Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I want to be an Instructional Designer

Cammy Bean posted a question in her post "When I grow up I want to be an Instructional Designer" that I thought was great and really hit home.  I am definitely one of those that accidentally became an Instructional Designer.  This was definitely not something I thought of or geared my career towards.  In all truth technology and I don't really get along on a regular basis - just ask my IT folks!

So how did this happen?  Part of it was being at the right place at the right time.  I was tasked with coming up with a solution to help reduce costs while still maintaining training opportunities.  I was a natural choice for leading this team due to my experience with distance learning in my own education.  The other part of my "success" in becoming an Instructional Designer is the fact that for some unknown reason I can figure out and use the appropriate technological solutions to make effective e-learning presentations (a phenomena I still don't understand).

Why do I keep doing this?  I like the creative side of being an Instructional Designer especially with e-Learning.  It is fun to figure out ways to present information in interesting and enaging formats so the learner not only learns but also can have some fun in the process. 

So what started as a chance assignment ended up as something I really enjoy doing and have become engaged in and truely enjoy. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Video use in eLearning

I've been seeing a lot of blog posts recently about using video in your projects. One I particularly liked was from Jennifer Wrigley entitled "Top ten tips for using video effectively in e-learning" she makes some excellent points. I've been using video in the e-learning presentations that I've created when it seems appropriate and that it would add value. Different ways that I've used it is to add some humor to a dry presentation or to give a real life example of what is being discussed in the e-learning presentation. For example showing a video of a terrible meeting during an "Effective Meetings" training. Sometimes showing is better than saying and can provide a great deal more impact for your learner.

I also think that as the designer you have to use good judgement in deciding whether to use video at all and also what video is appropriate to use. You also have to make the decision if you want to use pre-made video which has become readily available through YouTube, Hulu, etc. or if you want to create the video yourself. The eLearning Brothers discussed this issue recently in their article "Instructional Design for Videos" and again provided some great information for those thinking about using videos in their presentations.

When creating your e-Learning presentations you have many different options and resources available to you. As with anything too much of a good thing can be bad so you have to maintain that balance. That balance provides for better courses, it also allows you as the designer to have more credibility as you are being smart and strategic in your use of the various resources to create the greatest impact. If you just throw everything available into a course it becomes a jumbled mess. Through the strategic and at times frugal use of your resources, especially video, you can leave your learners looking forward to taking more courses you create because they know that they will be interesting and informative and not a waste of their time.