How To Motivate The Instructional Designer
In 2010, Connie Malamed, aka the eLearning Coach, wrote an amazing post with the title Motivating The Instructional Designer that I highly encourage you to read. Based on Connie's informative post I was inspired to write the 7 Tips To Motivate The Instructional Designer. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!
As you already know great things were achieved with motivation and inspiration. When it comes to instructional design, everything is about motivating the learner. Don't get me wrong, I am not against it, but often this results in the burn-out of the instructional designer. In this article, I would like to draw more on how to motivate yourself. All the problems and obstacles you come across when designing a course, might be a great demotivator. It is easy to give up when the subject matter expert you are working with, has a totally different idea of what the course should be about and when your company is stressing you out.
For this reason, here are 7 tips to keep yourself as Instructional Designer motivated, inspired and going:
1. Your course will help someone.
Always remind yourself, that what you do matters to someone and will have a great impact on them. It will help people become more competent at work, achieve more and broaden their horizons. Some of your courses might teach people how to give first aid, how to handle dangerous equipment safely, or how to use technology and social media that will potentially reconnect them with their friends and families abroad. These are not only skills that will just help them become better, these are skills that might change their lives forever.
2. Remember, you promote and defend the interests of your learners.
You are there to help identify the gaps between their needs and their knowledge, help them grow and learn things that will enhance their skills and abilities. You work in their interest, taking them seriously, ensuring the material is spread throughout the course in manageable proportions and the tests are fair and objective.
3. Imagine you are the learner.
There is a video made by RSA Animation, called The Power of Outrospection. It is an inspiring call to be more empathic and to put ourselves in the shoes of other people, in order to take a new perspective. I am sure you are now asking yourself: “How will that help me?” I will tell you how! If you put yourself in the place of the learner, you will understand the value of the learning experience you provide. You will understand how your work is more or less shaping their world.
4. Look at other people's work.
I remember when I was a student, I found it easier to study in the library, because every time I felt the urge to put the books down and procrastinate, I lifted my head up and saw fellow students who wrote their essays, read their books, took notes and worked hard. This motivated me a great deal to get back to what I was doing. In instructional design, it works similarly. Looking at the work of others will not only motivate and inspire you, but will give you new ideas and will help you learn new strategies. You will instantly feel the urge to try some of the ideas yourself.
5. Get in touch with other instructional designers.
Surround yourself with people who have the same interests and experiences as you. According to the creators of Pokke.Me, a new social and professional network: “conversations are very powerful between interesting people who think alike and have similar aspirations.” (Gospodinov, 2012). Whenever you feel demotivated, seek the support and the company of other instructional designers. It is important to know that you are not alone in this. You may want to join the Instructional Design & E-Learning Professionals' Group Google Plus community or Instructional Design & E-Learning Professionals' LinkedIn Group.
6. Analyze yourself and the reasons why you feel so demotivated.
Sometimes it is not the work that brings you down, but factors outside your office. It might be your family life, or other problems and dilemmas you are facing. Instead of trying to make yourself work, spend some time and find what is demotivating you.
7. Seek inspiration everywhere.
Read a book, that's completely irrelevant to your course and instructional design, spend some time outside, try exciting things for the first time, meet new people, re-decorate and de-clutter your office, start a journal, do a research on a topic that interests you. All these new experiences could be integrated in your course. It is not uncommon for instructional designers to try and explain an abstract theory, by giving examples from sports, everyday life and a number of other areas.
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