Looking for a Mentor

Nov 14, 2016

Hello all, My name is Lili, based in London. I'm new to the field of instructional design/eLearning. My day job is an L&D coordinator (home-based). I now want to move into the field of digital learning. I don't get any opportunities in my current workplace to learn/get experience.

I'm amazed by the great work of the experts in this field. So, I took the initial step in designing a few EH Weekly Challenges and familiar with the tools. 
Now, I'm looking for a mentor to learn/get expert advice and point me in the right direction as I cannot figure out the right direction to reach my future career. 

Many thanks

9 Replies
Lili Seram

Thanks Matthew, that sounds great.

But the problem I'm having is, not knowing what I should know and having confidence to do things. There's so much information and support out there but I'm struggling.

I think I started it right. I first researched for what qualifications, experience and skills needed for a Digital Learning person. I ended up with a long list of things to learn like HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and UX design and eLearning and digital platform. I'm really unsure if should be learning all these things. I already have experience in using digital platform (Totara LMS) administering the platform and creating blended learning courses etc.

Since, I haven't really designed any eLearning modules, I started first attending/watching free webinars, subscribed to LinkedIn groups, newsletters etc to learn more and get insights.

Then I started designing things for weekly Challenges to familiar with the tool. But I can see people using JavaScript and HTML5 to design courses, so now I'm confuse if I should learn those as well. 

I can see lot of people recommend to create a portfolio of work. If I haven't actually designed any course what can I include in the portfolio? I haven't reached out to anyone to design any eLearning modules as I'm unsure if I can do a good work. I feel I should gain more confidence.

So, it's not a specific question I would like to get advice on. Since, I don't have anyone to reach out to clarify if I'm doing the right thing for my next career, I thought someone from this community would be able to help me. 

Matthew Bibby

I wouldn't worry about HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and UX design if you are just getting started in eLearning development. Maybe focus on learning Storyline as well as the basics of instructional design and graphic design.

There are lots of great resources on this site to help (look under the 'Learn' heading above).

As far as gaining confidence goes, getting more practice helps! Keep going with the weekly challenges and when you are ready, maybe see if there is a non-profit in your area who'd like a volunteer to build them some courses. It'd be a great way to get some real world experience.

John Brindle

Hi Lili,

It can be really tough to just go solo without any key projects to work on.

Why not try creating screencast tutorials for youtube based on some of the structures that you have observed from the self training that you have been doing? It's a great way to start looking at structuring content and displaying it for learning purposes. My first set of elearning revolved around video tutorials that my students used to learn Logic Pro X - it builds confidence in building discreet processes and steps for learning.

Think about something that you are really good at and want to teach others, then build a course about it! Use this community to gain feedback on the tutorials/courses you create and improve. Get friends and family to take your courses and see if they learn anything!

There are loads of ways to build a portfolio, just be creative with your approach. You may want to look at Allen Interactions and the CCAF model to give you a good starting point in understanding instructional structures. There's tons of theory out there to support you.

I was lucky enough to work in a supportive University environment before beginning in the corporate elearning role that I am in now (for a national pharmacy chain), it's tough but really worthwhile!

Good luck!

Ridvan  Saglam

Hi Lili, 

I can understand how you feel. I have been working as an English teacher for ten years, and now, trying to transition into instructional design. When I decided to stop playing with Articulate to create some quiz games and get into deeper, I got confused too. In Turkey, I don't have much chance to get a proper training for Instructional Design. Then, I decided to train myself as much as I could. 

There are a lot of ways, a lot of tools to introduce your courses and a lot of skills to gain. However, powerpoint is still used and will be used, I think. It depends how you use it.  Bothering yourself to learn all those codes, programming languages can be distracting now. I wanted to learn to code and add those different code languages into my courses, but I know it needs too much time to master on those. Now, I'm focusing on building my portfolio, trying to create different interactions for different subjects. 

I can't call myself as a professional instructional designer, I have to learn so many things let's say, I am a few steps ahead of you in this community. So, my suggestions are going to be a bit simple.

First, why don't you add your courses into your Community Profile page? I wanted to have a look at your works before writing here, but couldn't see anything there. To see your works, I had to follow the links you share on the different discussions. (By the way, they seem cool. I liked the way you use color in your courses.)  If you need help to add your courses on your portfolio page, I can help. Just let me know. 

Second, you can start a blog to tell how you create your courses. Although I haven't done that yet, I check the heroes' post shared here. Those posts help a lot to understand their works better. 

Third, when you see an interaction you like, try to create something similar and add your touch. This way has helped me a lot. 

Finally, join discussions more often. Help people when you can. On these discussion forums, sometimes I see a question which I have never thought to ask. I try to solve it if I can. It is a different kind of challenge and really educating. 

Hope these ideas can be useful for you. 

Lili Seram

Matthew, thanks for taking your time to give me some advice. I really appreciate your advice. Yes, my main focus at the moment is using Storyline and also try to design my own graphics whenever possible. I haven't got the bandwidth to learn anything else at the moment. That's why I was so concerned about knowing what I should prioritise.

I intend to continue in participate in weekly challenges to gain more experience and confidence in designing. I'm actually working in the non-profit sector, unlike in any other sector they cannot easily invest in digital technology. So, I always keep an eye on for opportunities to volunteer. 

Lili Seram

Hi John

I reflected on two things you have highlighted: creating screencast tutorials and creating a course. I just realised I can adapt the materials that we use for face-to-face training session for people and management development, to create a module or two. I've put put both items in my to-do list and hoping to start soon. I'm going to explore more about creating screencast tutorials as well.

I will also look at Allen Interactions and CCAF model. So, thanks a heap for your valuable tips.

Lili Seram

Hi Ridvan

I’ve seen your awesome work in EH Challenges. I think you have a very good creative and designing skills. Many thanks for sharing your experience, tips and advice. I'm not worrying about learning to code for the time being.

I haven't designed any courses yet, except EH Challenges. I'm not sure how to upload those into my profile in community. I have designed about 10 - 12 challenges, those are very basic ones, I designed them while learning the tool, so haven't focused on creativity.  

About creating a blog, that's on my list but I feel I haven't created any great work that I can write about. As John suggested in the above post I'm going to design a course and screencast tutorials and then I can start the blog. 

That's a good idea for helping people who has question on the forum. 

I really appreciate your tips and looking forward for more tips in future. 


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