Stocking the ID Skill Pantry

Sitting here wrapping up the year and enjoying a delicious creation Robyn whipped up in a real kitchen, our conversation turns to various epicurean experiences we have tried. We discuss how this has given us new additions to our pantry staples and reflect on a few flavors and ingredients that we discovered we liked. Much like our spice rack’s addition of white pepper and sumac, our core instructional design skills have advanced and expanded. For both of us, this has been a good year in re-self-discovery of our assets and what makes us strong, dynamic instructional designers (IDs). In turn, this has given us pause to re-consider where we want to be with our capabilities and how we want to use them going forward in our careers. This led to us auditing our assets, providing us a better idea of how to position ourselves for professional growth.

This was a valuable exercise given our industry is in a state of current growth and we both acknowledge there will be many opportunities for instructional designers/technologists (ID/IT) to move about career-wise. Given the continuing bleak outlook on the economy, the advancements of technology for delivering and creating training, and the demands placed upon a worker, training must occur and be provided to a rapidly advancing market of just-in-time and on-the-go.

By creating engaging and effective training, it creates not only job possibilities, but infinite possibilities to make a difference. The need for this training will create ripples of action towards more proficient and efficient strategies from the development backbone of the training development industry. These needs should be audited and evaluated for being able to meet clients’ demands. Obviously, this requires application of instructional design principles paired with appropriate instructional technologies that can perform to those demands.

For example, more and more internal training departments are examining how to globalize and streamline processes and tighten budgets, while still providing turn-key training in a direct expeditious manner for learners. Additionally, they partner with key stakeholders to audit their organization to generate goals and to ensure they are prepared and equipped to meet the needs of the business.

Likewise, instructional design firms have been performing research and mastering new technologies to determine how to advance and refine their services for their clients. The vendor may enhance assistance through the technology they use, the talent they procure, or by the processes they develop for project procurement, initiation, creation, and implementation.

With these organization-based examinations for performance and service improvement, it is also beneficial to the individual ID to take stock of his or her pantry of instructional design skills. How are we keeping our skills aligned to the demands of those we serve? Do we take stock of our proficiencies as we maintain our current position? Have we audited ourselves for the commodities we have for promotions, career advancement, or a job change?

In summary, a skills audit, whether global to the organization, a department, or to an individual ID, provides comprehension of needs and deficiencies. It also provides support for strategic and operational improvement. With trends in all industries moving towards more efficient performance of employees and processes this exercise will prove invaluable. In our next posts we will discuss approaches and methods for taking stock of our pantry of ID skills for prioritizing, planning, and cultivating our professional growth.