Category Archives: Professional Development

Jobs in Instructional Design and Technology

Months before finishing graduate school I set up several email search agents on job search/career sites in higher education and industry. That was over three years ago and I never shut them down. While I did find a job after graduation I like seeing what comes up each week. The fields of instructional design and technology are still pretty young, undefined, and evolving. This evolution comes through when you read these announcements over time. Setting up a search agent or alert allows you to set the parameters of the searches to meet your needs: location, salary range, etc.  You can also usually add a list of keywords.

Are you looking? Here are a few sites you might want to consider adding to your search:

  • Instructional Design Central – As promised in the name, a central site for all things instructional design. In addition to a jobs board, this site also provides info on conferences and organizations.
  • Chronicle of Higher Education – Jobs – For those interested in working specifically in a college or university setting, although there are a few industry and non-profit listings as well.
  • HigherEdJobs.com – Another good site for college/university positions – user friendly search agent feature.

Professional association job boards:

  • Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)
  • Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
  • American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)
  • The eLearning Guild – Job Board

Some of the big job search sites – search specifically for instructional design. You can also set up advanced search filters.

If you like Twitter…consider following:

  • @InstrDesignJobs – This account posts multiple jobs daily. Most seem to be industry focused, but you’ll see other settings, too.

Not looking? Consider setting up a search or two to stay current – know what employers are looking for now in terms of experience, education, and skills. If you are thinking about continuing your education and training, check these posts first to see what is in demand.

Other recommendations? Please let me know your suggestions and I’ll add to the list. By the way, this post was inspired by Deb Ng’s post: 25 Places to Find Social Media Jobs. Interested in the use of social media in education? You might find her list interesting, too.

Photo credit: everything.in.blue, Flickr

Instructional Design and Project Management – Are You Certified?

The instructional design field is part art – part science (Check out this post on Performance x Design). While you can study Instructional Design as an academic field and complete a degree or certificate program, you can also join the field via on-the-job training. I have worked with people who have come through varying career paths to become talented instructional designers. The work of the instructional designer is application oriented and one becomes more skilled through practice. I think that project managers follow similar paths – some have related degrees while others have learned through the process of managing projects.

Part of the skill set of the instructional designer is project management. The reality of curriculum, education, and training teams in organizations is that the instructional designer often wears both hats. Rarely is there a separate project manager to orchestrate the process of course development and keep things on track and under budget. Having had this experience myself I often refer to myself as a Project Manager, but with the increase in certification in this area I wonder how long I will be able to do that.

Advertisements for Instructional Designer positions almost always include the need for “project management experience”. Recently though I saw an announcement that required project management certification, specifically the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation.

eLearning Pro with PMP…

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers a globally recognized set of certifications. The two I am most familiar with are the PMP and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). The PMP requires an extensive application documenting three years of project management experience, a college degree, and specific coursework in project management. If your application is accepted, you sit for a national exam. Once you pass the exam and are granted the certification, you complete annual continuing education activities. The CAPM also involves an extensive application and exam followed by re-examination every five years.

So, I am considering pursuit of one of these designations. The process is a little daunting and I think to myself, when does it end? When do I have enough acronyms after my name to stay competitive and ensure a potential employer that I am qualified? And there seems to be a fine line there – how many is too many?

Professional certification also seems to be an industry in and of itself. There are application fees, study courses (with fees), test preparation materials to purchase, exam fees… and other costs associated with membership and continuing education. To me, there is a financial investment involved and one that would continue. Do employers assist with these costs or provide additional compensation to those who hold special certifications?

What are your thoughts on professional certification? – particularly where instructional design and project management are concerned. If you have considered pursuing  or have completed certification, please share your advice on the pros and cons. If you are an employer, let us know how you value certification as part of the recruitment/hiring process.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Reading about Learning Science, Psychology

This post was inspired by a question I saw on Twitter (thanks, @Ryan_Eikmeier!): “Can anybody recommend a text that summarizes current research in learning science, the science letters in stone of learning, that is?”

My response included several books that together cover most of this territory, but I couldn’t put my finger on just one item/volume that would cover it at all. My recommendations are below. Please add yours to the comments area!

Psychology of Learning for Instruction – Marcy P. Driscoll

  • I have an early version of this, but it looks like a new edition is on the way. This book is a solid, easy to digest, overview of learning psychology. Major learning theories are presented in detail. This one has become a handbook.

Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology – Robert A. Reiser and John V. Dempsey

  • This book adds to the previous, bringing technology and instructional design and strategies into the conversation. A number of notable chapter contributors give this one a nice scope, including industry, and some general guidance on competencies for those entering the field.

Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide – Sharan B. Merriam and Rosemary S. Caffarella

  • My response to Ryan included this as a ‘classic for adult learning theory’.  A good reference and a different perspective from the previous two. Also provides an overview of learning theories detailed in Driscoll’s book listed above.

The original question specifically asks for texts. While the books do offer collections and summaries, they certainly aren’t as current as journals and other publications with shorter production times. Another post, perhaps…

photo credit: myfear, Flickr

Year 2 – Blogging in 2010

This blog is one year old as of this month! I’ve enjoyed the process of writing it (including figuring out what to write about) and learning more about blogging in general along the way.  Personally, this endeavor has become a sort of creative outlet and a source of self-directed professional development. Now that my ‘voice’ is starting to take shape I feel the need to set a few basic goals to grow and improve the project from this point forward.

In 2010 I’ll strive to:

  • Post once per week – I know that the pros advise more, but this is a little more realistic given all else I need and want to do in a week.
  • Comment on three blogs per week – There are so many out there that I read occasionally, but want to read more frequently. I have been negligent in commenting on others’ posts when I look for comments on my own.
  • Learn more about SEO and WordPress – It would be a nice bonus to build some kind of readership and keep my site looking and sounding as professional as possible.

So here we go…more to follow from me. Please share your writing/blogging tips and suggestions. Here are a few of my favorite posts on other blogs. I revisit these occasionally and they motivate me to keep writing:

Problogger

Chris Brogan

Web Distortion

ShermanLive

photo credit: John Althouse Cohen, Flickr

Update (1/17)! I just registered for WordCamp Miami in February. I have completely lucked out on the location and timing of this event. Looking forward to attending and letting you know what I find out.

Professional Conferences – ID, IT, Distance Ed…

Sometimes my employer funds these trips, but I have funded myself just as often. I like conferences, but I don’t love conferences and two-a-year is usually my goal, especially if I can present. I realize it’s usually a bonus to be able to attend these and I try to select them pretty carefully. Recently I was asked to recommend events related to Instructional Design/Instructional Technology/Multimedia Development. The list below was the result and I thought I would pass it along here. The events marked with an asterisk (*) are ones I have actually attended and recommend. Others I have heard about and would like to get to at some point.

  • EDUCAUSE – a number of regional events also available. I am planning to attend the one in the Southeast next year.
  • USDLA
  • E-Learning Guild – check out DevLearn. A colleague of mine (Hi Nathan!) went last year and it sounds terrific, although he was very ‘Adobe’ when he got back ;)
  • AACE * – check out E-LEARN and ED-MEDIA…and SITE if you are in teacher education.
  • AECT
  • ASTD
  • SLOAN-C *- a big fan of SLOAN-C, especially the emerging technologies symposium, small and focused.
  • ITC
  • Distance Teaching and Learning Annual Conference * – University of Wisconsin – Madison, a great mix of people and topics, and a well-run event.
  • SALT * – I’ve been to the one in Orlando, small (in a good way) and a nice mix of education and industry.
  • ITTSEC
  • AERA * – Big, really big.  Focused on the “R” (research). Lots of interesting Special Interest Groups.

There are so many more conferences out there. Some with really specific niches…. what’s your interest? Second Life? Faculty Development? Open Education?…. Here are several links set up for searching for more…

Trends —- I’ve answered survey requests from a few of these organizations recently. There are changes coming I think. More virtual events (more on these in another post). More regional events. Less “glamorous” locations. More registration options (i.e. by-the-day). Will be interesting and very possibly improved in a lot of ways.

Your Favorites???

Update! (2/16/10) – @etcjournal has posted a very nice list of conferences on their Educational Technology & Change site. Take a look at this for upcoming events in 2010 complete with links. Online conferences are noted as well.

Update! (2/24/10) – ThinkingCap is also tracking eLearning conferences you can search by month. Check out the “Call for Proposals Deadline” tab. Very helpful!

Update! (5/21/10) – Just discovered this list via Twitter. 750 Educational Technology and Related Conferences. You can download the list as a Word.doc.