I would tell you that I’ve taken an interesting path to settle into the career I currently enjoy, but from all of the instructional designers I’ve met that seems to be the norm! I do believe that each detour along the way has added a new skillset or point of view to my repertoire.
I earned a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with the intent of becoming a college professor. Through my position as a teaching assistant I gained valuable experience as an instructor, leading laboratory lectures and experiments, and creating supplemental content for my students. While I decided not to pursue a career in research, I greatly value the skills I learned as a scientist to observe a problem, analyze the causes and possible solutions, and test each until an optimal result is achieved. As one of my professors is fond of saying, “Science is not something that is done, it is a way of thinking about the world.” I am a powerful critical thinker due to my background in science, and I often recognize trends and cause and effect relationships much more quickly than my colleagues.
I love explaining things to people, and I have the great talent of viewing everything through the eyes of a novice. So when a subject matter expert (SME) steps in and says “we don’t need to add that to the course, everyone knows that”, I can stand up for the potential new learner and say, no this is critical foundational knowledge. From my background in teaching chemistry–a subject that makes most college students cringe–I learned how to communicate complex technical ideas to a range of audiences. Whether it was 5th graders learning about ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, to terrified-for-their-GPA pre-med students, or career scientists listening to me describe my summer research experiments, I can make any subject matter understandable.
My time as a software quality assurance tester introduced me to the realm of user experience design and I apply those standards not just to online courses, but also to anything I develop for the classroom. Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, there are things you can do to engage the learner before and after the training event to help them retain what they have learned and to make the experience more enjoyable. My widely applicable design experience allows me to create supplemental documents: manuals, job aids, quick start guides, or even animations and videos for the student to use before and after their time in the classroom.
I’m always looking to learn more and expand my skillset, so if you have need of a critical thinker, learner advocate, master explainer, instructional designer just drop me a line.
Thanks for visiting!