The intention of this page is to give new instructional designers a foundation, a place to begin. These are things that I have learned over the passed year or wish I would have known a year ago. This is NOT an extensive list!
Build a Network
- Social Media – If you do not have a Facebook or Twitter account, get one. You can use these tools to build a network; to build a group of people that will inspire you or help you when you need it.
- Association for Talent Development (ATD) – Join your local chapter and meet some like-minded people in your area.
- Podcasts – Don’t just listen, connect with the people! They will all have twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or email accounts. CONTACT them. BUILD YOUR NETWORK!
- TLDChat – LIVE daily podcast of people in our industry. This is a live podcast. You can ask questions and get feedback immediately.
- DearID – recorded podcast that is great for the newbie and seasoned instructional designer. The podcasts cover everything from tools to become a freelance designer.
- Instructional Redesign – recorded podcast that includes stories and conversations about designing a learning experience.
- The eLearning Coach – recorded podcast that covers all the bases for the instructional designer. The podcast covers tools as well as voice overs and research based examples!
- Catalyst Sale Podcast – recorded podcast that is focused on sales training BUT has a lot of information that is applicable to all realms of the creating a learning experience. There are sessions on the difference between coaching and mentoring as well as time management.
- Conferences – Meet new people! Introduce yourself to someone new at each session. Before you arrive, do your research. What do you want to know? Who do you want to meet? What value is the conference to you?
- Learning DevCamp – a small but powerful conference. Meet some of the superstars of the industry. At this conference you will not just sit and listen, you will roll up your sleeves and build!
- Association for Talent Development (ATD) – a larger conference that will have a lot of vendors and presenters. A great way to get introduced to many different topics.
- The eLearning Guild – offers three different conferences. To help you select which one is right for you, they created a guide. Download the pdf here.
- Training, Learning, and Development Conference (TLDC) – another small but powerful conference. Last year, I was able to attend their 2nd conference. It was held in Phoenix, AZ. There were a lot of very informative sessions that allowed me to ask questions and meet new people in the industry.
- Webinars – Once you connect with the webinar providers, they will email you every time a new one is coming up or available. It is a great way to keep yourself on top of new topics, visit ideas, and share with a group.
- Try an e-Learning Challenge. You will not only challenge yourself but you will also build your network and portfolio.
- Use a different tool. There are many new apps and tools out there. Try a new one!
- Use a different approach. Too often we end up doing the same old thing we did before. Why? Because it is easy. Because it worked before. Because it will be done fast. Stop yourself as soon as you notice yourself in a rut or repeating the same thing again. Try a different approach.
- Check out some interesting research in the field! Read a new book. Here are a handful that are recommended:
- Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (available on Audible too!)
- Urban Myths about Learning and Education
- Millennials, Goldfish, and Other Training Misconceptions
- Does eLearning Work? What the Scientific Research Says!
- Michael Allen’s Guide to E-Learning: Building Interactive, Fun, and Effective Programs for Any Company
- Make a list of what you have tried. When you try a new tool, write down first impressions, what you liked and what you did not. Stick with the facts about the tool. We have a method called Context, Pilot, and Report (CPR). This method can be used on a small or large scale. Basically, you research the tool by reading reviews, asking others about it, or researching it online. Next, it is time to test out the product. We like to try and break it! Finally, record what you have learned.
- Reflection is an important part of an journey. The process is similar to making a list of what you tried, however, with reflection, the focus is more on emotions. What did you really enjoy about a specific project. What went well and why? What did not go well and why? This is your time to be honest with yourself and will help with self improvement. Think of it as professional development.
- Data visualization is an important skill that all humans need. Be a detective. Stop and ask questions about what you will need to know or what you think others would need to know. For example, when you create a course, you want to know how many people took the course, but wouldn’t you also want to know if they watched all of the video?
- Get comfortable with coding. This will help you talk with different departments or people at a different level. It will also help you understand what data is and is not available. If you are interested in learning xAPI, join the Torrance Learning xAPI Cohort. It is a free way to learn by doing with others just like you!