Have you ever set a goal for yourself– learn something new, exercise more, eat better– then fail? We’ve all been there. I have the problem of creating a long “wish list” of things to learn. But then I have trouble starting the learning the process. What’s the idiom? Starting is half the battle? That’s me in a nutshell.
I was lucky enough to be approached by a former student who asked for suggested resources and guides to learn a computer software that just happened to be on my wish list.
After a short twitter conversation, we decided to be “study buddies”, compiling lists of resources and helping each other through tutorials for Adobe Captivate.
Since we live in different cities (he’s in NY, I’m in LA), we’re using Google Drive to track our progress and share notes and tips. We created a list of resources and then chose a book and video tutorials to read through. We’ve created a timeline in Google Spreadsheet to schedule out when to complete each book chapter. We each contribute and share tips on a Google Document. We each have a separate font color to distinguish our notes from the others text.
So far, our communication has been asynchronous, but if we needed to talk “live”, I’m sure we’d call each other or use a chat or video chat client to discuss our Captivate issues.
It’s going well so far, I’m more encouraged to open up Captivate when I get home from work because I know Jonathan is relying on me. With this, I feel accountable to completing my goal. In similar ways, this is why people join group exercise programs or enroll in classes and seminars– so they have someone to report their progress to.
I earned a communications degree studying Organizational Communication, Learning & Design (OCLD). I loved my classes from the beginning. How organizations change, grow and work effectively intrigued me. Discussions about how communication and design can impact on an organization made me giddy.
But more specifically, I loved (and still do) learning about how individual learning can have a significant impact. Not only is the individual impacted by learning, but their organizations are affected as well. When an employee decides to better themselves by learning a new tool or soft skill, the effort they put into it eventually goes back into the organization. Achievement on the individual level should be considered a win for the organization.
Learning on the micro-level (learning by the individual) can impact an organization on the macro-level.
And for this reason I concentrated in Instructional Design.
As an instructional designer, I believe that if a single person wants to learn a new tool or skill, they should be able to do so, and should be supported by their organization. Therefore, it’s my initiative to host weekly “Coffee Talks” even if only one person RSVPs. I’ll even prepare for and be available during the sessions when no one RSVPs, just in case someone decides to attend my learning sessions on a whim.
Driving home after a long and worthwhile week at work I was meditating on why I love being an Instructional Designer. I decided to share the reasons in a short article:
Instructional Designers Produce– We create instructional materials. We make videos, we make guides, we produce training sessions and workshops. We bring content and learning materials to the audience as their needs require. If we don’t have the skills to do these things ourselves, we work with very skilled people to accomplish our design goals.
Instructional Designers Coordinate– We connect people with the right content. We might not know everything, but we work with Subject Matter Experts and work hard at finding information that is needed to make instruction successful. Connecting people to their needs is exciting!
Instructional Designers Facilitate– We share ideas and instruction to make things easier for our learners. We facilitate learning so our audience can do their work better.
Learning should be about connecting to the content and then sharing your knowledge and interests with others.
Adults learners need to interact with the content, demonstrate their use of the content, and share the content with others to help retain the learning. Designing instruction for hands-on practice and collaboration makes for intriguing and exciting training.