Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Here Comes 2010 and There Goes 2009

Instead of writing a coherent end-of-year wrap up, I’m going to cram every meme in here and run through a gamut of topics from training to life to music to TV. I’ll go from light to heavy, so you can drop out before the going gets tough.

2009 Things That I’m Proud Of
  • I’m a proud mother of a beautiful baby boy.
  • I finally blogged!
  • I made it through several graduate classes – while pregnant and dead tired.
  • I was promoted to instructional designer.
  • I joined in the #lrnchat and LearnTrends fun.
  • I drove a car.
  • I joined a gym. (Only went three times, but no matter, it counts as something.
2009 Picks
  • The Deadweather
  • Method cleaning products, especially the cherry scented wood cleanser
  • Glee
  • The True Blood, Hung, Entourage line up on Sundays
  • Twitter
  • Lionheart washpod, large swaddling blankets from Target, Similac instant bottles, Aveeno lotion
  • Boswell Books, Freckle Face, Franklin Chocolate, Sparrow
  • South Shore Farmer’s Market
  • Café Central, Honeypie, Mai Thai
  • Sahara Café (now Yum Yum)
2009 Yucks
  • Chocolate coated bacon on a stick (whowouldathunkit)
  • Bulleted lists in Word
  • Yum Yum (formerly Sahara Café)
  • Service at Christie’s Pub & Grill (wouldn’t know how the food tastes)
  • Awful ending of Twilight series (not that the books were good, either)
  • iPhone/AT&T rates
  • The word “meme”
2010 Instructional Designer Goals

If I could forecast a path for myself – like the green line path from the Fidelity commercial* – where would my green path lead me? What distractions will try to lead me astray? How will I stay on the path?
As my first year as a full-fledged instructional designer (no matter that my title says “trainer” as it’s not likely I’ll find myself in front of a class of students) and instructional/multimedia developer, I want to give myself some mantras.

I, Jade Kazmierski, instructional designer extraordinaire, vow to:
  • Keep it simple. – Don’t train if it’s not needed. Don’t write a course if one is not needed. Don’t create a job aid if one is not needed. Go small.
  • Make results matter. Make people matter. – It’s not about content. It’s not about technology. It’s not about tools. It’s not about training. It’s about what works and the people involved. It’s about performance.
Also, to get the most from my year, I will do my best to balance the following:
  • Structure – I will organize the madness, plan my days, work diligently, set and achieve goals, and move forward.
  • Inspiration – I will seek out and permit randomness, chaos, craziness, and fun. I will meet new people, listen, learn, read, write, reflect, and enjoy.
Okay, so things got a bit lofty and heady there. I apologize. Sincerely. As for concreteness, here are some areas of focus for 2010:
  • Experimenting with instructional graphics
  • Dipping my toes in Adobe Flash & ActionScript
  • Graduating from my Master’s program (Boise State, MS Instructional & Performance Technology)
  • Designing after-the-fact and before-the-fact practice and follow ups for classes 
*Fun fact: The Fidelity green-line commercials were directed by James Mangold – also known for directing 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, and Girl Interrupted.

2010 Predictions for Learning

I’m pretty cloistered where I work, so much out there doesn’t apply to me. From that perspective, here’s my stab at next year’s big happenings.
  • Majority of inhouse training areas continue to be DIYers, with low budgets, and limited tools, cordoned off by IT.
  • Social remains a dirty word, a fad, and a relevant strategy.
Oops, none of those are actually predictions. Let me try again.
  • Learning theory triumphs and major-breakthroughs are had via evidence-based practices and workplace studies.
Oops, that’s just a wish. One more time.
  • Learning professionals unite socially and share what they know and like. Great times are had by all.
Oops, that’s what happened in 2009. Really, this time I’ll do it. It’s tough though since gaming, virtual, social, mobile, micro, distributed and open source are all past years’ predictions. What could possibly be new this year? Perhaps I’d better cheat and borrow from other industries and experts.
  • Augmented reality: While only the top echelon will attempt or have the means to experiment with this from a training perspective, ideas will begin to trickle out. While social media platforms finally become a viable option for many learning professionals, augmented reality tools will be the new envy.
  • Neuroimaging: While still considered bubblegum science, learning professionals will continue to eat up the new studies that have learning implications. However, like all good fads, there is real benefit in the science and a few tidbits will be gleaned that will help us improve our field of study.
Coined Phrases

I’m not sure what these mean, but I like how they sound and I’m tossing them out there in the hopes that I’ll actually coin my own big phrase for the year. Also, who knows – they could be actual predictions.
  • Learning locavores - Not sure what this really means, but it’s alliterate and it combines the big 2010 locavore movement that will replace the green hype. It will have something to do with location-based services and just-in-time learning.
  • Indexed moments – See twitter discussion. Experiences in virtual worlds indexed by search engines.
What I Learned in 2009 About Learning

Seeing as I’m currently a “learning” student and a “learning” professional, I better have learned something.
  • From classes/coursework
    • Instructional Design – Having informally studied ADDIE and been immersed in it at work, I thought this would be a no-brainer. Thankfully it wasn’t. I studied Merrill’s instructional model and his First Principles, which is a problem-based approach to training. Aside from the model, which really hones the training into need-to-have material and proficiency at doing, the focus was on alignment. All phases of the approach, all materials, all strategies had to be aligned. One step this or that way, and everything else had to be shifted.
    • Job Aids & Electronic Performance Support – So, I got a bit of a shock in this class. I thought it would be about creating job aids. Nope. My bad. It was really about EPSSs and “job performance aids” and how job aids are merely a small portion of that and only become meaningful when served up as part of a system, with a focus on performance. The job aid cannot simply be a bandaid to a system glitch. Or a checklist of steps. It must be a system complete with measurements It was a bizarre foray into EPSSs indeed with a very “nutty” professor. Some of the readings were so tough I had to read them 10 times and they still went over my head. Sometimes it’s nice to be so startled and out of it.
    • Instructional Strategies – Worked examples, case based learning, concept mapping, self-questioning, summarizing, advance organizers, adjunct questions, problem solving, feedback, reciprocal teaching, cognitive apprenticeships. Learning strategies abound. While they may seem intuitive, they go much deeper than being just a bag of tricks. First, it’s hard to apply a strategy that you don’t know exists. Second, like many learning myths, strategies are not always what they seem. Intuition can lead you astray. I was often surprised at what the studies revealed – what seems like it should work does not – or only with particular conditions.
  • On the job
    • Standards – Ugh. Having toiled in creating standards all year long, I can attest that they verge on being a bane and banal. But if more than one person is working on something, they sure do come in handy. My lesson is to start them early, rather than later. To document. To keep things simple. To work towards a common goal and from a shared perspective. Producing quality training materials should not be a every-man-for-himself event. While there needs to be room for creativity and innovation, standards focus on quality and time savings. Standards matter.
  • In life
    • Life does not come with an LMS – If O want to remember what I learned, I have to purposely reflect, organize, track, and evaluate my progress. While I learn a lot informally, I’m not sure how much is retained. I know informal learning is a hot topic and may be considered an elevated view of training, but when it comes down to it – what can I remember and what can I do proficiently? On my own, I tend to rake in a lot of bits, but usually not enough to be proficient. To reach that, I have to take a more formal approach as a self-directed, autonomous learner. I need a plan, I need accountability. But, like informal learning, I need the desire or the need.
  • As a student
    • Group projects – Are these made solely to torture students? Maybe. But I must acknowledge the fact that they definitely mirror life. Project management is the “other” side of work. The same concepts apply to school as they do on the job. While I sometimes feel that I have project management coming out of my ears, I have to admit that I could always use more.
    • Ambivalent assignments – While they pose a challenge, they also equal freedom. I struggled with an ill-defined project. I didn’t know where to start, what was expected, what was the point. And I never did find out. But at the end, I had completed a great concept project and actually enjoyed my work.


Cammy Bean said...

I like "learning locavores" a lot. In fact, I think I love it.

What were some key readings for instructional strategies? This is an area I need to focus on more and would love some pointers.

jadekaz said...

The main text for various strategies such as problem-based learning, recipricol teaching, etc was:

Mayer, R. E. (2002). The Promise of Educational Psychology Volume II: Teaching for Meaningful Learning.
Merrill/Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Then, for planning lessons based on content type such as facts, concepts, principles, procedures was:

Foshay, W. R., Silber, K. H., & Stelnicki, M. B. (2003). Writing Training Materials that Work. Jossey-
Bass/Pfieffer: San Francisco.