Even before COVID-19 hit my team was doing a lot of virtual training in the form of webinars, e-learning and mobile learning.  After COVID hit that increased as we had to quickly pivot to transform in person learning programs to online.  While there does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel with more and more people being vaccinated, it’s still a good idea to be prepared to continue with virtual learning for the foreseeable future.

Here are some things you need to do as we all continue to flex.

  • Be flexible
  • Stay patient
  • Maintain positivity
  • Keep innovating
  • Continue to blend
  • Create a transition plan

I fully expect to continue holding classes that were formerly in person online for a while.  That being the case, here is my planned approach.

Continue reading “Six Must Do’s for Employee Training During a Pandemic”

Instructional Design Models listed alongside a puzzled woman

If you are getting started with instructional design, you have probably come across several of the instructional design models.  ADDIE, SAM, Action Mapping, Dick and Carey, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction… to name a few…  As you read about each one, you may wonder “which one should I use?” or “which instructional design model is the best?”

It basically boils down to these three:

  • Which one does your class/course use?
  • Which one does your company use?
  • Which one do you like to use?

I know that may seem a bit glib but I can tell you that in most corporate environments (that’s what I can speak to) nobody except you is going to care about which one you use. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use one.  Each model has benefits and if you are serious about working in the field, you’ll want to get familiar with at least a couple of these.  Do you need to be an expert in every one?  No, you don’t.

Most articles I see on this are pretty high falutin’ and go into a bunch of detail about each model without really giving any real life examples or context.  Or they do a brief summary of a whole bunch of them. That’s fine and can be a good way to start learning the differences. What I want to do here is give a very real world view of the ones I actually use and why.

Continue reading “What is the Best Instructional Design Model to Use?”

Do You Need a Masters Degree to be an Instructional Designer

I’ve noticed that there is a lot of interest lately in becoming an Instructional Designer/Learning Experience Designer and/or an E-Learning Developer.  Maybe that’s just because I tend to follow a lot of ID related forums though.  At any rate, a question I see that comes up quite a bit is whether or not a person should pursue a Masters Degree in order to get started as an instructional designer.  (Or they ask it about getting into e-learning development which is usually a part of instructional design.  I discuss each of these roles in more detail here and here.)

I understand why people ask this.  Many people in the field DO have a Masters (myself included) and many of the job postings I’ve seen list it as a requirement. But do you really NEED one to get into the field?  In my opinion and based on my own experience, no, you don’t.  There are plenty of other ways to get experience and there are plenty of jobs that do not require it.  I did instructional design in various capacities for about 15 years before I got my Masters.  When I did decide to pursue the Masters, it was a personal choice and not due to any requirement or pressure from anyone.  Was it worth it?  Yes, for me it definitely was.  But, as I said, it is a personal choice that you will have to make for yourself.  In this article, I am going to share some questions you should ask yourself along with my experience which will hopefully help you as you embark on your own career path.

Continue reading “Do You Need a Masters Degree to be an Instructional Designer?”

Career Spotlight: How to Become an Instructional Designer

Are you a creative person who likes to help others learn? Do you enjoy working in a variety of tools while identifying potential training opportunities?  Then a career as an instructional designer might be for you!  In this article, I will share my tips and tricks on how to become an instructional designer based on my 20+ years of corporate experience.

For an overview of several Learning and Development positions, check out I Want To Be in L&D: Getting Started in Learning and Development

What is an Instructional Designer?

When you think about a training class or a job aid or an e-learning course, they didn’t just appear magically out of thin air.  Someone had to design and build them.  That person is (typically) an instructional designer.  I realize that is a pretty simplistic way to explain it and I’ll go into more detail as we move along.  At the most basic level, though, that is what an instructional designer is.  They are the person who designs the instruction.

For the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on jobs where the main responsibility is instructional design.  Throughout most of my career, I held positions where I did a lot of instructional design but I also did other things like facilitate classes and/or administer the Learning Management System.  I will spotlight those types of positions in a separate article, though.

Also, a lot of the cool kids are calling themselves “Learning Experience Designer” or “LXD” nowadays.  I have also seen “Learning Designer”.  Those are basically the same as what I will be describing here.  I do like those titles and think they probably more aptly describe the role but, most job postings and companies that I’ve seen still use the “old school” term.

Continue reading “Career Spotlight: How to Become an Instructional Designer”