So, what is it that you do again?

  • August 06, 2016 3:07 PM
    Message # 4176353
    As an instructional designer (or eLearning developer), I know it's difficult for people to understand my role. At my organization, our new hires take a tour of our corporate campus on the second day of on-boarding. When they arrive within HR, the department is encouraged to greet the newbies.

    So as I meander out of my office, I introduce myself, and I quickly attempt to explain what I do. I always start with, "I'm the bank's Instructional Designer. No, I don't design rooms like an interior designer. Instead, I put together training materials and put together learning experiences for our associates." This is to keep it simple. I usually end with a spiel on the learning opportunities available to them now that they are part of the org. 

    Forget about "performance improvement" or discussing the importance of analysis/assessment to determine the best solution(s) for a problem. Add the phrase performance improvement into the mix and people are almost certain to checkout (especially if they didn't already).  

    In response to this common issue within our profession, Kery Mortenson referenced the following simple two page illustrated summary for performance improvement. I thought it did a great job of honing in on the basics, but is this document enough?   

    I started wondering how we can help solve this problem for our profession, ISPI, and our children/parents to understand what we do. 


    • How can we explain who we are what our roles are better? 
    • Can we create something similar to the PDF shared here to enhance our elevator pitch? 
    • Would an explainer video be beneficial for ISPI? 
    • What are your thoughts?
    Last modified: August 06, 2016 3:21 PM | Anonymous
  • August 18, 2016 5:31 PM
    Reply # 4199764 on 4176353
    Ann Battenfield (Administrator)

    I have to check here more often!  Great questions, Dan, and I hope many others respond to you.

    I often say something to the effect that, "I help my organization solve problems related to people, processes, information, and resources. For example, when a new system needs to be implemented, I help identify everything that is going to be affected - from processes that need to change to training that needs to be created - as well as identify how to resolve all the related issues." 

  • September 13, 2016 11:00 AM
    Reply # 4247540 on 4176353
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    People usually start zoning out on me to if I use the word analysis.  I like Ann's description for the performance improvement profession.  For instructional design specifically what about telling them "I'm here to help you perform well by creating development activities that take your attributes and those of the job into consideration"?

    Anne - I'm going to do a better job of keeping up with the posts too!

    Thanks Dan!

  • September 13, 2016 7:15 PM
    Reply # 4248429 on 4176353
    Ann Battenfield (Administrator)

    Dan Johnson hopefully will join this conversation - he's working on this for us. I'd love to hear his thoughts. I'll email him to let him know we're talking about it.

  • September 15, 2016 2:35 PM
    Reply # 4252235 on 4176353

    I'm a big believer in simplicity and that "less is more."  When asked what I do, I'll say that I help clients close the gap in workplace or leadership performance -- the gap between the current and the desired level of performance for an employee, team, or leader.  Beyond that, if they show interest, I show them a one-page chart that illustrates the 80/20 rule (80% of performance gaps are external to the learner and do not lend themselves to "training").  I find that a single, clearly constructed chart does the trick.  I adapted my chart from the Wile model contained in this article (see Figure 7 in the article).

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