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When I Grow Up, I Want to … Wait! I Never Want to Grow Up!

Guest blog from Dawn Mahoney

564436_10201562646080911_1096309740_nRecently, a friend asked me to share what I’d do for work and for fun, if I had all of the money I needed. Seriously? THIS is gonna be fun!

I had zero hesitation on several things that would appear on a bucket list, should I be crafting one. (I’m not) My response:

Get to Italy and go to as many wine and cheese festivals as quickly as I could. And keep going back. Then do the same in California. Oh, and I have an interest in visiting Portugal and the Malbec region of South America, too. Why not?

Next, I’d attend as many live music festivals and concerts that I can—everything from Newport Jazz to Coachella and everything in between. I’d find a way to see BB King and Buddy Guy perform live while that is still possible. I’d travel to wherever and whenever possible. No rules! If it intrigues me, I’d do it.

Now, for the work portion of the ask. Hmmm… w.o.r.k. is a 4-letter word, right? What if I was to turn that inside out and upside down and view that metaphor as is a good thing? What if you did, too?

Again, no hesitation. I would do something in the learning and development field. But, I would have a role where I’d feel as though I truly have that coveted—and much sought after—seat at the proverbial table. No problem. I’d trust that I should be there. I would have the cache and reputation that everything I spoke would be considered a truth and the others seated there with me would believe I am credible, all that I bring to them has the best interest of the learners, the best intentions for the best outcomes front and center.

I don’t know what title that would be. Who cares? The point is having a two-way dialog about what matters to the people and to the business.

Why do too many of us in this field who are to be devoted to doing whatever it takes and with the best possible outcomes, feel stuck? Really—why? What can we do? What should we do, right now, to begin building stronger connections to the outcomes and providing solutions that bring them about? Do a gut check. Do it today. Consider, what might be missing? And choose to look at it from the viewpoint, what can I do and how can I serve?

 

Dawn Mahoney, CPLP is a dedicated professional who is passionate about all things learners and learning. She believes that providing learning solutions and content in ways that honors a diversity of thinking styles and preferred ways of learning, makes for livelier, more engaging, and better retained learning.

How to find Dawn Mahoney:

Twitter: @dawnjmahoney

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/dawnjmahoney/

Blog/Website: www.dawnjmahoney.com

5 Steps Toward Owning Your Career Happiness (Don’t Wait for Your Employer to Provide It)

What? Denver is listed as the worst places to work?

Denver I came across an article recently, “The 10 Best and Worst Cities for Workers,” and I am giddy thinking to myself how well my hometown, Denver, will fare until I click the link and discover….WHAT?…Denver is on the WORST list.

It can’t be true. I love my job. I think others in my circle love their jobs here in Denver. What is going on here? Well, not to worry, I had two hours sitting my daughter’s gymnastics private lesson to ponder it and I think I may have some idea how we might move from this list to the best list.

In the article, published by Business News Daily, “Factors that ranked high across all of the happiest cities were the opportunities for growth and the relationship employees had with their co-workers. In contrast, CareerBliss found that the rewards employees’ received and the support they got were lowest in cities that were the unhappiest. In addition, a common factor that affected unhappy cities was a lower ranking in overall work environment.”

So, let’s dive in and fix it; remove ourselves from the worst list. I believe any city/person has the ability to own their career happiness by remembering the following Steps/Tips.

It first begins with some individual accountability. I believe we have to move out of the blame game. IT ALL STARTS WITH YOU!!

Number 1: ARE YOU HAPPY AT WORK?

And if you aren’t, what are YOU going to do about it?

Take out a sheet of paper and when you see a question with the question mark icon, write down your own reflection.

Step 1

Reflect on your own career. What is holding you back from getting things done at work? What makes work difficult? What habit have you developed over the years that inhibits your effectiveness? We would call this a career-limiting behavior. Accept responsibility for your career-limiting behavior. Identify this behavior and determine what you want it to look like in the future.

  • What is one habit you know you have that might limit your potential at work? 

“A recent study by VitalSmarts, shows 97% of employees have at least one career-limiting habit— an ingrained behavior that keeps them from achieving their potential for work.”

This survey found the most common career-limiting habits are:

  1. Unreliability
  2. “It’s not my job” attitude
  3. Procrastination
  4. Resistance to change
  5. Negativity and cynicism

We tend to beat ourselves up about our career-limiting habit or try to point fingers in the direction of others. Instead, try this:

Take some time to reflect on yours and take some simple steps to eliminate it.

Step 2

“New habits almost always require new skills,” (Training, January/February, 2014).

  • What skills do you need to improve or eliminate this behavior?  How can you get these skills?

Go and find a coach, a mentor, an online resource, and/or a training class to gain these skills.

Step 3

“Others don’t simply encourage bad habits— they enable them as well,” (Training, January/February, 2014). Surround yourself with others who have this skill. Be honest with them and ask them to help hold you accountable. When they see you letting that old habit creep in, ask them to call you on it.

  • Who does this skill well? Who can I ask to hold me accountable?

Step 4

“We respond far more to immediate incentives than long term ones—a proclivity known as time sensitive demand,” (Training, January/February, 2014). Evaluate the cost of the short term to fix this behavior. For example, consider the cost to take a class that helps you look at your behaviors and interactions with others, such as Introduction to Social Styles, or Situational Self Leadership, but evaluate the cost savings in the long term, when you have eliminated the habit and begin to interact with others more efficiently.

Create short term achievable goals and tie them to modest rewards for yourself.

  • What is your goal? What can you commit to THIS MONTH?
  • What will you do to reward yourself when you achieve it?

Step 5

Is your environment contributing to your enabling behavior? Are the tools you use, the way in which you work, the location in which you work, or systems you use enabling you to have this behavior? For example, does email make it easier for you to display this behavior?

  • What tools, work environment or location, or systems might be enabling your behavior? 

For me, we can blame our managers, we can blame the organization, we can blame the world around us, but that is victim thinking. I challenge you to take control of your career and create the environment you want. This is the grass-roots movement that will change organizations.

What will you do in 2014 to change a career-limiting habit to a strength that propels you as a person and an employee?

Guest Writer: Dani Watkins at Zenith Performance Solutions

Getting the Best from #DevLearn

by Nic Laycock

Nic PhotoIt’s just over a week now to DevLearn and I’m getting ready to pack my case, take the 3 hour train journey to London and then a 10 hour flight.  Not the easiest of trips and for someone in his middle 60’s.  You might say, “Why do it?”

The answer is very simple – because DevLearn is one of the best conferences I know for researching, networking and putting together stunning new insight in my work and passion – technology enabled learning.

Bianca Woods has written a fantastic piece on finding one’s way around and surviving at DevLearn – great piece, Bianca!

So you have your survival kit, you are full of snacks and energy, Twitter is buzzing – what else does it take to get the best from this awesome gathering?

I go to a lot of conferences because I need for my clients to find out where technology enabled learning is going, who are the movers and shakers, where are the techniques, tools and examples that show the way forward.  I also need to understand the context in which we are all working.  So I attend a conference with some very different outcomes in mind and it is difficult to achieve them all.

Maybe my way of dealing with the opportunities and enticements of the conference can help someone else…..

  • Decide what you want to get out of it – without that, DevLearn will be a hectic, adrenalin rush that passes you by the next week when you come to reflect and report back.
  • I will be looking for the overall insight the keynotes will be providing – what is the over-riding message and what does each of them contribute to it? They will each be inspiring, together they can be mind-changing.
  • I will also be looking for the major trends in our field.  Keynotes of the past and all the reading about models, statistics and so on come to life when I can actually listen to, network with and debate with the people who are leading those trends.  So I make as much use as I can of the networking opportunities – the formal ones such as the early morning Buzz sessions, the Expo, the Stages etc, but also making sure that I talk to everyone I sit, stand, and walk next to during the conference.
  • There are specifics I need for my clients this time so I have planned carefully the sessions I will be going to – without a plan I know I will waste time, probably miss the sessions I really need to get to and instead get sucked into going just to places where I know the people or where my friends go. While DevLearn is a great place to relax and have fun while I learn, I have to remember that it has to yield value.
  • I am naturally quite a shy person – and also a Brit! – so being proactive and making deliberate contact with thought leaders is not the easiest for me – but I have to make myself do it.  A pile of business cards, a clear question or request from me and maybe something I can offer the person in return works wonders.
  • Then there is the Expo – and all those people trying to sell me something. Intimidating.  So, how to cope…. First I do my homework with the Expo prospectus before I ever go in there.  Which vendors look likely to have something that interests me.  First spin around, walk slowly past the potential booths, don’t engage but then go, sit and have a think – what really interested me (and did anything else catch my eye?)? Now I am ready for action – back inside, approach the booths that look interesting and try to get straight past the general waffle – tell them what I am looking for, check whether they have it – and then don’t be frightened to back off and move on if it is not there.
  • Be generous – whenever I am talking to someone I am listening for their need.  Is there anything I know, anyone I can get them to network with, any resource I can point them to, any experience I have, any ideas that come to mind, that I can offer?  In doing that it is amazing how paying attention to other peoples’ needs so often results in them giving me something back.  I always come away from conferences with heaps of ideas, contacts….. and above all, new friends.
  • Don’t be frightened to miss a session just to have a quiet reflection over a coffee or to sit and relax in a conversation with someone interesting.  It is so easy to overload by getting onto the session treadmill.
  • Use all the channels – the presentations, networking sessions, one-on-one chats, and above all the back-channel and the fabulous DevLearn mobile app to meet people, gain information, test ideas.

I’m looking forward to meeting you – if you recognise me, please say “Hi” and tell me what you are up to.  My agenda this time will have a specific focus around high end simulations and games, together with gaining further insight into the human dynamics of online communities.

Above all – have fun! We learn best that way!!

Everything You Need to Get Ready for #DevLearn 2013 in Las Vegas

by Bianca Woods

1_Las_vegas_strip

It’s getting close to Halloween, so you know what that means: it’s time for DevLearn! This conference, held by The eLearning Guild in Las Vegas, is one of the best events for finding out what is (and will be) happening in learning technology. Whether this is your first time going to the conference or you’re a veteran attendee, there’s always something new to learn about the ever growing DevLearn conference or Vegas itself. Here are a few tips to get you started.

DevLearnApp1Before the conference

Download the app

If you do one thing before the conference, do this. You may be used to events where the “app” is essentially a PDF of the conference catalog. This is not that kind of app. The eLearning Guild has consistently put out well thought out apps for their recent conferences with features that actually take advantage of the fact that you have a smart phone/tablet.

Last year the app had components such as a full conference schedule, maps, attendee information, exhibitor and speaker lists, in-app messaging and social media, a photo feed, and even a conference game. Personally, I loved the My Agenda feature best: a version of the agenda that only included the sessions I told the app I was planning to attend. This was much better than trying to sift through the full conference catalogue before each session to figure out where I was supposed to go.

DevLearnApp2This year’s app looks equally useful (plus, it now allows you to rate sessions directly in the app), so download it now, play with it to get used to it, and then use it to begin organizing your trip.

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/devlearn-2013/id714207942?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.doubledutch.devlearn&hl=en

Get on Twitter

followme

Be sure to follow:
#DevLearn / @DevLearn
@eGeeking
@LisaAGoldstein

Are you on Twitter yet? If you aren’t, then this is the conference that will convince you that you should be. The sheer volume of valuable conversations, sharing, and reflections that go on through Twitter during DevLearn is epic (more on that later). This is something you don’t want to miss out on, so get set up with Twitter, start following the official @DevLearn account, and get your feet wet before the conference.

Already on Twitter? If most of your followers are friends and family rather than L&D professionals, this might be the time to consider setting up a second, professional Twitter account. That way you aren’t annoying your friends with your constant tweeting about DevLearn (or your new DevLearn connections with Instagram photos of your brunch).

Networking

Speaking of social media and connecting with others – some of the best networking happens when you make plans in advance with other attendees.  Be sure to find out who from your network is attending and at least make tentative plans to run into each other during specific times and places.

Your Trip to Vegas

Vegas AirportCheap airport shuttle

On a map the Las Vegas airport looks mere moments away from the Strip. In reality it actually is… but thanks to traffic it can still often cost you $25-$40 for a simple cab ride to your hotel. If you want to save some cash and you have a bit of extra time, consider taking one of the airport shuttles instead. At about $7 each way ($13 round trip), it’s a decent amount of savings.

The shuttles are located just outside of the baggage claim and the process for getting a ticket is a bit convoluted. First, look around the inside of the terminal near the exit for the different shuttle service kiosks (there are also a few kiosks just outside the terminal doors as well). Annoyingly enough, they’re spread out and in some cases sort of hidden. Select your shuttle service, pay, collect your receipt, and then head out outside to locate your pickup station (yes, each shuttle company has a different one). Tell the driver which hotel you’re going to and then settle in on the shuttle. The actual time it takes to get to your hotel will vary based on how many (and which) hotels the other passengers are going to, but it’s usually not too long a trip all things considered.Jean Philippe Patisserie

Note: if you’re going to take the shuttle back to the airport, be sure to ask your shuttle service about the process for booking your return trip.

Quick snacks at the Aria

If you want a quick bite and you’re staying at the Aria, you’re in luck. Right by the elevators to your room is the Jean Philippe Patisserie (http://www.yelp.ca/biz/jean-philippe-patisserie-las-vegas-7). It’s both full of absurdly good food (that’s not terrifyingly expensive) and has the kind of hours that anyone visiting Vegas will be thankful for: 6am-Midnight. As you might have guessed, the dessert selection is excellent. That said, it also has a decent array of sandwiches, salads, and crepes as well. The chocolate brioche is a personal favorite.

Cheap show tickets

One of the main draws of Vegas is the shows, which are spectacular but admittedly pricey. If you’re open to a bit of chance, be sure to take advantage of Tix4Tonight kiosks (http://www.tix4tonight.com). This company offers substantially discounted day-of tickets to many of the shows in town and there are three locations within a 10 minute walk from the Aria. Not every show is offered every day, but the selection is always decent.

The Aria in City Center

The Aria in City Center

Note: In addition to cheap tickets, these locations also offer restaurant discounts (generally around 25-50% off your entrée). If you’re trying to decide what to have for dinner, a visit to Tix4Tonight might be worth a trip.

Vegas is terrible for walking anywhere quickly

Google Maps would have you believe that The Strip is an easy walk. This is because Google Maps doesn’t seem to be aware of the fact that the sidewalks in Vegas are a maze. Seriously: there isn’t a direct route anywhere. Walking up and down the strip involves navigating sidewalks that loop convolutedly around casinos and merely crossing the street often requires that you use a series of stairs and bridges. If you plan to walk anywhere and don’t want to be late, a good rule of thumb is to take the walking time Google Maps gives you and double it.

At the Conference

Docents

Going to a new conference can be overwhelming and even intimidating. Actually, let’s be honest, it can still feel that way even if you’ve been to that conference many times before. One way to alleviate that stress is to leave your conference schedule planning in the hands of a seasoned expert by signing up for DevLearn’s docent program.

This program is designed as a series of guided activities led by knowledgeable Guild members. Activities include a group tour of the expo, themed Morning Buzz sessions, hosted lunch tables, pre-selected concurrent sessions, and opportunities to debrief as a group.General Session

An added bonus is that you can participate as much or as little in the docent program as you wish. Drop in for just the morning discussions or go to every single docent-led event: it’s up to you.

Backchannel

Remember how I told you Twitter was going to be important? This is why. A conference backchannel is essentially a real-time collection of all the social media comments and conversations about the event. The backchannel often includes summaries of conference speeches, attendee conversations and reactions, links, and even photos and video, all of which makes it a wealth of information. It’s also a fantastic way to meet new people.

So how do you tap in to the backchannel at DevLearn? Your best bet is to sign in to Twitter and do a search for the official conference hashtag: #DevLearn. To contribute to the backchannel, people simply add that bit of text somewhere in each tweet. Do a search in Twitter for the hashtag and you can see what people have been saying and sharing about the conference. Want to add to the backchannel yourself? Just remember to always include the text #DevLearn in every tweet you want to share.

Expo

Note: Can’t attend the conference in person? You can still enjoy the conference from afar via the backchannel.

Keep fed and watered

In the midst of all this excitement it’s very easy to forget your basic needs. Of course, do that during a conference and you’ll eventually be hit with a massive wave of exhaustion right in the middle of the event. Take care of yourself and remember to stop by the free refreshments tables provided by the conference. You’ll often find them in the Expo hall during the breaks between sessions.  Visit them often.

Events You Shouldn’t Miss

  • Event Orientation – If this will be your first DevLearn experience
  • General Sessions – Not only does each include incredibly inspirational speakers but also important announcements and awards are given at theseDemoFest_250
  • The Expo – A great place to discover new vendors, new technology, and new contacts to network with and if you only go once, go during the reception at 5 PM on Wednesday
  • DemoFest – A great place to see cutting edge learning technologies and designs and have conversations with the creators to learn about their design methods

See you there!

After the Conference

Remember to get a paid eLearning Guild membership to save money on next year’s DevLearn

It’s probably too late for you to take advantage of this for this year (if you purchased your DevLearn 2013 registration already), but if you aren’t a paid eLearning Guild member then here’s an important tip for the future that not everyone knows.

Did you know that a paid eLearning Guild membership gets you a 20% discount on their conferences? So, basically, if you’re an Associate member and are planning to attend one of their conferences, then a $99 Member account pays for itself… plus nets you an additional $240 of savings. On top of that, you get all the benefits of Member level access for a full year. On top of that, you also get 20% off any other eLearning Guild conference you plan to attend over the next year.

So, basically, if you’re going to attend an eLearning Guild conference, take the extra few minutes it takes to sign up for a paid membership first.

Note: Guess what? You can also chain this 20% off deal with the early bird discount. Hooray for additional savings!

Do you have any of your own great DevLearn / Vegas tips? Leave them in the comments below.

Thank you Bianca Woods for this article!

How Do You Raise the Bar for eLearning Experiences?

I’m writing this selfishly because I’m hoping you’ll write something in the comments that will inspire me.  Inspiration is a funny thing because it gives us a high as we appreciate our improved eLearning designs and once we’ve used it on a program or two, we’re ready for the next bit of inspiration to keep that emotional high going.  At least, that’s what they say… ;)

eLearning has come a long way in the past 10-15 years and my personal journey with it started when I was a live trainer for a company that couldn’t staff enough live trainers and we wanted to get our message out to locations faster than we could fly to each of them.  Before we discovered eLearning, we started mailing out CDs that contained auto-run PowerPoint presentations.  I remember seeing this approach about 10 years ago where commonly this auto-run PowerPoint was just a packaged up version of the bad PowerPoint used in the live training, which ended up being the early bad eLearning programs.

Just like movies, eLearning has improved over the years, sometimes it seems slowly and sometimes it seems like best practices improve by leaps and bounds.  And sometimes we learn that our latest “improvement” was a really bad choice for learning.  It is funny how each latest eLearning experience I craft can look stunning to me and then I look back on that same content only a couple of years later and I say to myself, “What was I thinking?!?!?” In fact, I won’t even post here what I think is a solid looking eLearning screenshot because I’m sure I’ll come back in a month and disagree with it.

I remember about eight-ish years ago how exciting clip art and PowerPoint animations were and eLearning as we knew it commonly turned into what Cammy Bean calls “Clickly Clickly Bling Bling”. All of those “entertaining” noises and checkerboard animations were added just because we could do it.  And those who had not seen PowerPoint move like that before ooh’ed and ahhh’ed over it.  For a short while.

We have became savvier in recent years due to our experience with what works and what doesn’t for learning.  We better recognize that effective online learning is not just about keeping learners engaged with entertainment but with effective ways to communicate for the best chances of knowledge transfer.

www.eLearningBrothers.com

One of my favorite resources: http://www.eLearningBrothers.com

And, of course with the boom and much wider selection of technologies that can be used for learning experiences, online learning just keeps getting better.  Plus, there are so many eLearning Media assets available on line to help us faster polish our eLearning experiences with pleasing and engaging audio and visuals.

Online learning now has the ability to be populated with sharp looking visuals, emotional connections, and communications that connect learning to real life purpose.  Technologies are giving us ways to not only produce sharp looking elearning with people cutouts, video people cutouts, interesting interactions, and games but now we have cool and effective ways to inject Performance Support into the online workflow both in computer and mobile experiences.  And, cool interactive infographics, like this one (displays best in Chrome.)

With well over 50 eLearning software programs for designing eLearning/mLearning/Performance Support, countless resources for templates and assets, conferences that provide packed opportunities to learn how to design better (see you at #DevLearn 2013!), and other train-the-online-trainer opportunities in all different flavors that tell us how to design better elearning — do you start to feel overwhelmed for where to start / where to turn when you want the latest inspiration for raising the bar so you are can be a better designer today than you were yesterday?  And, when you turn to those resources, are you truly finding ones that help you improve or do you say, “Eh. I already do that. I’ve been doing that for awhile.  Meh.”  Or, are you so thrilled with the sources you have that you feel like you are drinking from a fire hose and can’t keep up with the goodness?  If you feel more of the later than the former, then please – be a good community friend and tell us where we can find this glorious fire hose so we can consume it with you! Help us curate the Interwebs and other resources — including your brain. If you are brilliant and have invented new methods of online communication and best design practices, please – share.

I can’t wait to see how you inspire me, ahem – I mean, us.

How to Get Started in eLearning …A Work in Progress

I sat next to an exceptional person who is an officer in the military on the way home from a business trip earlier today.  After brief small talk that typically happens with the people you sit next to on airplanes, I asked him what life lessons he has learned in the military that he can teach his young daughters.  With the look that only a caring father gives, he replied that he hopes they will stand up for others, help others, and support them.  In fact, he hopes he can do more of that as he enters the workforce and hopes to get into teaching – ideally adults.  Of course, at that point the conversation had my full interest since it was an opportunity to lend a hand – especially after being inspired after a touching story about helping others more often.  I rattled off more tips than he’ll probably be able to remember and wrote down a series of websites for him to check out as resources.  I’ve felt really good all day about doing what felt like a good deed, especially for someone so deserving who has done so much for all of us.  Hopefully, he’s armed and ready now for his future adventures. I vented some of that positive emotion on Twitter and Chad Lowry suggested I blog about it.  Great idea, Chad.  Maybe this little blog post might reach a few others who also want to get started and it might make a difference for them too.  Maybe we can all work together to grow this tip list over time to make it a really nice, useful resource.  So, recommendations are welcome – add them to the comments and/or contact me to update this list!

Throughout my career, I’ve grown exponentially better at what I do primarily because of the brilliant people I’m lucky enough to know whether simply associated via social media and/or as close industry friends, giving me an opportunity to learn from them on a regular basis.  Since I find those people my most valuable resource, I’ll start with that topic, and then the remaining tips in this blog may not necessarily be in any logical order.

How to grow your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

  • Find people who do what you want to do, learn from them, and network with them
    • Find national and local groups like ASTD Chapters (I belong to a LinkedIn group called DMELD – Denver Metro E-Learning Developers and have benefited from the local meetings, group email, and job boards)
    • Go to conferences
    • Co-workers are a wealth of knowledge and they can introduce you to others
    • There is not a shortage of iconic, brilliant people in our field who write books/write blogs/speak and love being a resource. Find them, don’t hesitate to reach out to them, learn from them.
  • Get involved in Social Media (SoMe) – many of these options have great apps too
    • Twitter – Add all the smart people you can find, create lists to sort by topic, join discussions like #Chat2Lrn and more.  Ask questions on Twitter and you’ll usually receive multiple, helpful answers.  Feel free to follow all the people I follow at @LisaAGoldstein - I follow each one of them because I think they are all valuable, smart people. See this post for more information about Twitter chats – http://ldglobalevents.com/2012/08/23/learning-and-development-tweetchats-on-twitter/
    • LinkedIn –  There are many groups on that site dedicated to learning professionals
    • G+ – Another great resource with a recently growing population of learning professionals, join groups and chat in hangouts
    • Facebook – Especially useful for following your favorite learning organizations
    • Yammer – A great way to join and create private and public groups
    • Skype – The best learning conversations of my career have been in group IM chats in Skype
    • Tip from Mark Sheppard (@marklearns) – Be selective about online communities. Joining is easy, but reading, reflecting, and participating require time/work.

Valuable resources for self-directed learning

As learning professionals, we often need to take our career development/learning into our own hands to make the most out of our career.  Here is a starting list of very helpful resources:

  • This page has a vast array of L&D blogs and more: ldglobalevents.com/l-d-resources/
  • I especially recommend following Tom Kuhlmann‘s blog which covers Articulate design and all sorts of general topics such as, “Do You Really Need An Instructional Design Degree?
  • If you use the popular Articulate tools, you’ll find a great community and collection of resources on www.Articulate.com
  • You can learn about almost any kind of software at www.Lynda.com and www.YouTube.com
  • Conferences
    • The eLearning Guild is one of the best conference producers for eLearning professionals and offers a few varieties throughout the year
    • ASTD is a great option for those who will be involved in live facilitated training and usually has some elearning content as well
    • And many others…
  • Backchannels – When you can’t make it to a conference, the backchannel is a collection of Resources, Tweets (search conference hashtags), and highlights from conferences.  A great option for when you can’t be there in person.  David Kelly has been unofficially crowned the King of the Backchannel in the U.S. which probably means Kate Graham needs the title as Queen of the Backchannel in the U.K. since she does similar efforts there.
  • Free webinars – a great way to learn useful ideas and skills, for free!  See this calendar for a collection of upcoming events: http://ldglobalevents.com/l-and-d-global-events-calendar/

What you will need

  • A good computer – I recommend multiple monitors for efficient multitasking
  • A tech saavy mindset – get ready to learn a ton and like decorating a home, one thing at a time – don’t stress about knowing everything now, you’ll learn a lot over a long period of time
  • Software – this is a huge topic and deserves its own post but here are some of my staples:
    • Articulate Studio and/or Storyline
    • SnagIt
    • Camtasia
    • Captivate (I recommend the Adobe eLearning Suite)
    • Audacity or Adobe Soundbooth/Audition
    • There is such a long list of effective available software programs and although I have not used all of them yet (much like I have not owned or driven every kind of effective car) there are many others that users enjoy including Zebra Zapps, iSpring, and many more.
  • A good microphone (I use and like the Blue Snowball) and recording space if you plan to use your own voice for voiceovers – see this post for more helpful tips:  http://ldglobalevents.com/2012/11/13/setting-up-a-recording-studio-and-getting-started-as-a-vo-by-jason-huggins/
  • Lots of practice – create projects on your own and add them to a portfolio that you can use to showcase to potential clients and employers
  • Education on how adults learn, how to design, how to use the tools for design, project management, invoicing (if independent), etc.

Career options

  • Work for a company as an employee, or invoice multiple customers as an independent contractor
  • It doesn’t have to be strictly just about elearning. You can help create live and online instructor led training courses on webinars.  Or blended approaches with live training and elearning.
  • Be innovative – do what others are not doing yet
  • Here’s information about an L&D Job Board by Kelly Phillips

Related topics that might be helpful to become familiar with for use or inspiration

  • Various adult learning theories
  • How design impacts learning
  • Emotional investments – What’s in it for me? (WIFM)
  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Social Media for Social Learning in the workplace
  • The Flipped Classroom
  • Performance Support
  • Visual note taking
  • Games in Learning
  • Mobile Learning
  • Branding

Tips from other eLearning professionals

  • You’ll also need hard work and a bit of luck! – Zara King @ZaraLynnOgden
  • Remember to learn from other, related fields, like graphic design, programming, creative writing, game design, etc. – Bianca Woods – @eGeeking
  • I know this is my own bias but I’d put greater emphasis on practice and theory instead of tools – Mark Sheppard – @marklearns
  • Business objectives trump instructional objectives. Every time. (They should be aligned, but sometimes not) – David Glow – @criticallearner

What is missing from this list?