Beginning the journey

I am a clinical laboratory scientist by training and an accidental educator.  I never pictured myself teaching anyone or anything, yet when opportunity knocked, I opened the door and found that I liked what was inside.  Now I am trying to learn more about learning.  I’ve always jokingly said that I needed to be taught how to learn as my study habits have always been less than ideal.  I want to learn about how we learn so that I can become a better learner and in turn a better teacher too!

As I started to build an e-learning website several months ago, I discovered that my e-learning skills were woefully inadequate.  I decided to find out how I could boost my knowledge so that I could save my students from burnout from the dreaded, boring Powerpoint©.  Enter, instructional design.  As I read more about the field, I was intrigued and thought that it was definitely something that I could use to make my skills more relevant.

I have found these three sites / blogs useful in my Instructional Design journey thus far:

1.       www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/ The Rapid e-learning blog authored by Tom Kuhlman has been very useful to me as I have attempted to teach myself the ins and outs of the Articulate© suite of products.  In his blog, the author covers e-learning issues and provides useful tips from creating templates, building graphics, course design, to tips to preventing creation of yet another boring Powerpoint© presentation.  As you scroll through the comments on the site, you see users from beginners like me to advanved, commenting on how useful the author’s tips and shortcuts are to their creation of e-learning material.

2.       http://www.instructionaldesign.org/  This site describes many issues related to instructional design including descriptions and application of numerous theories of learning.  It also has a list of recommended books related to Instructional design.  This site also provides a link to instructional design conferences and jobs.  Additionally, the site describes the pros and cons of storyboarding.  This I found particularly useful as I have been trying to figure out where I can incorporate this tool in projects that I create.  Finally, another useful tool on the site is a table that describes various methods (including pros and cons of each) that are available to test the functionality of the material created.

3.       http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/10-qualities-of-the-ideal-instructional-designer/  This site authored by Connie Malamed was helpful to me as I made my decision to pursue instructional design.  It describes ten qualities that make a good instructional designer.  The site also boasts a free ecourse that describes what instructional designers do, and e-learning samples that I have used as examples in courses I have built.  This site also has several useful podcasts for those days when you simply cannot read anymore and just would rather listen to someone else’s voice.

I look forward to this odyssey and invite you to follow me as navigate my way to instructional design excellence.

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