Life seemed a lot more challenging before having that virtual portal to the world at my fingertips — the Internet. Everything took so long, and I had to really work to obtain information! Driving an hour through snowdrifts to locate the only copy of academic journals in the tri-county area; muddling through mazes of dimly lit, dusty stacks of books; pumping copy machines full of dimes; taking power naps on avocado-green vinyl couches in preparation for excavating resources on the second half of my to-do list… and so on.
Being an ID and a manager, I recognize that life is good when I can relax in my comfy recliner with my feet up and access virtually any piece of information I want in a matter of seconds. I can keep abreast of what’s happening in the world of learning, sharpen my skills, test out the latest software packages and stay fresh on most everything I care to. As mentioned in Part One, I want to share a few of my favorite online resources for expanding my knowledge and skills, both on the ID front and in other areas of interest to me. None of these resources cost a dime… unlike the copy machines I fed over the years.
- The Articulate Community
- Download free trial versions of the Articulate Suite, including Storyline.
- Watch numerous “how-to” functionality videos.
- Check out the gallery of creative course examples for ideas and inspiration.
- TED Talks and the Kahn Academy. There is a never-ending variety of educational and technical topics available to you. Sound overwhelming? Just set some mini-goals for yourself, such as focusing on one topic per week or month where you want to hone your skills or explore something new.
- Coursera. This site offers a variety of college-level courses along with a certification if you complete the offline assignments. Like many busy professionals, I have time to audit courses by only watching the lectures. The commitment averages about one hour per week for this. Take note, they offer a six-week course on gamification, which will give you the basics to this latest trend in learning.
- YouTube videos. It’s not all pets doing tricks or people ranting and raving about nothing in particular. There are loads of professional and self-educational videos on how to use various software packages or speakers focusing on the latest trends. Again, focus on one topic and carefully chose to watch a handful of videos. You can usually tell by the user rating if the content hits the mark and is worth your time.
Every day, the set of resources on the sites listed above continues to grow. Other sites continually pop up and expand as well. Be sure to take advantage of these fantastic resources as you work on new projects. Believe me, most interviewers and managers are pretty impressed if an ID mentions a relevant TED talk or other video resource when brainstorming on a project.
In case you missed it, in Part One I discuss the fundamentals managers like me are looking for to build a growing and successful ID team.
Catherine Davis is SweetRush’s Instructional Design Practice Lead. You can read more strategies and tips from Catherine in her free eBook: How to be an Instructional Design Rock Star: Learn the ropes from a corporate training veteran and supercharge your career!