Love is in the air!
It is that time of the year when we express our love to and gratitude for everyone that makes our lives worth living. This year, let’s send the customary chocolates and roses to our jobs. (Yes, you read right.)
We spend the greater part of our day writing storyboards, thinking up ID strategies, moving around visuals, and designing attractive screens. But instructional designing is not the easiest of jobs around. The deadlines are tight. Many clients don’t understand your POV. Your team members are not always supportive. You are expected to churn out ideas at the drop of a hat, every day.
We signed up to be eLearning designers because we love designing. So isn’t it natural that we express love for our jobs?
Listed below are the reasons why we love eLearning design. They will always remind you why you fell in love with eLearning in the first place and help you carry on, motivated and passionate.
1) Every day is NEW.
Every day in the life of an eLearning designer is different.
Every new project brings with it a unique set of challenges, and you are compelled to dream up new ideas and present innovative solutions. You cannot get away with off-the-shelf solutions!
Every new client or new topic brings with it a unique set of demands, and you are compelled to work out new ways to get things done. The content is different. The visual theme has to be different. New games have to be conjured up. New strategies have to be invented. In short, good eLearning designs don’t come out of assembly lines.
2) Every day challenges you to go beyond your limits.
The sheer novelty of each day is a challenge in itself.
It is not easy to glean relevant information from an SME who digresses and rambles on. It is not easy to squeeze every piece of relevant information into a micro-learning module. It 's hard to keep learners hooked when their phones beep and ring continuously.
It is not easy to prioritize when you are swamped by an endless array of tasks. It is even more difficult to be creative, innovative, and productive when the deadlines the stringent, the client is demanding, and the content, complex.
You have to find ways to fix issues in the courses and plug loopholes in the processes.
As an eLearning designer, you have to rise to these challenges and counter them with your creativity, logic, tact, and planning. Every day will force you to do what you thought you could never do or was not possible.
3) You are challenged to innovate, experiment, and improve.
There are no canned solutions in eLearning design. What works for one course can turn another into a shoddy mess.
The challenges of eLearning design force you to think out of the box, go out of your comfort zone, make educated guesses, and take calculated risks. (But of course, this does not mean that you should try out your wild ideas on clients’ projects without their consent.)
The best part of your job is that you have ample opportunities to practice getting into the “innovation” groove by experimenting with your own projects.
You want to find which color scheme works best for a course? Just open a graphics editing software and go wild on the blank canvas. You want to create engaging and realistic scenarios? Simply open the word processor and start spinning your stories.
Your creative experiments will not only hone your skills but also spark valuable ideas that you can take back to the drawing board or a brainstorming session with the client.
Recommended read: How to Find Design Inspiration for eLearning
4) Learning mode always "On"
Being an eLearning designer is like you have embarked on a learning journey that never ends. There is always a new technology to master, a new tool to learn, or a new authoring or image editing software to wrap your mind around. There are new instructional theories to learn and the latest scientific findings on learning and learner psychology to analyze and make sense of. And then there are the workplace and productivity hacks that you need to learn from your co-workers.
The eLearning landscape evolves constantly. It is a dynamic field, and you have to stay on top of trends to keep your head above water. You are a creative and inquisitive soul, and you enjoy the learning process.
5) You get to wear many hats.
Engineer. Artist. Psychologist. Architect. Writer. Teacher.
As an instructional designer, you have to wear many hats and juggle multiple roles. You have to delve into the minds of your learners to figure out their needs. You have to immerse yourself in the world of shapes, colors, textures, and patterns to create a rich, visual learning experience. You have to build scenarios that transport learners to another world. You have to build a cohesive course from sundry disparate elements and make it work with clockwork precision.
As an eLearning designer, you are expected to be an expert technologist, an analytical problem-solver, an intuitive designer, and a master communicator. Yours is a multi-dimensional role where you have to go beyond the boundaries of your own particular discipline and become well-versed in allied but diverse skills.
6) You make a difference in the world
We all want to feel that we are doing valuable work. We want to know that our work is making a difference in the world. As eLearning designers, you can see for yourself how your courses are changing people’s lives for the better.
It is exciting to be a part of a creative process from conception through to the finish.
But it is even more satisfying to know that your creation is helping people learn new skills, modify or alter destructive behavioral patterns, and arm themselves with productivity hacks. It is fulfilling to know that your courses are empowering people to become insightful and inspiring leaders, productive employees, effective managers, and cooperative team members.
7) It's not a one-man show.
Instructional designing does not happen if you shut yourself up in a room to work away at the drawing board. Great eLearning design is the result of many minds coming together, exchanging ideas, debating for hours on end, and inspiring and educating each other.
A truly effective learning solution is the result of a collaboration between designers, writers, marketing personnel, HR and QA specialists, and project managers. Everyone chips in with their knowledge and ideas to create a product that is helpful and has lasting value.
The exchanges are not limited to face-to-face meetings. You can collaborate virtually using tools like Dropbox, Hipchat, Slack, and Invision. You can communicate with others in the community on the blogosphere and in chat rooms or forums.
8) It never gets boring. You get to be a part of a vibrant, thriving community.
You work in an ever-changing field where a new technology, tool, or ID theory is unveiled every day. You are challenged to come up with new ideas every day. You are encouraged to give free rein to your imagination. You are a part of a lively community that inspires you and helps you grow professionally. You help learners better their lives.
What can be boring about eLearning designing?
Whether you are an eLearning designer or are gearing to enter the profession, remember what makes this job different from others. Being an eLearning designer will help you grow both personally and professionally. You become more empathetic, bold, creative, analytical, and productive.