The One Thing Every Instructional Designer Must Do
One of the best pieces of advice I received in regards to my instructional design career was to never be afraid of hard numbers, and to go one step further – talk about your accomplishments in hard numbers. For one reason or another, many instructional designers shy away from communicating statistics when speaking about their experience in interviews or on their resume; or perhaps we just forget about them. Either way we are doing a disservice to our value.
We live in a world where statistical facts rule the day. Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy of USA Today newspaper (or any newspaper), and I guarantee that the front page has some sort of graph, chart, or statistic. People love this kind of thing because it’s easy to understand and conceptualize. It also provides a digestible summary of the topic at hand. In a world of information overload, quick facts and stats are memorable.
Why then, do most IDs put stuff like “created Articulate and Captivate template for elearning implementation” on their resumes? Albeit true and valuable, this doesn’t convey anything. Even putting something like, “Created eight courses on workplace safety delivered to a corporate-wide audience” isn’t that much better. It lacks “sticking” power. There is no “wow” factor.
Granted, in order to include stats regarding the learning you create, you need to make an effort to capture them. If you aren’t, then you are doing yourself (and your client/organization) a disservice. You can easily leverage these as real, tangible results from your training. And seeing as how making the case for training tends to be an uphill battle in most organizations, including stats will go a long way. Be it on your resume, or in conversation, you should share something like:
- Created 325 hours of elearning training delivered to 11,000 users over three months
- International elearning implementation where I created 175 hours of training to 4,000 users, resulting in a satisfaction score of 4.6 out of a possible 5
- Created and delivered 55 hours of systems training for 250 employees resulting in 12% increased productivity over four months
Each one of these demonstrates real value to the organization. It takes the focus off of you as the instructional designer and puts it on the results you obtain (that’s all any real organization wants anyhow: results). If you do contract work in ID, then you need this kind of thing to stick out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid of numbers. They carry a degree of accountability, and they will help you land more work.