A Note From Shawntay – if you’ve been following my blog you already know I love connecting with people who are interested in becoming an instructional designer.
In my last guest blogger series, I highlighted career changers. These highly motivated professionals successfully transitioned from teaching to instructional design. In their posts, they shared their tips for career changers and other resources that helped in their instructional design transition.
This time around, I’ve invited graduates of the Instructional Design and Tech Accelerator Program to share their experiences. I have truly enjoyed working with these Accelerators and am so proud of how far they’ve come!
Accelerator Journeys: Becoming an Instructional Designer With Shawnice
Instructional design. E-Learning development. What are they? Are they the same thing? Do they overlap? I’m interested in making programs, but which one do I need to know in order to achieve what I want to create?
These were some of the questions that flowed through my mind about becoming an instructional designer and it was a bit overwhelming. But, first, please allow me to introduce myself.
Hi there you amazing aspiring instructional designer and/or eLearning developer! I’m Shawnice, but call me Necee! I started out as an international ESL teacher. How I got into that was pretty random yet completely meant for me. I’ll save that story for another time. Let’s focus on the instructional design for now.
While I was teaching English, there were many times that I was asked to create courses for various grade levels as well as facilitate them and train others in teaching them. This was something I had no experience in, no idea how to do it, but I never let it stop me. Anytime there was something I didn’t know, I searched for the information I needed to create it.
After teaching for about five or six years, I decided I wanted to focus more on the creation and training of the programs rather than only teaching them. Now enters the idea to search for programs that will educate me as well as prepare me to create whatever I want.
Enters the Accelerator Program
I found tons of university programs on becoming an instructional designer as well as eLearning, but never together. I didn’t even really know the difference between the two and what aspects of each I actually had an interest in. At that point, I gave up on my search.
I knew I didn’t want to start another degree program, I’d rather make money than rack up more debt for a year or two studying for something that I may or may not be ready to use once I graduated. Not ideal!
Guess what happened next? You’ll never guess, so I’ll just tell you! Just as me becoming a teacher overseas randomly appeared, so did the Instructional Design Company! Like most of us in today’s world, I was scrolling through Facebook mindlessly and an ad showed up for the Instructional Design and Tech Accelerator Certificate Program.
At first, I looked at it and said to myself, “oh that’s nice”, then kept scrolling. I see so many ads these days for programs that are not true to their word and I didn’t want to just jump into something and waste money. Fast forward a few days, I’m on Instagram doing the same mindless scroll, and here comes a video ad for the Accelerator program again. So I acknowledged it again but didn’t move forward with anything.
You should know, I am the type of person who pays attention to signs and follows my intuition. So when the time came that this ad appeared to me again and to the point where it was becoming daily, I decided to sign up for the webinar to find out more information.
Once I got into the webinar, I was hooked. There was no turning back for me! I became an Accelerator that day.
Let me tell y’all when I say this is literally one of the most comprehensive programs I’ve ever experienced in my life, I mean it! Becoming an instructional designer and eLearning developer is not an easy task! Through the 12 weeks of the program, I feel like I learned the equivalent of four years worth of content. It’s probably more! But don’t take my word for it, check out just a few of the things I got from this program.
- Project management
- Adult learning theories
- Working with Subject Matter Experts
- Creating a Needs Analysis
- Designing learner personas
- Creating Storyboards
- Writing Scripts for video courses
Designing things like:
- Courses made using Powerpoint
- Facilitator guides
- Participant workbooks
Phew, that’s already a lot and it’s not even half of it. Here are a few more things I learned over the course of the 12 weeks!
- Video editing
- Course development using tools such as Articulate Storyline 360
We even went in-depth on the assessments, reviews, and data collection for areas that need to be redeveloped. Things like
- Course surveys
- ROI and KPI Data
Not sure what those acronyms mean? No worries, you’ll find out within the course if you choose to pursue it!
There was so much in this program that there were a few times I felt a bit overwhelmed by the task at hand. In those times, I really learned more about myself and what I am capable of. I was so surprised at the things I created and accomplished. I never even thought of designing some of the things that I did.
At one point, there was a situation where I was unable to use the program that was specified in the course. At that moment, I felt a bit discouraged but instantly shut that down and started looking for alternatives. With each option, I taught myself how to use them and became knowledgeable of as many of the functions as possible.
Just to name a few:
I found so many options, yet all of them had the same problem. My computer was not compatible. Finally, with Articulate Rise 360, which is a web-based authoring tool, I was able to finally complete my goal.
In this process, I went from learning one tool to learning several and in the end, I am well versed in several programs now. I experienced many random situations like this and had to find other ways of solving the problem. This allowed me to show myself as well as future employers that I am adaptable and efficient. I still managed to get everything completed on time!
Honestly, I am still in the process of figuring out what I want to do overall. I’m leaning more into having my own business and freelancing rather than being employed full-time. I like the freedom of choosing what I want to do and having fun with it!
I know I am not an expert in all areas yet, so I am continuing to level up my skills and let my creativity fly!
If you could go back and sign up again, would you and why?
Oh, super easy! HECK YES! I learned so much from this program and I am still learning from it. I have access to it forever and anytime I need to have a quick reference, it’s at my fingertips!
What was the #1 best thing you enjoyed/learned/got out of the program?
The best parts of this program were the tasks we needed to complete as well as the interactions with fellow accelerators! By the end of the program, I had an entire portfolio of everything I would need and more!
How are you planning to use what you learned in the program?
I am thinking about fully establishing my own business. Additionally, I’d love to facilitate trainings and even coach/mentor people who are going into this field!
Wrapping It Up
If you’d like to see some of the things I’ve created, check out my portfolio. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this journey to becoming an instructional designer and eLearning developer, but I enjoyed it so much and it’s only the beginning! The sky’s the limit in what I am capable of and I am excited to see what I become!