me when my master’s degree has not done the job?”

I searched through the online college catalog for a major in the master's program with no certification requirements, and where my bachelor's degree might meet the criteria for admittance. All I knew was that I wanted to educate adults in a way that would impact their lives with stability and growth. One program grabbed my undivided attention, and it was Instructional Technology Design and Development. Once I read the description and the classes needed to earn my degree, I felt compelled to step into this program with both feet.

 At the beginning of the...

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Staying Connected and Positive During Shelter-In-Place Orders

Staying Connected and Positive During Shelter-In-Place Orders

All of us at IDOL Courses, like many of you across the learning and development world, have seen the things we tackle daily become part of the national and international dialogue around the many shifts taking place in response to COVID19 - shifting learning from in-person to online, figuring out and implementing technology quickly, wearing many hats (from designer, to developer, to deployment support, and everything in between). And as shelter-in-place orders are more common than not across North America and Europe, in major cities in Asia and Africa, it feels like the whole world is attempting to practice social distancing (or at least they should be). If you are fortunate and privileged enough to not be on the front lines of this unprecedented crisis or directly impacted by the over 940,000 cases that have been identified at the time this was written, if you have some space to breathe and or feel like you have extra...

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The Brave New World of Going Remote

Let’s face it. The world we were living in four weeks ago has changed. The COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc not only on the health care systems of the world and has altered our day-to-day interactions. Schools are suddenly closed, and jobs that may have been resisting the idea of remote work have gone full-court press transitioning all employers remote because the show must go on. Schools are transitioning to online education not to have children fall behind. Now a new challenge is transitioning to remote work and having your children home with the expectation of physical/social distancing. 

I wear several hats. I am a practicing respiratory therapist who is an essential employee like always (more so even now), an online educator, and an instructional designer. I doubt many in the world will look at this situation the same as I do just because of my mashup of professional roles and educational degrees.

 Telehealth has been a hot topic in health care for a while...

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