Life changing Question of the Year 2015

Jul 21, 2015

If someone wants to change their profession from Instructional Design/eLearning development to something similar, what would that be?

The reason is ID is very subjective and one of my friends has lost 2 contracts in a month just because the client was not happy with the design.

What do you recommend?

3 Replies
Bob S


I might suggest to your friend that perhaps the answer lies in improving their ability to truly understand client needs. Learn to probe for both the emotional needs (ie pain points, concerns) and not just the surface answers that are given.

For example, the client says "We need to make sure our folks know how to XYZ".   Don't accept just that surface answer....   Have they had issues around this?  Is there a business problem related to this?  How visible is this politically?  What else will creating this training accomplish for you? etc etc etc etc

If the issue is less about the wrong content in the design, and more about the wrong visuals..... Remember that people often trust their eyes more than their heads, and some don't know what they like (or don't) until they see it.  So encourage your friend to develop strategies with this in mind.  Perhaps it's getting the content approved and locked down before any visuals are discussed so they are more "committed" to the approach. Perhaps it's about developing a host of questions regarding look & feel and even providing mock ups based on the answers.

In short, if your friend loves the work, then perhaps don't leave the field.... just have them invest in upping their game in terms of understanding client needs and speaking with them in ways that resonate for them.

Good luck!

John Nixdorf

Carnival barker? Time share condo sales rep? Chicken sex inspector?

Bob S's thoughts are pretty much on target. Learn to verify what the client needs (although I tend more on "if the client says they need X, give them X, just make sure they sign off on it at every step"). The customer isn't always right, but the customer is always the customer.

Your friend might look for "regular" employment with a "company." Since ID is moving to a contractor model, this may be hard. But he might be able to do it as a "regular" contractor 24 to 36 months at a clip.

I tried doing independent contractor work for a while. Attached is a photo of me in my office.


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