Intrigued by how to effectively train the trainer keeps me motivated to actively explore the world of learning and all the possibilities it has to offer. My title is instructional designer, my love is learning, and the two are a dance that work together to make learning better.
I started down the road to becoming an instructional designer long before I knew what an instructional designer was. When I worked in publishing I would look at the content and try to find ways to make it easier to understand. Even a book is easier to read if the font and the line length is easy to read, if the line breaks make sense, if the pages present the information in a digestible manner.
Tired of the long hours publishing often produced, I explored closely related fields and discovered instructional technology. In 2011 I began my master’s in Instructional Technology at Kent State University, finishing the degree 13 months later. Creating learning objects were interesting, easy for me, and fun. After I took the first course in instructional design, however, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be an instructional designer, not a technologist. Although technology and design go hand in hand, for the design to work, the technology must compliment the instruction. And this is what I strive to do.
My first position as an instructional designer was at Cuyahoga Community College, or Tri-C. At the time,Tri-C was at the beginning stages of having an instructional designer. Beyond the e-learning team not many people knew what to do with an instructional designer. However, that wasn’t true for everyone. I worked with a professor who taught veterinary pharmacology medicine. Students struggled in this class and he wanted to make it better. He was a great developer who yearned to have his students succeed. So together we completely overhauled his course. And better they did; the average grade was a letter grade beyond the previous average.
I became an instructional designer at Kent State University in 2014. I was part of a group of instructional designers who were hired to consult with faculty for entire programs that were moving online. At first I worked with faculty who never taught online, and who were often resistant. But together we worked through the process. I’ll never forget a gentleman who told me it wasn’t possible to teach well online to only come to me later and tell me he felt jilted because he was teamed with another designer.
On my own I took a MOOC on Learning How to Learn so when the Art and Sciences department decided to create some modules on learning, I was chosen to work with the faculty expert, Dr. John Dunlosky. And from there, I started working with other departments who wanted to develop online content. I’ve done several orientations for groups such as College Credit Plus, Transfer Student Orientation, First Year Experience, Academic Diversity, Academic Probation, Digital Science Advising, etc.
Right now, in addition to my regular work I’m working on my Ed.S (educational specialist) in Higher Education. I have two classes to go. My goal is simple, to expand my learning and to help as many students as I can.