LinkedIn vs. Facebook

LinkedIn can be useful in job searches because it is a primarily business-driven site that showcases companies, employees, and streamlines the introduction and referral process. The job postings, forums, and updates added to the site are targeted towards marketing a company and an employee, in turn creating the perfect networking opportunity for useful employment contacts.

My LinkedIn profile differs vastly from my Facebook profile! LinkedIn is all about the “professional me” while Facebook allows time and connections for the “social me” with friends and family. The LinkedIn Profile highlights business interests, accomplishments, and my resume. My Facebook profile highlights my love for quirky roadside attractions (love that ‘world’s largest twine ball picture’!), the sarcastic humor and images that I share with friends and family, and personal interests (games, volunteer efforts, etc.).

My rule of thumb is that business contacts go to LinkedIn and personal contacts go to Facebook. I rarely mix and match the two and people that I know only in a professional context are not added as Facebook “friends” to see my personal information. I’ve turned down a few requests and had to politely explain to vendors and associates that I don’t feel comfortable sharing my oddities with them until I’ve fully offended them in person first. The humor and distinction between the two sites has been successful to this point!

Project B Reflection

Project B ended up being a whirlwind undertaking for me due to client changes, postponements, and schedules. But, overall, it has ended up being a successful project with positive feedback.

By understanding the needs of the clients and setting realistic, achievable goals in the analysis and design phases, the project was able to be rapidly developed and implemented. The use of discussion and role-plays was useful in conveying new information to the participant and assessing their performance via observation.

What didn’t work was the initial agreement that only one individual would be trained with the expectation that mastery would be achieved for ongoing internal information sharing. The use of discussion and role-play was restricted by the lack of additional participants in the course. The participant also expressed doubt in their ability to transition from the practice phase to the live application of the newly acquired skills. The participant requested a mentor or “back-up” for the first interview to ensure their ability to implement the content in a non-classroom environment.

For this project, I was unable to utilize a peer reviewer in the UNT course. My timelines for development did not meet the course timelines to gain a peer review from the discussion board. I did, however, utilize a peer reviewer from the HR/Recruiting industry to review the content for validity and provide input on the handouts before implementation. The industry peer was able to provide wording suggestions and feedback on ways to structure the course content.

The client feedback has been positive for the entire project. All suggestions and recommendations have been accepted and changes were made to the design document and job aid to reflect their approval. The client appreciated the effort made to train one participant initially and agreed that at least two people should be trained at a time moving forward. They preferred the option to cap the course at four attendees rather than extend the length of the program but asked for “room to change their mind” in the future. The job aid was updated to reflect the either/or option for capping attendees or extending the course length.

Based on client and participant suggestions, we will review the handouts and evaluation process to determine additional steps and refinements that can be made to increase the program’s effectiveness. Two potential opportunities await: converting the handouts/materials into media-friendly resources rather than text-heavy handouts and creating an ongoing recruiting tracking system to determine effectiveness of the sourcing & selection process.

All in all, it was a great week’s work!

What I Have Learned…

This course has been a great learning experience for me in regards to instructional design. The application of rapid instructional design methods in the ADDIE design process has been eye opening and has given me an appreciation for a method that I had written off as outdated and inefficient. The project assignments in this course made it easy to understand why a structured process for development and consistent application of a design methodology is important.

The evaluation phase was extremely useful for me because it clarified the differences between assessing learner performance in a course and evaluating the effectiveness of the training design itself. Learner assessment may show that a program can teach a process but evaluating the entire program’s ability to meet specific goals and objectives (is the process even needed or successful outside the classroom) is critical in showing whether a project has a larger impact and success rate. Refinement and revision of a training program is much easier to conduct when the design process and instructional documents are in place to justify the change orders and requests. Next time, I will work on incorporating an assessment tool that the client can continue to monitor beyond the single training event and instructor feedback.

Overall, this course will make me a better instructional designer because it has shown me a method for creating standardized documentation and conducting better, more in-depth initial analysis and development for the benefit of other instructional staff and the clients.

Designing Instruction

Instruction can be seen as the method for how something should be done or even the orders or directions issued to accomplish a task. Designing instruction means that you are the person creating the methods or processes that need to be implemented and utilized by others. The design process can be simple or complicated depending on the ultimate goals of a project. It is the designer’s responsibility to select and create the best options for achieving the goals of the project and stimulating learning in the participants or recipients of the instruction.

To be a professional instructional designer, an individual needs many skills to be successful. The designer must be thorough, organized, detailed, creative, efficient, innovative, clever, practical, and a million other adjectives that would take pages to list. The designer fills the role of researcher, analyst, interviewer, collaborator, creator, developer, technologist, writer, copyeditor, illustrator, animator, evaluator, assessor, and even the judge, jury, and executioner of content. Above all, a professional designer must be willing to invest their time and skills into a project to benefit others.

Self-Regulation

To me, self-regulation is the process of managing your own time and productivity. Managing and regulating the activities and projects of others can be challenging but regulating and managing yourself can be nearly impossible! When faced with prioritizing your own tasks, commitments, and responsibilities, it can become a game of negotiation that only you are going to lose if you fail to plan accordingly.

Creating goals, project plans, and schedules can be important for creating an infrastructure to support your own undertakings. However, unexpected events and life happen and can easily derail even the best laid plans, defeating any attempts at self-regulation and management. The effort, motivation, commitment, and availability of resources all contributes to your ability to succeed and your ability to recover from unexpected events can make or break your success, regardless of other factors.

Communication can be critical for overcoming barriers and hurdles, if you have a team to support your project and efforts. For the solo or individual worker without a backup system, communication can be pointless if all you can present are excuses for delay and failure. Setting the expectations of others is required for independent work but communication can be its own form of demotivation in certain circumstances.

Final Stretch…

There are several tasks that still need to be completed in my course before an official implementation and evaluation process can happen. The content is all in place and the job aid has been completed for review, so now it’s time for review by a group of medical providers and staff for content clarity and user friendliness. Since this course will be used by medical staff, it’s important to have the providers give approval to the course before it is provided to patients and caregivers.

I have taught the content in a live, face-to-face environment at this point to ensure the validity of messaging and order/structure of content. That course implementation went well; it’s now time to see if the transition to an online format is substantiated.

Since the course will be self-paced and on-demand, the implementation and evaluation process could easily take 3-6 months to complete. I will need at least 10 people to complete the course to determine the “average” opinion and not make changes based on just 1 or 2 individuals. Getting at least 10 patients/caregivers to complete a self-paced, 40-hour program can be a challenge, we are planning on a Summer/Fall implementation and review period.

I am pleased that the content was developed in the scope of this course and the initial response to the work has been good (the content and videos were very well received in the face-to-face courses) and the initial opinion of the online structure and preliminary stages received marked interest during a recent presentation of upcoming projects.

Initial Development Timeline

Due to several other projects and personal issues, I have completely strayed from the timeline for this project. While the technology and content are sound, the development has moved at a snail’s pace for the previous six weeks.

I have made several adjustments to the course to accommodate the technology and content changes I encountered when creating the final product. Activities that worked well in a face-to-face classroom did not transition successfully into online tasks and required redesign to make the instructions useful and practical for learners.

One of my major challenges is the amount of time for the project. I typically start a professional project and finish within a 2-3 week time frame before moving into a live beta test for review/implementation, so the length of this course created a false sense of ample time in my mind that, in turn, led me to procrastinate and prioritize other projects in front of this course. Also, I did not account for the time required to participate in peer reviews of the course for the “beta test” phase before client implementation.

In future projects, I will be more realistic with timelines and focus on a single-project-at-time mentality since that works best for my personal challenges and work style. My strengths are creativity under pressure, so I will try to utilize that as an asset rather than an enforced task due to looming deadlines.

Scholarly Writing

Scholarly, or academic, writing is the format used by academics rather than the general public (newspapers, magazines, novels, etc.). According to Gocsik (2004), there are three concepts that define the basics of scholarly writing:

  • Academic writing is done by scholars for other scholars
  • Academic writing is devoted to topics that are of interest to the academic community
  • Scholarly writing should present the reader with an informed argument

While general writings may infuse opinions, fiction, fantasy, sensationalism, and first-person perspectives, scholarly writing is intended to be realistic, useful, and further the knowledge of a certain topic or field in a third-person overview. This certainly doesn’t mean that scholarly writing has to be dry and boring with pompous language and excessively long, drawn-out arguments. It does mean, however, that the contents of the writing have to be researched, supported, and presented clearly and logically.

So, to demonstrate, remember that “I enjoy writing stories for fan-fiction websites” is perfectly acceptable for the general public but “a large number of individuals participate in online publications through the use of fan-fiction websites and other media outlets” is the appropriate structure for a scholarly paper.

References

Gocsik, K. (2004). What is a scholarly paper. Dartmouth College. Retrieved from http://www.gonzaga.edu/Academics/Colleges-and-Schools/School-of-Professional-Studies/Degrees-Programs/PhD-Studies/New-Website-Uploads/Docs/WhatIsAScholarlyPaper.pdf

CECS 5210 Project A Reflections

CECS 5210 Project A was quite an experience! Analyzing, designing, and developing this project from start to finish was a challenge and very rewarding. I’m proud, overall, of the work we did on this project and the final design document and job aids that were created. The resource and design will provide for a solid training event for the foreseeable future and can be utilized in many different areas.

The project went quite well and the client was very appreciative of the work. What worked best in this project was listening closely to the client about their previous experiences, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of their previous attempts at this type of training, and using that information to identify several key technology gaps that had been overlooked in the past. I can’t state strongly enough the advantages of a strong audience and needs analysis prior to the design/development of any project.

The weakest part of this project was in the implementation. Several key components in the training session were overlooked during the setup for the training event. A few “implied” areas for work were overlooked by both the client and the instructor; as a result, the instructional design document was revised and strengthened to help in future implementations. The oversights can be attributed to miscommunication, not enough information in the design document, and not considering the impact that the previous technology gaps would have on current efforts when creating new technology-based training exercises.

For Project B, I will definitely make a more concentrated effort to spell out every requirement and provide much more detail in the instructor’s job aid!

Career Goals & Growth

As life has changed over the last two years, so have my career goals! Yet, as I review my statements from one of our first classes, so many areas still align closely with the intent behind the original goals.

In 2013, my focus and goals were aligned with business needs: the needs of the organization I worked for, the needs of the clients I worked with daily, and the need to establish greater credibility for myself in order to anchor the credibility of the organization.

In 2015, my focus and goals are about my needs and how my actions can benefit others, whether those others are rooted in a business or are individuals involved in other projects.

The four goals I established at the beginning of this program were

  • Establish a deeper understanding of learning technology
  • Research the relationship between technology usage and performance
  • Apply research to current business performance in mental health software testing
  • Leverage results to further research in mental health populations and learning styles

My goals today have built upon the initial ones in many ways.

  • Increase performance of individuals and organizations through effective use of technology
  • Increase public awareness regarding mental health conditions through educational programs
  • Create more fluid, on-demand learning opportunities for medical and layperson populations that support individuals affected by mental health conditions
  • Demonstrate the economic benefits of addressing previously underserved populations

After learning more about technology and how it can provide accommodations and opportunities for so many underserved areas, it created and cemented my belief that technology can be a bridge between emotions and actions. From learning about the purpose of boundary devices to encourage participation in unfamiliar events to how technology removes stigma and barriers to disclosure of private information, this program has shown me that there are many opportunities to utilize technology to create learning opportunities for individuals affected by and involved with previously neglected areas.