A Note From Shawntay – if you’ve been following my blog you already know I love connecting with people who are learning about instructional design.
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!
Learning About Instructional Design With Laurie
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and at the right time. I have been teaching for 18 years. Throughout that time, I’ve always taken courses to keep myself updated. These last two years have been like none other in education and especially hard for me. Technology has never been my friend but, we unwillingly and more abruptly became very well acquainted! This is how I furthered my interest in learning about instructional design.
My Accelerator Journey
In 2019, I decided I wanted to try to leave the classroom. So, I considered school leadership through mentoring, professional development training, instructional coaching, and curriculum development. But, apparently, just being a seasoned educator with a master’s in school administration and supervision isn’t enough to do this within my school district. So, I started taking different leadership courses, looking for leadership roles outside the school district, state, and nationwide, and then topped it all off by enrolling in the educational doctorate program at Capella University for Curriculum and Instruction. This is great, the more courses I am taking though, the more I want to be learning about instructional design specifically.
Fast forward to May 2021. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Technology is at the forefront of everything I am doing. I must teach in-person and online. While I am still going forward with my doctoral program, now I want to change it all up to instructional design. But I am too far along in my program to change, none of my credits would transfer and I would have to start over. I felt like I was going in the wrong direction spending a lot of money for a degree that wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be so, I met with my doctoral mentor for guidance. She recommended finding something that would give me the tools and the training to learn the various programs needed and start from there. She gave me this huge list of things to look for. That is when perfect timing came into play, by way of The Instructional Design Company’s Academy & ID Tech Accelerator Program.
It was perfect timing. I was looking through Facebook and up pops Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company.
She offered a free informational webinar containing all the components my mentor said to be looking for where I could be learning about instructional design. I attended, listened, and took notes. By the end, I knew this was what I was looking for. It checked off all the boxes I had for myself.
- Leave the classroom
- Learn about instructional design without spending a lot of extra money
- Learn more about using:
- Create a portfolio to store and showcase my work
- Change up my resume to apply for those jobs
- Search for those jobs and market myself
- Interview for specific jobs.
Yes, yes, yes. I was in!
My husband was next to me during this entire presentation because I wanted him to see what I was considering getting myself into. Usually, I have to convince him this is something I need or want to do, but he stopped what he was doing went downstairs, got his wallet, and said to me “this is what you have been looking for here,” as he handed me the credit card to get started in the 12-week Accelerator program with the Instructional Design Company.
- This is a 12-week Accelerated Program
- It gives a lot of information fast
- You must have the time to work and practice each part to get the most out of it
- The NICE thing is that you can go at your own pace
The group starts out together and forms accountability teams to help support and guide you through which is super helpful and makes you work to keep up. You also have lifetime access to the materials and content so if you can’t keep up or work at a slower pace that’s fine it’s your program, you get out of it what you put into it and everything is recorded.
You Don’t Need Any Prior Experience
Prior experience is helpful but not needed. Remember technology and I have not been good friends but an amicable working relationship. What that meant for me was that I would have to go slower to learn the material to use and work with it. At this point, I still am not done! I am still working on Adobe Premiere Pro. I watched the learning jams, kept up with weekly meetings, and watched replays when I could. Life happens too and that’s OK. Have you ever taken a course that’s time-restricted and if you don’t finish on time you lose the credit, fail, etc., and the money you spent was wasted? That’s not the case here! I love that, I have been learning about instructional design at my own pace.
Personal Support, Guidance, Coaching, and Mentoring
I love that Shawntay and her Instructional Design Company staff offer so much personal support, guidance, suggestions and will critique your work for each component to then add to your working portfolio. We work through several formats and platforms including access to the course, Facebook Groups and meetings, webinars, learning jams, and more. She provides examples, templates, coaching, and mentoring from so many outside sources within the instructional design world. The guidance for job hunting, resume writing, interviewing was priceless. This was everything I had been looking for and money well spent. I got what I was looking for out of this 12-week program.
Job Hunting Post-Accelerator Program
Since starting the program and making changes to my resume, my job search has opened up so many different avenues and opportunities. Instructional design is huge and there is so much more to it than just in education. Many businesses, companies, and corporations need people to design their training programs, train employees, create e-learning programs, etc., the job market is huge!
This course allowed me to change up my background experiences that many places are looking for and job search keywords that bring in multiple opportunities daily. You can do this as a freelance designer or work directly for a company. Some jobs require multiple years of experience, some none at all. It’s all in your job skills comfort level. I recommend reading through the job descriptions, if it sounds exciting apply! Update and change your resume to fit the positions you are applying for and always include a cover letter.
My Successes and What I’ve Learned
I applied for three instructional design internships and was accepted for all three which I had to decline. Yes, decline! I became a certified independent contracted presenter and trainer for the Center for Teacher Effectiveness. In that position, I train teachers in the Time to Teach Behavior Management Program. I’m also interviewing for a position with the South Eastern Regional Resource Center to train, provide professional development, and mentor teachers remotely in Southern Alaska, Juneau. Those opportunities wouldn’t have been possible before starting this program!
I am getting noticed more for my work, more leadership opportunities, and experiences I was looking for but not getting. The National Society for Leadership and Success where I facilitate Success Networking Teams, now I help train new facilitators. My Kappa Delta Pi Educational Honor Society asked me to consider leadership positions and help create professional development trainings for the group at Capella University.
I also have the skills to create e-learning opportunities for my students in multiple ways I couldn’t have done before. None of these opportunities would have been possible for me before working with The Instructional Design Company learning about instructional design.