Do you have a plan for how you’ll be closing out 2020 as an Instructional Designer? I know we’re all in a hurry to ring in 2021, but first, you must check out these tips for reflecting on your year in instructional design.


6 Tips for Reflecting on your Year in Instructional Design


Check out these six easy steps you can take to close out this crazy year productively and reflectively and start 2021 like a boss!


Tip #1: Celebrate Your Successes


closing out 2019 as an instructional designer


Finally! This year may have felt like a decade, but you’ve made it through, hitting milestones and knocking out goals despite the obstacles. 


When reflecting on your year in instructional design, we’ve got to start with the successes this time around. You faced more challenges than ever this year. Now, it’s time to celebrate! 


Celebrate meeting your goals and progress towards your BHAGs (more on those here) but don’t forget about your other achievements.


Did you have a project that you were stuck on and seemed impossible to get through? Or a client that you finally signed after what seemed like a never-ending courtship? Think about the times during the year where you struggled but worked tirelessly to push through, and now here you are!


What are your small wins? Did you put together a make-shift workspace at the last minute so you could Zoom with a client while your kids were remote-learning a room away? Did you pull off a project or land a new job despite this new remote environment? Let’s take all the wins we can this year!


Commemorate your year’s successes in some way, even if it’s just by having a relaxing, work-free evening to yourself. Next year, when you’re up to your neck in work or up against a deadline, remember this feeling and keep pushing onwards!



Tip #2: Refresh Your Practices


closing out 2019 as an instructional designer


You can’t start fresh in 2021 without first reflecting on your year in instructional design. Now’s the best time to evaluate your business processes and clean house.


Now, we all know 2020 turned into a hot mess! But let’s put that aside for now and focus on the systems you put in place to make it all work. Whether you had to navigate working remotely (or managing a remote team). Maybe you had to dive into using some new tools or new ways of running meetings.


Did your processes for conducting your analysis, working with SMEs, or seeking new clients change in this remote environment? What worked and what didn’t?


What needs to be revamped or refreshed? Are there places in your design process where you keep stalling? Identify any problems and implement the solutions in January so you can power through your process without any obstacles. 


Now is also a great time to look at the tools you’re using to manage your time, organize your work, and create great training content. What do you love and want to keep using for another year? Which one can you streamline so you don’t feel like you have to toggle between apps to keep track of your work? Can you cancel a subscription to save some money?


Tip #3: Review Your Development Plan


closing out 2019 as an instructional designer


The most effective instructional designers and learning experience designers stay on the cutting edge by constantly learning. Be in the know about things like “What’s trending in learning design right now? What’s happening with AI and AR? What are the newest authoring tools or features? How are the learners in your organization consuming education? What’s a learning ecosystem?”


As a designer and builder of learning experiences, it’s important that you are constantly growing along with the changes that are taking place in your field. Reflecting on your year in instructional design includes reflecting on how you developed professionally. How did you keep up to date on best practices, new trends, and emerging research?


Need some ideas to help you brainstorm? Ask yourself if you did any of the following things in 2020:

  • Read a great book on leadership or business practices

  • Followed IDs who inspire you or joined instructional design groups on social media

  • Attended a virtual conference like ATD or DevLearn

  • Watched a webinar that strengthened your skills in a certain area

  • Worked with a mentor or coach who helped you to grow in some way

  • Watched a YouTube video to finally learn how to use a feature in Photoshop or Articulate that’s always stumped you


These are all activities that you can count as professional development. If your list is shorter than you’d like, keep this in mind when you set your goals for 2021!


Tip #4: Manage Your Quarterly Rocks


closing out 2019 as an instructional designer


Your short-term goals (or Quarterly Rocks) help you gain momentum towards your annual goals and your big, long-term goals.  At the end of this month, you should evaluate your Q4 goals and whether or not you achieved them in addition to your annual goals.


Ask yourself: “How did I do?” If you met or exceeded your goals: congratulations! You put in the work and it paid off, you deserve to celebrate! But before you bust out the champagne or sparkling cider, take a minute to review the factors that contributed to your success.


Maybe you worked with an amazing team or developed a first-class system for managing your projects. Take note of whomever or whatever helped you get here so you can use the same or similar strategies to achieve future goals.


If you fell short of your goal, don’t be too hard on yourself, it happens. Just make it a learning experience by identifying the reasons for not fulfilling your goals. Maybe you set your sights too high with an unrealistic goal or maybe you found an area where you could strengthen your skills so you can crush those goals in the next quarter.


If you haven’t been reflecting on your goal progress quarterly, Q1 of 2021 is a great time to start. Use some of the helpful tools I shared to get started. I would also recommend checking out the 12 Week Year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. And, if you feel like the book isn’t enough, they even have a Field Guide to walk you through the 12-week planning process.

Tip #5: Check-in On Your BHAGs


closing out 2019 as an instructional designer


Every new year, I encourage you to set BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals) based on an idea from Jim Collin’s book, Built to Last.


Now that we’ve made it to the end of another year, it’s time to check up on those BHAGs! These are serious, long-term goals don’t expect to have achieved them in just one year, that would be crazy. Especially in a year like this one.


Instead, track your progress towards that goal. If you’re a planner like me, you probably made yourself a list of smaller, actionable steps for each quarter designed to help bring you closer to your BHAG. Now, that you are about to wrap up Q4 and the year, you get to look back at that list one more time this year and make some more satisfying checkmarks.


Or, maybe you didn’t have any concrete plans, just a big dream (and that’s okay). Think back over the last 12 months and write down everything you did (no matter how small) to bring your big hairy audacious goal closer to realization.


2021 is right around the corner and it’s got to be better than 2020! Before too long I’ll be checking back in to help you plan your next year. That will include working on your BHAGs, so stay tuned!


Tip #6: Plan for 2021


6 Tips for Reflecting on Your Year in Instructional Design - 2021


Reflecting on your year in instructional design is one thing, using that reflection to improve is another! Did you think I was going to let you go without talking plans? The key to closing out 2020 and setting yourself up for success in 2021 is having a fool-proof plan.


We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of goal-setting in the new year, so keep that in the back of your mind for now. All those successes and setbacks you reflected on earlier? Keep that list handy because those are ideas that you can use to better yourself and your business in 2021!





The Testimonials are In:


Shola Richards

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.

Shola Richards


Graphic Designer

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.

Gayle Bower


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.

Laurie Henderson


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!

Wendy McMillian


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!

Gabby Grimaldo


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!

Shanna Howe


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).

Aviva Berkowitz


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.

Darlene Dalgleish


Instructional Designer

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!

Shawnice Edge


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!

Brian Hightower


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!

Sarah Smith


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.

Lee R


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!

Sheryl Rhoades
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.

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.

Amanda Buckley
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.

Susan Gatti
President, IMMIXID


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.”

Rick Miller
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach


eLearning Development

“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.”

Ashley Christian
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.”

Jonathan Burt
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!”

Mellora Moore
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.

Patrick Hodges
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!

Mike Stubblefield
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics


“Spot on”

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.

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!


Katie Carter
Training Specialist, LegalShield

© 2023 iRIDD LLC. All rights reserved. iRIDD, ShawntayMichelle, Trainology and associated logos are exclusive property of iRIDD LLC.  |  Legal Notices