What is Instructional Design?

Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs.”

But not everyone understands this… or the rest of this description.

I am an Instructional Designer by trade, if you could call that a “trade”.  It is what I do for a day job. Every day…  monday to friday and sometimes after hours if it is crazy busy.  It’s a pretty creative job, but not one many people have heard of.  OR something that would be recommended to people out of uni!  And there are even wankier titles than mine which give even less information about what actually is involved. Haha

“What does an instructional technologist do…
– Evaluate new technologies to discover new and better ways to enhance instruction
– Assist faculty in discovering methods of improving their instruction with and without technology
– Conduct training sessions teaching faculty and staff how to use new technologies
– Conduct research studies evaluating the use of technologies and their impact on student learning outcomes
– Create training materials to accommodate the self-learners and provide resources for our “customers”
– Manage the implementation of new technologies on-campus for the use of instruction”. Source: http://instructtech.wordpress.com
So I thought I’d share, and explain what I do for a day job – AND – yes this is kind of a business idea reveal – What my business is going to be….

An instructional designer, is a designer of instructions.  In most cases learning material, weather it be a face to face class, workshop seminar or lecture, through to all manners of on-line learning.  Webinars, pod-cast style, interactive modules, and all the quizzing, reporting and assessing that goes with that.
The designer bit comes into play allot, because anyone can make a document and call it “Training” but it takes a bit of skill to look at it from a pedagogical through to a visual and graphical manner.  This means, designing learning has to take into account all the different learning styles, best practice and in an academic sense, the rules around how learning is to be presented.
Through to the graphic side of things.
This involves image editing, laying out a training manual similarly to how a magazine editor would be looking at a magazine layout.  Typography, animation, moving image or video content, and where necessary audio narration.
This is the creative side.  It requires me to use Photoshop, InDesign, and other animation and video editing tools.  I’m constantly looking and working with stock images that will best illustrate my point, or creating text and audio based animations that do that for me.  Here is an example I made for a Diploma unit, recently.
These are of course quite formal and corporate examples – some of other things I’ve done, are super colourful and exciting – and as with any job there’s always the good and the less exciting bits.

I started off designing work-books and training material over 10 years ago now – So it’s now really exciting to work in an industry that is super technology focused.  What is going to engage and excite people, how do people learn, how can we make learning fun, and efficiently convey a message that STICKS.    I get to code, or should I say add to my coding knowledge on the go when something doesn’t quite work as planned – play with web-design / wireframes, nerd out of typography, (my latest thing is Kinetic Typography!)  Check it out – it’s pretty cool!

Anyways – I think I want to share more of the creative stuff I make on a daily basis – I hope you enjoy!!!  Please comment if you have questions.. I’m super happy to share, and this post is really just written brain dump with not much planning…
I’m starting my own business and sharing the journey with you!

I’m starting my own business and sharing the journey with you!

I wrote this in the airport and I couldn’t think of a better title.  I’ve not wanted to start my own business all along.  All I really wanted to do was not work for someone else.  I really wanted to feel free, and probably work harder but enjoy what I was doing more.
I only had one or two goals I wanted to achieve by the time I was 30.  I did it. All I wanted to be is someone’s boss.  Not for the achievement of telling someone else what to do, but to science the fraud police in my head.  That somehow I was a valid and qualified person because I was entrusted with the responsibility of telling other people what to do.  It happened quite by accident.  There wasn’t a manager, the team was growing and I put my hand up, I volunteered to take on the responsibility.  I learned heaps and loved it. 

But I was still working for someone else.

In the back of my head I had this thought, “When I’ve had enough of working for the man I’ll become a contractor” I knew I had a skill set that people wanted, mostly in 3ish month contracts, more if you were really lucky or good, and rarely in a full time position.    Again the fraud police:  “You can’t start working for yourself until you’re good enough, you haven’t got quite enough skills yet to be able to do that on your own, and be a marketable product ”Which I know is ridiculous; I would have ended up doing projects that were at my skill level not above.  That’s all; maybe they might have payed more as a contractor.  Self-doubt has a really, really loud voice.
I watched my friend back in NZ taking risks, going out on a limb and starting their own projects.  I looked at my lifestyle and got selfish.  I wanted the freedom to do my own projects, work and business and be passionate about my hard work.  But I liked café breakfasts, living inner city and travel too much.  I wasn’t ready. More than I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t found an idea that I completely and blindly believed in.  I wasn’t ready to back myself, works upper hard and tell the inner voice of self-doubt to “Shut the hell up!!”  My desire to change hadn’t hit the pain threshold that breed’s action.
Contracting felt like a half assed attempt at working for myself.  Yea I might have a home office or choose my hours but I would still be doing work for someone else.  And generally always for larger companies, that felt impersonal.
FINALLY I have a business idea I believe in.  My hatred of self centred projects – (which stems from a deep seated feeling that I don’t deserve the good things I have in life – I’m sure I need to unpack this at therapy soon) meant if I was going to be able to be passionate about something it had to help someone else, or lots of someones, not just me.   A community, I wanted to build a community, a THING that helped people!
My poor girlfriend, on our second date I grilled her about values and beliefs.  What was important to her, what did she live by.  She asked me the same question back, and got a full run down of all the things I stood for.  I was determined she would have an inkling of what she was in for if she was going to date me.   If she didn’t like it hopefully my, smack in the face method of opening up to her who I was, was a defence mechanism. I didn’t want to be hurt, I didn’t want to feel like a failure, so if I was completely open and blunt then it was up to her.  If she didn’t like me it was not my loss.  I was not prepared to change what was so super important to me, which I’d fought to build for anyone any more.   I’ve since learned that “that” is not vulnerability.  It’s definitely one way to go about it, but more on vulnerability another time.
However I think I’ve learned more and changed more in the last year that I ever thought I would.  And I LOVE the “me” I’ve become. I’ve learned the hard way that while I still have to work for someone else, I know where my line is.  No longer am I prepared to commit such a huge emotional energy to a project that isn’t mine.   I learned after seeing 60 odd people all made redundant in a mass lot, that I pick up on the general energy of a group.  A job never belongs to you, so if the job goes away it is only one door closing and another door opening.   
What are you prepared to do, or how involved are you prepared to be – for the money they’re paying you?
It’s a means to an end, to help me get my business off the ground!

Going into business!

I’ve always had a dream.  A dream of not working for the man.  Funny – Burning Man, growing up reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and “Who moved my cheese”..  What would you expect from this colourful adventure seeking part time hippie!?  Yes. SELF employed.
Back in New Zealand I was (kind sometimes still am) part of an amazing blogging community.  These amazing people blogged their hearts out – www.danijustis.com www.aych.com being two of my favourites.  I kinda did however I was, I’m an ashamedly admitting it – in it for the fun, parties and perks.  One of THOSE bloggers.   I had a full time job and flexible hours when I needed them to run off for a week to Fashion week or other events.  GLAMOUROUS.
Well you’d think so, mainly it’s a huge amount of planning, writing about things you do, and can feel SUPER narcissistic if you really aren’t clear about what or why you’re doing it.  It wasn’t a business for me, so I often felt bad.  Or felt super cheeky when I got stuff I felt like I hadn’t earned.

I work in Education.  Education is such a broad industry let me explain.  There are Uni’s and schools.  There is corporate education – this is where I work.  I’ve been doing internal training, Leadership development, sales coaching and a myriad of other things that relate to corporate skill sets and training.  This is cool, rewarding and interesting, but HOW was I going to go into business.  Blogging and doing this kind of education just didn’t connect without me becoming a contractor and just charging higher rates to still do other people’s work!  UGH  Oh well.  I knew it would come sometime, in the interim I’ve been committed to learning as much as I could so I knew I’d be able to promote myself – What ever I knew I’d end up doing.  Preparation much!?  Funny.

THIS WEEKEND – I was at a Tarot workshop and it was the best!  I’ll have more to say about that soon, I just haven’t gotten my ass around to writing all about it yet.  This new blogging energy has only just kicked in.
Any ways, to the point..  This weekend it finally hit me!  I knew what I wanted to do.  More than that I KNEW I would have all the skills I needed to actually make it happen!  I was driving back in my little Turtle 2.0 car from Daylesford and my mind was literally going on HYPER drive.  I love it when this happens.  So full of ideas that I want to ring everyone and talk at 130048589303 miles per hour.  I’m super excited and have been trying to connect with all the people I know who are also in their own businesses because what better than NOT doing everything alone.  Support, questions, etc, I know I’m going to have them.  Bring it on.