Update: Mentoring Assignment

I just met with my mentee, so while it’s fresh in my mind I want to reflect how things are going. I don’t want to keep saying ‘my mentee’ all the time, so hereafter I’ll refer to him as ‘J’. I know, it’s cryptic and probably ridiculous, but I don’t want to use names in case he wouldn’t want it posted online. Even a first name can seem intrusive sometimes.

Anyway, tonight we continued to paint the picture of what the world of instructional design looks like. One thing I keep noticing is that J already knows more about ID work than he probably thinks he does; he just needs some clarification and ’rounding out’ of information. He was telling me about going through a horrible online course (created in Captivate, which we’ve talked about a few times), and also attending a really good ILT course. The takeaway from these experiences was that he knows the difference between the two, and more importantly, he knows why one was relevant and fun to attend, and the other was tedious and even ludicrous.

We were laughing about how timely this was for him, to experience both sides of course design in the same week! I’m not suggesting he wouldn’t have known either course was good or bad before we started the mentoring process, but I do think that the ‘why’ part of the equation would have been murkier to him before. He easily recognized that information was not presented well, and importantly, that the assessment did not tie back to the course objectives and that parts of it were distracting, such as some bad clip art added to the course – ugh! It’s a pet peeve of mine, that nasty clip art stuff. J mentioned that a bad clip-art key kept floating across the screen. Apparently it was supposed to represent ‘key objectives’ or something, but all it succeeded in doing was distract him from the real content. This is a glaring error in course design. Artwork should enhance your content, not distract from it.

I want to speak, so I’m adding a microphone clip art image to this post! Ha ha ha…This was supposed to be a caption for the mic image, but it danced down to the middle of the page. Go figure

Contrasting this was the ILT course J attended, which was presented well, kept his interest and was relevant to what he was supposed to be learning that day. The examples and exercises were successful in demonstrating the principles behind the objectives.  The instructor had a well-made PPT (and we all know a bad PPT is an all-too-typical PPT!) and some useful video clips embedded into it too. I think he said he thanked the guy who taught it afterwards. That’s always a wonderful thing for the teachers (and IDs) to hear, that someone liked the course and found it helpful for them. So both of his experiences played so perfectly into our process. What a great introduction, to see firsthand how badly someone can mess up the point of the objectives.

Other things we touched on tonight: We mutually sanctioned the mentoring agreement, so that’s done. We talked a little more about the team involved in a typical project:

  • Project Manager
  • Instructional Designer(s), or IDs
  • Subject Matter Expert(s) , or SMEs
  • Quality Assurance person (but normally it should be the ID)
  • If a large project for online or blended content, eLearning Developers
  • The instructor / facilitator (if there is one)
  • Clients / customers, who could be additional SMEs
  • Pilot users, especially in an ILT course. They will test and let you know if you need to make any last-minute changes

I also found out J applied for the director position we discussed during the last call. This is a great step! He was able to get past any qualms he felt about applying for it, got tips from a friend who is a headhunter and applied. He agreed that the worst that would happen is that he wouldn’t get it. In that case, so what? It’s still a good experience. So I think it’s really cool that he went ahead and applied. It shows self-confidence on his part. Good trait for a director to have.  ;- ) I should tell him that.

Overall I think things are really coming together. I sent J a little Bloom’s Taxonomy chart, so that he could refer to it when he wants to remember writing objectives. It’s been great for me, and I really see how mentoring helps both parties. It’s helpful for me to illustrate some of these principles, and remind myself of why I love writing this stuff. It’s also great to help someone else at something I am confident I can help out in doing. Win-win! Oops, I just used a tired old corporate phase. Sorry.

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