5 Training Tips to Help You Love Your Instructional Design Job
Hi, I am Shawntay Michelle, the Trainologist! Today, I am going to share 5 Training Tips to help you develop the right mindset towards your Training or Instructional Design job.
Create Your Mindset
The right mindset can make the difference between loving and hating your job.
Over the years, I have had to work on my mindset often to keep positive about my role and some of the managers I have worked for. A couple of them were just awful. I loved my work and my team so I had to continuously work on my mindset to stay happy in my role and be a good source of energy for my team. In fact, I had to work on my personal mindset just to put myself out there as a blogger and share my 5 Training Tips. Putting yourself out there can be a bit scary.
Why might it be scary? It’s was scary for me because I had a bit of negative self-talk. That negative talk sounded like, “what if they don’t like what I have to share about my 5 Training Tips, what if I let them down, what if they don’t like me in general, what if I fail, what if..what if…what if”.
After coming up with every negative “what if” I could imagine, I made a conscious choice to shut off the negative “what if” mindset. Instead, I chose to focus on the positive “what if”. The positive “what if” mindset sounds a lot better. It sounds like, “What if they do like the 5 Training Tips, what if I can contribute something valuable, what if I can help someone?”
Get the Real Talk
As you can probably tell already, I am very passionate about designing quality training experiences. I want to share my passion with you. Together, we can maximize human potential by building quality training courses. Let’s be friends!
As your friend, I will give you the real talk. We will talk about instructional design, training development, and managing training projects starting with my 5 Training Tips below. What you won’t get is the academic talk or best practices that come out of a textbook, at least not without a real-world application.
Not to say that the academic or textual readings on the topic are wrong because they aren’t. In fact, I did study Training and Development. Heck, I earned a Master of Science degree in Training and Development.
While my education experience was great, there just isn’t much that can substitute real-world application. And, that my friend, is what I want to share with you through this blog, my freebies, and my courses. The real deal, real-world application of all things training and development.
What do ya think? Interested?
Before you answer and before we get to the 5 Training Tips, let me get personal with ya and tell you a little about me.
Who is this Self-Proclaimed Training Expert?
As a kid, I didn’t dream of growing up to be a training designer or developer. I dreamt of being a lawyer like many other kids. Even once I went to college, I never thought I would be an educator or a designer of any type of education. I mean, I was terrified of speaking in front of groups so how could this career path have ever been a consideration for me?
I was seriously scared. In fact, I was so scared that in one of my jobs, I froze during on-the-job training with two customers, and the trainer, Josetta, my trainer, had to jump in and speak for me!
Fast track 17 years later, and I have been a teacher, an adjunct professor, an instructional designer, a trainer, a presenter, and a training leader. I can hardly believe it based on where I started. I am so glad that I faced my fears and dove headfirst into project management, education, and training.
While it is true I never went to college with the dream of becoming an educator or a trainer, it is also true that I have always been a trainer.
Where did I start?
Going all the way back to high school and my first job as a cashier, I trained others at the grocery store I worked in. In college, I waited tables, and I trained new servers. I even opened new restaurant locations and trained the local staff, even in another country! And, once I entered my professional career, I started taking training classes and eventually moved into education as my profession.
All that to say, training is just a part of me. It’s who I am. It’s something I have always enjoyed, even before I had any professional training skills, and I have been doing it since my first job. Over the years, I have racked up quite a few tips and tricks like these 5 Training Tips to help you love your job!
Training Tip #1: Be a student.
Being a life-longer learner seems obvious to me if you design or build trainings. What I have found with every training team I have been a part of or led, however, is that this is not the norm or even an expectation. This BLOWS my mind. In my opinion, every person in training and development or instructional design should be continually growing and developing.
There are so many resources available today that bring learning to the tips of our fingers with a few strokes or swipes. Learning is fun! And, we can learn from others how to keep learning interesting. We can also keep our skills relevant and understand what is trending so that we build amazing trainings.
In my last role, I realized that video was popular with our target audience. This meant that I needed to incorporate video into our training design. I had two options. Option 1: Create and submit a marketing brief every time I had a video need and get placed in a queue; or Option 2: Learn how to record and edit videos myself.
Which option do you think I chose? Keep in my mind that I had no money for training.
If you chose Option 2, you are right. I went to our in-house expert and asked him to put on a brief training for me and my team. With his training and ongoing support, we became very good at editing videos for our training courses.
This is just one example of how being a student can better you and your trainings. Be a lifelong student and learn what you need to when you need to.
Training Tip #2: Be Agile.
A popular buzzword in project management right now is Agile. Agile project management is so effective and opens the lines of communication with your team and stakeholders. I recommend that you and your team study up on Agile and incorporate the principles into your training development process.
One area of Agile that I find particularly helpful with training development, is velocity. Velocity is exactly what it sounds like – speed. Know your speed. How long does it take YOU to develop training? How long does it take each member of your team? This is so important for you to know but most people don’t know their personal or team’s velocity.
I didn’t know my velocity until I started working in Agile. Here’s something for you to think about that emphasizes the importance of knowing your velocity. If training development takes you 40 hours of development for every one hour of delivery and your boss asks you to develop a one-hour training in two days, is it possible? The answer is NO!
When you know your velocity, you can tell your boss what a realistic development period would be based on your experience.
Training Tip #3: Be a collector.
At the start of every training and when you get a training request, collect information. Right now, I am shouting this at you and at everyone who will listen. COLLECT INFORMATION!!!!!
So many training designers get assigned a training by a higher up and they get scared, say okay, and go to work. No, no, no! Please don’t do this. People who request training are looking at you to be the expert and the professional.
You drive collecting information. You are responsible for following up to get the information you need, even if it takes 10 tries. My former boss used to tell me that I was the best pest he ever met. I am so proud of this! In my book, it’s a compliment. He knew that if he assigned something to me, I would turn over every rock to get the information I needed.
Be relentless in your pursuit of relevant information for your training assignment.
Training Tip #4: Be a statistician.
Not only should you track velocity, you should also track the number of training participants in each training. Analyze the results and feedback for each training, too. And, if you can, analyze how your training impacted a key business initiative. This last one can be a little more difficult to achieve and may require a partnership with your analytics team. If you can get this data and show that your training moved the needle, that’s huge!
Analyze all of the data you can. It will help you design and build more effective and interesting trainings in the future. Sometimes the results are awesome and sometimes they are a bust. Regardless, there is always something to reflect on and take away from the data.
Training Tip #5: Be willing to smile and walk away.
Have you ever designed a training or built a training just to have it get lost on someone’s desk or have it killed just before launch? This is like a gut punch, right? It can be so frustrating or it can be like water and just roll off your back.
It all comes down to perspective. My personal perspective is that you always put what’s best for the company before ego.
In business, we often need to pivot quickly to meet new business needs. A pivot can cause the training we are working on to be de-prioritized or obsoleted completely. When you need to pivot, pivot without mercy, and focus on your new priorities.
Don’t take it personally. Your paycheck most likely wasn’t impacted so just smile and move on.
Well, my friend, these are my 5 Training Tips. Hopefully, one or more of them was useful to you. Designing and building trainings can be a really rewarding profession with the right mindset. I love my work and look forward to sharing with you what I know.
It’s been fun! I hope we can do this again soon!
The Testimonials are In:
Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.
I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!
Future Instructional Designer
I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
Future Instructional Designer
I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.
Krista Johnson Awomoyi
Freelance Instructional Designer
I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
Instructional Designer Training Facilitator
Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design
I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!
Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer
Shawntay has been incredible!
Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.
Beth B. De Lima, MBA, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP
President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.
IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!
The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.
LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker
A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!
Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University
Creative & Highly Talented!
Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer. She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program. It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.
Breaks Down Mammoth Projects
“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach
“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning
Top Notch Professional
Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.
Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research
Fortunate to Find Shawntay!
“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.
Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!
“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”
Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services
Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?
“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships
Quality Products & Solutions!
“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”
Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach
“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”
Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.
Managing Partner, PHiG
“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”
Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics
I have known and worked with Shawntay as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations. The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention. Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.
Al Lomas CMP, CEM, CMM, CFE
Owner, Certified Consulting Services
“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”
I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.
Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!
Training Specialist, LegalShield