Instructional designers get neither the training nor the footage, yet the work we do is a close cousin to journalism. Perhaps it's time to take a page from their book and learn how to become a professional interviewer - even though you are already expected to be one. .
In January 2017, at the Training 2017 Conference & Expo in San Diego, I'll be speaking about using interview strategies culled from the world of journalism and nonfiction writing. But instead of using those techniques with political figures and criminals, we'll use them to get best practices out of Frank in accounting (who may or may not be a criminal).
My session is described below:
I try to develop scenario-based, character-driven courses whenever possible. Consequently, I spend a lot of time thinking about where the action will be set. In fact, I allocate a large part of my development time to what I call "building the set." It's the most difficult part for me because those early decisions influence the rest of the development process. In this post, I'll provide some insight into my process.
Setting is the place and time and in which the story takes place. I choose my setting intentionally because I know they influence how the learner will experience the course.
My settings fall into three categories:
I am often asked how to get started building your own consultancy. There are many articles online that claim to provide the ultimate top five steps to take. They are helpful, but not nearly as thorough as they should be. The scope of what should be considered is usually limited. Most of them focus only on the business aspects and do not cover the other challenges you'll face throughout your journey.
I created this list a few years ago for a conference. Although I am eight years into my consultancy career, many of these questions are still unanswered. It's a good list to review before you leap, but it's also worth revisiting after the jump, especially during those times when find yourself thinking, "Now, why did I do this again?"
I've divided the questions into three categories: business, work, and life.
I was in a Small Business Association eCommerce class. The instructor reminded me of my IT days when technical trainers wore pagers like sidearms and waxed poetic about heroic feats of rebooting. He, let’s call him Steve, was again telling us how lucky we were to be in his presence for only $30. His consulting fee is $100 an hour, after all. As the morning waned on, he grew disheartened by our blank stares and switched tactics, finally turning his attention to us. He had only engaged in some light crowd work earlier.
“So,” he said, rubbing his hands together, “Hadiya.” He confused my incredulous glare with engaged eye contact.
A “yes” slipped out, clinging to a breath I didn't know I was holding. I was impressed that he said my name correctly, something that happens with surprising regularity these days.
"You typically use your website to describe what you do right? But you can also use it to communicate what you don't do. For example, you're selling services, right?"
I nodded. He remembered that from our introductions from what now seems like three weeks ago. Perhaps Steve’s head is in the game.
"But," he said, "you aren't selling prostitution. You aren't selling heroin. You can use your site communicate that too."
Rules! Who needs 'em, amirite? Me. I do. I like rules. Life is difficult enough without some guidance about what to do and what not to do. There's a caveat, however.
I worked in the dorm snack shop during college. I knew that if I ensured all the money was facing the same direction in the drawer, it would be easier to count at the end of the night. I was diligent about arranging the money and won praise for my efforts (not much is expected of a freshman). Then, one night, we got slammed. I was ringing non-stop and just shoved money into the drawer as fast as I could. During a lull, my manager looked at my drawer and chastised me because the money wasn't in the same direction. Consequently, it never was again. My manager had a hissy fit every night, and I had to stay longer because I had to arrange all the money at once during closing. It was worth it. Non, je ne regrette rien!
See, I like rules and will gladly follow them until someone tells me I need to follow them. I guess I'm a (passive aggressive) rebel that way!
I'm not a cashier anymore. At least, I don't think so ("Okay. You ordered a large Blended Learning Smoothie with ILT, online modules, coaching and an engagement boost. Will that be all? We have some delicious blueberries."). But there are still rules that I don't break, only this time, I made them.
Here are my basic, bare minimum, Top 10 Rules for creating training materials.
Hadiya Nuriddin is the CEO of Focus Learning Solutions and the founder of Fresh Eye Reviews.
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