Welcome to become an idol. I'm Dr. Robin Sargent, owner of idle courses. This is the place where newbies come to learn and veteran share their knowledge
I have here with me today Christopher Fox, and he is an idol courses Academy member, who is of course now an idol ces success story. And I brought Christopher on because I want him to share his story and his journey to become an idol. So Christopher, would you please do a better job of introducing yourself and tell us a little bit about your background?
Well, thank you so much for having me, Dr. Robin. It's a pleasure to be here. And just to I guess, go into my background a little bit. I was prior to going through the idol Academy, I was a classroom teacher. And so I was teaching eighth grade US history and teaching middle school, junior high. So I kind of had a few changes that happened in my life, I guess it was 2019, I moved out of state I was living in California, relocated out of state to Oregon, and had a kind of a big transition in my life where I was unemployed for a little bit as I just moved out of state, and you know, thought about did I want to continue teaching? Or did I want to consider other avenues. And it just so happened that during all of that process, while I was thinking about that there was also this thing called the pandemic that happened and kind of threw everything into confusion. So you know, during the course of that process, I considered, you know, what, what were my career goals? What, where did I, you know, where do I want to be working? Was I concerned about my health in terms of, you know, if I was going to be in a workplace and exposed to, you know, to COVID Essentially, during that time, you know, what were my my salary expectations? Did I need to change some of those things? So all of those things, were kind of, I guess, big considerations and why I started looking into other career avenues. And I came across the field of learning and development of instructional design of which led me to idle courses Academy.
Now which cohort specifically, were you a part of Christopher?
So that would have been? Let's see. started in January of 2020. Oh, no. January of 2021. This year.
Oh, that was like the first time we did do it messy. Okay, I got you. Alright, so you, you were just you found idle courses Academy as soon as you landed on instructional design, what made you think like instructional design, that's where I want to go when you were doing your research?
Well, I wanted to find a career path where I could really bring my my skill set that I had as a teacher, whether that was
leading leading instruction, instructional, you know, instructor led trainings or my knowledge of how to connect with learners and help them
engage with content. So my facilitation skills as well, that I had from from being a teacher. And in I was lucky that I hadn't had met someone through my family that was also an instructional designer worked in learning and development. And so she kind of she familiarized me with the few difference units at this point, I still wasn't sure. Where did I Where did I want to go with with this interest? So she familiarized me with the elearning heroes challenge. She familiarized me with, you know, the storyline challenges that you can do and some different podcasts that that she listened to so that I could start learning more about the field. And and then, like I said, during that process, I also stumbled across the idle courses account. Me. And so I kind of evaluated you know what? Okay, I'm really interested in this field. Now what path is best for me? Do I want to do a certificate course in instructional design? Do I want to do? I don't courses Academy you know, what path would be best for me to pursue this, which was it was kind of a big leap of faith for me because, you know, it's like, I, I was completely leaving, I have a master's in education, I'm completely leaving the field of classroom teaching. It was a little scary. So I had to decide, well, you know, okay, I'm gonna enroll on this program. And then I think what really got me excited about ITIL courses was I did the do it messy challenge, like you said, and after that, I was totally hooked. It's like, okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna do this now.
I love it. So um, so let's, I mean, it's always really nice that you had somebody that you could turn to in your own family, and ask them questions and get pointed to resources, and things like that. Alright, so you enrolled in January after the become an idol challenge. And just for clarification, to do it, Messi is actually in the academy, but we do do a become an idol challenge, like the, like five free days of training. Okay, so you rolled in January, and you started? And so tell us like, what did your journey look like, once you joined the academy? I mean, did you just speak? Were you still unemployed at this time? And so you just like focused and, you know, put in hours of work are what did? What did the actual process look like for you all the way up until you started applying for jobs?
Yeah, so yeah, so thanks for correcting on that. Yeah. So it was the becoming? Was it the become an idol challenge? I think it's called the five days that we did. Yeah. So that's, that was I did that. And I was like, Okay, I'm just gonna commit myself to this full time. And so I was like, Okay, I enrolled in the program, I'm just gonna, I'm gonna pretend like I'm in a job every day, and, you know, pursue the academy full time. So I started, you know, before I started the Academy, I was doing research, you know, listening to podcasts, you know, trying to learn more about the different job titles. And then once the Academy started, I just went into the different course modules. And I started just going through those. Because one of the things that really motivated me about the and I liked about the idle courses Academy is that you have a structure of, you know, these are the things you need to do to this portfolio that you need to create in order to, you know, prepare for prepare for applying for a role. And, and it really motivated me that, you know, there were a lot of people that were getting hired within weeks, months of starting the program, and it was self paced. And that's, that was something that really appealed to me about the program that was motivating to me was like, Okay, I'm making a big leap of faith here. You know, I'm leaving my I left my other job, I just, I need to do this. So there's no going back, I have to just, you know, pursue this program and then get hired. So like I said, I was just working on the modules and trying to earn my badges as well. Take taking in as much content from the idol Academy as I could. So I was listening to a lot of these podcasts, you know, every day and trying to learn more about other people's experiences. So yeah, I would say, you know, if you're considering or you're going through the idle courses Academy, that's one of the things that's great is you have a lot of really amazing people who with different experiences, either coming to learning and development, instructional design, or people who are already experienced who are mentors in the academy. So that was just a huge resource for me.
So about how many hours per week did you put in you think,
how many hours would you focus?
Did you just focus on building your portfolio? How much of your portfolio did you get done before you started applying, like, give us the details?
Well, It's hard to put a number of hours that I spent a week, but maybe, I don't know, like a standard work week. So I was the hardest thing for me initially was design skills and, you know, learning to put together a portfolio, I had to learn to use Photoshop essentially. And, you know, I mean, I didn't have to do that, but I was like, Okay, I want to learn how to do this so that I can, you know, create a good looking website and work on putting together better instructional materials and you know, elearning. And so, you know, what, from what little I knew about those things, I was like, Okay, I need to get better at this, because I had seen some of the samples of other of other students in the academy already. And I was like, wow, okay. There are some people who are amazing at this, I want to get better at this. So you know, that's, that's, that was taking me a lot of time, like I was spending, I would say, I spent, you know, more time in the first few weeks just on on that, and, obviously, something that I'm still working on, but design skills were really important to me.
So, I mean, probably more specifically, you are talking about, like your visual design skills.
Yes. Thank you. Yeah, visual design.
Okay, so you're spending like 40 hours a week, you're like, just going all the way in, you've already it's, it's great even that you were able to determine what your own learning gaps were right, just by kind of being in the community, seeing the exemplars and things like that. And you're like, oh, it's visual design. For me, that's what I'm going to focus on. And so when, how many assets in your portfolio did you have before you started applying?
So I want to say I had I had probably one asset for each category, that's, you know, so I had an instructional aide I had I had a elearning sample and artic, articulate 360 sample and also get believe in instructional guide, facilitator guide that I had put together. And so those were kind of my initial samples. And then I started applying to jobs after about a probably about a month in the program.
So I'm just Okay, so it's you got you knocked it out in a month, which is impressive already. And did you go to mentors? And did you submit things to coaches?
Yeah, so yeah, that was one of the things I loved about the program was the the mentor aspect of the program because I mean, every aspect of going through this process is challenging to begin with, if you there's such a big learning curve, you know, whether it is visual design skills, interviewing for a role putting together a portfolio you know, it's wherever, you know, however overwhelmed you may be feeling by by all this process, the Academy had so many great resources that you know, especially the I felt the mentors who you know, really went above and beyond to you know, provide me with feedback that that helped me to grow so you know, that that helped a lot of things in terms of starting to get on the right path and in especially, I think my elearning of putting together storyline samples and and really understanding how all those pieces fit together. So but yeah, I mean, the mentors were were helpful in a lot of ways.
Did you give yourself US did you set like a deadline for I will apply by this time? I mean, you've got you got things ready and you were applying within the month Do you have a deadline in mind?
I tried to put a deadline on myself of of you know, that that challenge that do it messy challenge was kind of my deadline of like, okay, I'm gonna have all of this ready. I'm going to do everything that you know, keep up with my classmates in the academy and then you know, start applying to roles once the duet messy challenges is completed.
I love it. So many people get scared at that point, right? They only have Like 14 steps, and we're like, go ahead and apply. And they're like, really? But I love it, you did it anyway. And so are you started applying a month after you joined? And then do you have any idea about how many you apply to? Did you target specific types of roles? How many interviews did you get? What kind of what is your data look like for that?
That was part of the scary processes is applying to roles when there are so many different types of roles, curriculum developer, instructional designer, and on and on and on. Right. So it was, that was part of the scary process is, do Am I qualified for this role? And you know, is it something that's, there's all those other factors that go into it of, you know, are they looking to hire someone who's new to the field and things like that, that that's a whole nother thing. But yeah, it was, it was scary to you know, I was like, Well, my I, I'm done with it, do it messy challenge, but I don't really feel that it's like a perfect portfolio, you know. And so, I think, I think that was part of the leap of faith, as well as just being like, okay, it's not perfect. But in this process of interviewing, and, and starting to apply for roles, I'm still going to be working on it, I'm still going to be improving it. And, you know, a lot of the classmates that I keep in touch with from the ITIL, academies are still working on their portfolio, still revising it all the time. And so that's, you know, that's one of the things I love about about this field is that people are constantly, you know, those that are committed constantly working on professional development, and, you know, you'll, there's always opportunities for growth. So. So yeah, I just kind of, I was scared, but I was like, Okay, I'm gonna jump into this.
How many jobs did you apply for?
Oh, how many jobs apply for a lot? A lot. That's part of the scary part. At least 15 interviews, I would say, maybe more. I, you know, it's one of the things that is a challenge for me is, is in all of this process was learning to be better at interviewing. So I would say that the academy was was very helpful in terms of coaching me up on those things, and I had opportunities to practice. So you know, that that was, that was a challenging part for me. But you know, I eventually did land land a role is as curriculum developer, so. So there was an end to the road, but it was a long one.
So you had 15 First round interviews? Oh, or 15 in total?
In total, that's not a that's that was just a guess. But I like that.
Something like that. Okay. And so then you got some traction, and you started to go you started, you know, to get interviewed for the role that you currently have. How many interviews did you go through to land your current job?
In my in the role that I landed, currently, I had to go through three different interviews. The initial interview was a phone screening. And then the second interview was a panel interview. And the third interview was in person, again, with my, my previous supervisor, who was my manager at the time.
And so when did you get to this interview that led to the job that you ended? How How, how many months after you joined? Is this right now?
Oh, so I just passed the sixth month of being in my role. So six months. So it took me in terms of how long it took to actually from the first interview to the last, it took about a month, I would say to do the onboarding and interview all those things.
Did you land your job within two months, three months or four months of joining the academy? Like what month did you land your job?
That was in May, so that would have been then is that within three? Maybe? I would say yeah.
Yeah, cuz we usually start the end of January. Almost February. Yeah. So yeah. About About three
Yeah, so I was, you know, I was getting concerned because I was like, I seen a lot of my classmates getting hired in roles. And I was nervous. I was like, oh, no, I'm taking so long to interview and get hired. But, you know, it's, there was an end in sight. So
it totally was. Okay. So tell us about tell us, you, you landed the job. Tell us about the the feedback they gave you, or like, why they picked you? Or what were some things that you picked up during that interview process, you know, for the one that ultimately became your, your role?
Yeah. So the part of the reason I got the role was because of my experience with ITIL courses Academy and the ELearning Development skills that I had picked up. So that was a really important component, because that's, that's a good percentage of what I do as curriculum developers, I designed that you learning for our new hires. You know, so that was part of it. The other part was facilitation skills, and being able to, I help facilitate the new hire orientation for our employees. So that's a that's a very important part of what I do as well. As well as having a I don't say, an expert knowledge, but a basic knowledge of, of the ADDIE process was very important to start building upon, and really understanding how learning and development works at the corporate level.
Wonderful. So what is the your current title is curriculum developer? Right? And I've heard you say that a couple of times. Yeah. Can you tell us like the company you work at? or the type of company
Yeah, so they're the company is, is a privately owned company. It's called par lumber. So it's a lumber company here in the Northwest. So you know, a lot of our learners are their new hires to the company who are working in the lumber yards. And, or maybe their drivers making deliveries, or maybe their customer service people who are learning how to best serve our customers. And most of our customers are our large builders or contractors here in the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon, where I live. So you know, that's, that's kind of to give our learners and customers in a nutshell, but you know, that's who I'm serving. And I mostly serve the, you know, like I said, the new hires, so I'm helping during the onboarding, process of orientation, and new hire trainings for them on the different topics that they need to learn to be successful in their role.
Do you work on site?
Yes, I do. So I have some remote days. And then I have some other days when I'm on site.
What do you love about being an instructional designer? Obviously, you were a teacher before. And now you're an Instructional Designer for a lumber company, which actually probably sounds really cool. Seems like you do some really fun things for your, for your new employees. So what I mean, just your kind of the differences between your work lifestyle isn't what's that?
Yeah. Well, I, I actually, I love it. It's like, it's like perfect for me, because I love number one, I love customer service, I love trying to figure out what do people need? What, you know, trying to ask them that question, you know, what are you working on? What can we how can we best serve you. And at our company, we have we say internal customers. So like each other, you know, fellow employees, and then we have external customers, customers that that we serve. So our contractors or, you know, individual homeowners increasingly are coming to our company for you know, for things that for projects that they're working on. And so, so I really love it. And I think another thing that really excites me is I like I like what we do. The fact that, you know, I didn't expect that I would be working for a lumber company, but I really love, you know, building things and you know, seeing seeing all parts of that process. So, for me, it just just worked out really well that Just having that it's a, if you think about it, it's a very, it's a very basic need. And it's very fulfilling to me that, that we help people build homes,
I mean that it's so fundamental right? I mean, that's something that we just take advantage of. But you look around and you're like, oh, yeah, I just felt everything this room came from a lumber company. So that's wonderful. So you have job satisfaction. And I hear a lot of teachers say, like, I get to go to the bathroom when I want to. And but you so you kind of have you said, you do facilitation and ELearning Development, and curriculum design. So it sounds like you kind of have a hybrid role, right? You're like both a trainer and an instructional designer?
Is that right? Right. So right now, it's, we're kind of in a transition period saves. We have a training manager, who is my manager, and then we have the curriculum developer, which is me. And we've been in the process of trying to onboard for a training facilitator. So someone to facilitate the different trainings that our company has, like orientation. Some other things on our point of sale system and other technologies that we have, but we don't have that person hired yet. So it's, you know, in the meantime, we've taken on some of those other responsibilities, which I'm okay with, I really love facilitating the new hire orientation and seeing people, you know, really excited about, you know, about coming to the company. And I love to tell them, you know, my story and kind of, you know why I'm excited about the company, that's, it's just very fulfilling,
I love it. All right. So there are so many Christopher that are exactly where it used to be, they are teachers who want to make the transition to become a corporate instructional designer. And so I know that they would just love to hear from you. I mean, you might have felt like a little discouraged that it took you three to four months to land a role. But that is completely a, it's still quite an accomplishment, I mean, took you a whole month, to get through the interview process that took you less than a month to build your portfolio. So really, that's not that long, when you think about it, in the grand scheme of things. And so what would be like your best advice and encouragement to those who are where you used to be for
instructional design, if learning and development is something that you're really excited, you're completely devoted to, I would say, just, you know, if that's the path, you're going, just put your, I'll just put 100%. And that might involve, you know, a lot of interviews. But every time you interview, you'll learn something new. So just be just be open to learning. And continuing to develop, even though you're not in a role, you're still developing your interview skills, for instance, you're developing your portfolio samples. And people will see that, you know, and, and, and just make sure that you have that, that passion also for, you know, for the role that that you're applying for, and for the company, as well, people really want to see that, you know, I think I think, you know, any role that I've ever gotten, it's not just that I'm passionate about the job itself, it said I'm also have a passion for, you know, for the company or for the, the Yeah, for the company that that you're going to be applying to, you know, if if you have that, I would say that that's, you know, that's an excellent start. And just realize that, that there's also you know, it's it's that learning curve, there's a big learning curve to you know, you're coming from teaching, you have a lot of valuable skills, you have facilitation skills, you have very strong knowledge of your learners. And those are things that are very valuable to learning and development organizations. Just having been in my role for for about six months. Everybody's, you know, not everybody, but you know, I've gotten a lot of feedback about Wow, you you know, you really know a lot about facilitation and, and your learners and that's very valuable to to us. So I would say as a teacher you are uniquely positioned to be very successful in an instructional design role. So just realize that that your skills are very valuable here.
I love it crisper, that is excellent advice, especially the part of you know, there it's easy right to get like wrapped up in the passion for the craft but to also They'll make sure to do your research and your homework and really have a compelling story about why you want to work specifically for that company. I think that is excellent advice. And I mean, even just the way that you boiled it down to, I didn't know I'd be working for a lumber company. But it's really cool to know that I am a part of what goes into every home home. So you know, if people can even just go and find something as simple as that, about why they want to work for a specific company. I think it would really connect the dots for those hiring managers. So thank you so much, Chris. First, for sharing your story and your journey with us. And your wonderful, wonderful, avoid advice. And thanks again for coming on the become an idol podcast. Thank
you so much, Dr. Robin.
Thank you so much for listening. You can find the show notes for this episode at idle courses.com. If you like this podcast and you want to become an instructional designer, and online learning developer, join me in the idle courses Academy, where you'll learn to build all the assets you need to land your first instructional design job, early access to this podcast tutorials for how to use the elearning authoring tools, templates for everything course building and paid instructional design experience opportunities, go to idle courses.com forward slash Academy and enroll or get on the waitlist. Now get out there and build transcendent
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