8 Pros and Cons of Job-Hopping

job-hopping Job-hopping. Should you do it or not? To answer, let’s look at a situation.

You’ve landed what you think is an awesome position with a company that seems to be on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. You show up on your first day of work primed to shine and soak up as much knowledge as humanly possible so you can climb the rudders of that career ladder like nobody’s business.

Flash forward in time.

As your first month on the job comes to a close, and the next few months of your career begin to dawn before you, your vibrancy fades because the position and your colleagues are not at all what you expected. Your gut tells you to quit and find something better. Enter the job-hopping dilemma.

What if this isn’t the first time this happened to you? What if this happened several times? Do you continue to quit and find more appropriate work that will keep you energized and fulfilled or do you stick it out and hope for a miracle?

How does job-hopping look to potential employers? What hurts more: to stay, or to seek the right fit?

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of job-hopping.

PROS of Job-Hopping

Self-discovery offers a chance to find the right fit.

You’ve got one life to live and put forth great efforts that can yield great results. If you free yourself to discover the right environment for you, one day you may find it. If you never try to find it, you won’t.

You’ll develop targeted skills.

Inevitably, by exploring various work environments, you’ll learn new skill sets that can be transferred to different situations. Your range of experience will grow, and you’ll place yourself in a unique position to see the work world through a wider lens. Ultimately, you’ll have more to bring to a future employer’s table.

Access to more information and resources.

The more experiences you gain, the more you’ll grow. Placing yourself in the seat of learning and acquiring news skills grants you access to a lot of information that can be applied across various mediums.

Exposure to different businesses and people.

Shifting your environment keeps you fresh, socially and professionally. You’ll meet new people and potentially develop the necessary communication and interpersonal skills to be successful in a business environment.  You’ll gain new perspectives, good and bad, from those with whom you work. You’ll also grow your network and pool of people to contact for specific information in the future.

CONS of Job-Hopping

An employer might view job-hopping as irresponsible.

You run the risk of missed opportunities with potential employers because they may form a negative opinion without ever having a chance to speak with you or see your great potential.

Your skills might be in question.

Employers may view frequent job-hopping as a weakness when it comes to your skills. They may question your ability to get along with others, understand direction, or grasp critical concepts.

Employers will be hesitant to invest in you.

The process of hiring an employee is laborious, especially in large corporations where entire committees are formed to decide on filling a position. Job-hopping may be one of those red flags that employers will automatically apply to a candidate’s resume as a way of cutting the pile down to a manageable pool of applicants.

Employers may not trust your level of commitment.

One too many jobs within a short period may spell trouble to potential employers, eliciting a fear that if they hire you, you may run at the first sign of trouble. They may question if you leave positions rapidly because of an inability to manage stress and outcomes.

Solutions:

Don’t quit right away.

Stay on the job until you find a better fit.

Volunteer

Volunteer in between employment gaps to show you are focused and professional.  Volunteering will allow you to build a reputation of being reliable, committed, motivated and willing. Many of the shadows of doubt employers may experience when analyzing job hopping on a resume can be put to rest if volunteerism outshines in the areas that really matter to them. Chances are, you will be applying to positions that interest you and where your skills – earned by volunteering your time and energy — directly match their needs.

Ultimately, the decision you make today will affect your future. By weighing the pros and cons, you’ll be in a better position to decide what is best for you future.

Your Turn:

Have you had to evaluate the pros and cons of job hopping, and how did it turn out for you?

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now.

The Top Reasons Trainers and Faculty Don’t Like eLearning

eLearning can be intimidating to many because it requires us to adapt and change to a new way of teaching and learning.

Change is tough. We want progress, but not change.

eLearningeLearning requires us to change.

Change often arrives before growth.  While eLearning may be regarded as a positive change, others may dispute that. What is not in dispute is the growth of eLearning.  The Sloan Consortium has reported that over 7.1 million college students took an eLearning class in 2013.  The Association for Talent Development (formerly American Society for Training and Development) indicates that 39% of the all training for employee in 2013 was technology-based delivery.

While the growth of eLearning presents opportunities for some people, it presents many challenges for others.  Most of these challenges center around the concept of change.  As noted by Harvard business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, people resist change for a number of reasons.  I have encountered a number of faculty members and trainers that simply hate eLearning.  I believe that most of the issues relate to change.

Why do some learning professionals really dislike eLearning? Here are the top reasons why:

eLearning Is More Work for Me
This may be true, especially at first. It takes time to learn anything.   What many trainers and faculty members realize is that eLearning makes you rethink your whole approach to teaching and learning.  You simply can’t lecture.  Effective eLearning means that you have to redesign your course.  Additionally, it may mean that you will need to learn some new technology tools.

I Might Look Incompetent
Yes, this may be true as well.  Remember the first time you tried to ride a bike?  You probably weren’t very successful.  Now you ride a bike without even thinking about it.  I remember teaching my first online course. It certainly wasn’t the best course I’ve ever taught. What I realized was that investing the time in learning online teaching skills was worth it.

The Quality of eLearning is Poor
There are some bad courses out there.  This includes both eLearning courses, as well as in-person courses.  To generalize that the quality of eLearning is inferior is a false assumption.  Usually when I hear this argument it really is a diversionary tactic.  The real issue is that some people fear they would not be good online teachers.  The “poor quality argument” is an attempt to throw people off track, rather than addressing their real issues.

My Job May Be Threatened
Some faculty and/or trainers feel that they may lose their job if they have to teach or train online.  I think it is rare that organizations force someone to teach online in a “sink or swim” situation. Most organizations offer training and opportunities for trainers/faculty to shadow some classes.  Additionally, they can co-teach with an experienced faculty member before they teach an online class solo.

Technology is Not for Me
This is a legitimate concern. eLearning relies on technology.  Online learning is not for every teacher/trainer, nor is it for every student.  Some people who say this have not given eLearning an honest attempt, or they didn’t receive proper training.  It is amazing that when technology benefits an employee, they can learn it pretty quickly (e.g. telecommuting).  Since minimum levels of technology skills are now required by many employers, I don’t think that it is unreasonable for organizations to ask trainers or faculty to teach online.

eLearning is not going away anytime soon.  Learning professionals can choose to accept it or reject it. Given the growth of eLearning, I believe the wise choice is to embrace it.  Choosing otherwise will limit your career opportunities.

So what will you choose?

The Instructional Design Mold to Autism Training

This week’s blog entry, The Instructional Design Mold to Autism Training, was written by Vijayshree Rautela

autismThe instructional design formula, when correctly implemented, can make training for any type of target audience effective. It lays down a clear path for the instructional designer to follow right from analyzing and identifying the training need, determining what makes the audience learn best to implementing  training, and evaluating its effectiveness.

Autism and Instructional Design

My recent calling to create training for special needs children made me realize how true this really is. The focus for me has been on creating training solutions for autistic children. And I found there couldn’t be a better target audience to test the effectiveness of instructional design. What’s more it’s a perfect match – the defined structure and all the carefully outlined details and consistency in approach are some of integral elements in creating effective training for autistic children.  Here’s an audience that functions best in structure, order, and consistency. If you love to get into the psychology of your target audience and analyze what make them tick and learn, this could be a fun and self-fulfilling project.

Training for Autism

As an ‘ADDIE’ Instructional Designer, here’s how I see it working for training autistic children:

autism

autism autism3 autism4 autism5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After ADDIE, let’s look at the learner types.

It’s interesting to note that based on the learner type, the same content can be molded into different training types.

If it’s a visual learner, training could focus on visual strategies. It’s observed that visual thinking is more prominent in autistic individuals. So pictures with words and phrases describing an action or alphabet would be effective.For example, the letter A could be denoted with the picture of an apple with the alphabet printed alongside it.

For auditory learners, content could have learning strategies that are more audio-based. For example, some children may respond better if sentences, phrases, or words are sung to them. In case of kinesthetic learners, there could be more activities utilizing hands where learners get to touch and understand the objects – classroom training activities where the letters are actual plastic objects that the children can and touch and feel them to understand them.

Most autistic children have issues with motor control. If it’s online training, then using the mouse could be a problem. Touch screen commands would be more effective in this case. In fact it could be an engaging activity for learners if instructions are standardized graphics that they can consistently relate to, example: continue, back, click, select etc.

There’s usually a challenging skill or two to teach a target audience. For autistic children it is mostly social interaction. Autistic individuals are usually not social by nature and maintaining eye contact for them is a challenge. I’ve observed that autistic individuals enjoy watching shows, movies, and videos and absorbing information from them.

An interactive online training could be effective with engaging video demonstrations on social interactions that are identified as challenges for the child. The videos can be humorous, showing the “don’ts” in contrast to the “dos”. Mostly autistic children/individuals do well in learning from videos/movies that have close captioning – helps them watch and read simultaneously.

A blended learning solution could also be effective to target social interaction skills. After viewing videos and demonstrations online, there could be classroom interaction sessions where the learners get an opportunity to implement the same.

It’s important to keep in mind the behavioral issues and list of things that distract or frustrate the learners identified in the analysis stage. A group of support crew is very important to be present at this stage.

And who doesn’t love choices? When in a classroom set up, if met with opposition to perform a certain task, the strategy to offer choices that have the same learning result could work. This helps in identifying what the learner prefers to do and is also motivational.

Today there are various apps that are available to help engage and train children with autism. However, if it’s a training customized and tailor made to specific learner types and based on instructional design principles, it has better chances of effectiveness. There’s more work, but at the end of it, there sure is more fulfillment than for any other target audience to see your training solution work!

A special thanks to Vijayshree Rautela for sharing this important post on autism and instructional design with us.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISDNow

eLearning – What I Wish They Told Me…

eLearningWith eLearning being so popular now, many trainers and college faculty are learning to teach their first online class. Read on and hear from Dr. Greg Williams, UMBC ISD Program Director.

eLearning Resources Abound!

Today a number of great resources are available to beginning online teachers. These eLearning resources range from blogs and websites dedicated to this to entire books on the subject. Additionally, there are numerous great courses now that help you learn how to teach online. I taught my first online graduate level course over ten years ago. eLearning resources were not as plentiful as they are now. I was given a syllabus and an empty course shell in Blackboard. I think someone wished me good luck. That was about it.

Looking back, there are a number of things that I wish someone told me before I taught my first online class.

8 eLearning Things I Wish I Learned Ahead of Time:

Know Your Students – It is important that you get to know your eLearning students (and their motivations). For example, do they need your course to graduate this semester? Are they working three jobs and taking care of kids? Are students taking your course because they love the topic? Or did they register because all their other class choices were filled? Have they taken online classes before? Beware the students taking your class because they think that online classes are “easier”.

Be Deliberate About Communication – Have a plan about how and when you communicate with your eLearning students. For example, I tell my students to expect a response from me in 24-48 hours when they post a question or send me a direct email. Don’t leave them guessing. Over the years I have received numerous VERY long emails from students. They have dozens of questions and concerns about their performance in the course. Rather than respond via email, I usually ask them to talk on the phone with me. It gets to the point quicker and helps to deal with any issues directly. Additionally, it may be a good idea to have an eLearning course FAQ.

All Students Will Not Read the Syllabus – As teachers we are very proud of our course syllabi. Be prepared that a number of students will not read it. How do you deal with this? You can structure an assignment that forces them to read the syllabus (scavenger hunt). Or you can award bonus points if students can answer questions about your syllabus. Remember that the syllabus is the contractual document between the students and the college. When there are issues over grades, the courts always refer back to the syllabus.

Technology Will Fail You and Your Students – No matter what you do, technology will not work at times for you and your eLearning students. Murphy’s law mandates that this failure will happen at the worst possible moment. Encourage (require?) your students to have access to a backup computer. Additionally, have them save everything in MS Word first before they post it. It’s also a good idea to have them save files online using tools such as Google Drive and others. This will minimize issues such as “my hard drive died and my assignment is gone”.

Check Your Course Every Day – I originally thought that checking my eLearning course every few days would be more than enough. Wrong! What I discovered was that it makes much more sense to check in online every day, even if it is only for 20 minutes or so. Students constantly want feedback in a timely matter. Additionally, questions may pop up that are time sensitive and need to be addressed quickly.

eLearning2Simple Is Good – My original eLearning course design was much more complicated than it is now. I used to think that “more was better”.  What I discovered over the years was that I sometimes confused students by giving them too much information. They didn’t know what to do or where to go on the course site. Now I’ve really scaled my course design back. The lesson I learned was “it’s not about the technology”.

Students Know How to Take An Online Course – Even though the first online course I taught was in 2004, I really thought that students knew how to take an online course.  Boy, was I wrong! Taking a course online is a completely different experience than taking a face-to-face course. What I’ve learned is that just because I have a lot of experience teaching and taking online courses, it doesn’t mean that my students do. We sometimes forget that everybody does not use a computer every day.

Students Will “Disappear” – I was surprised to learn that a handful of students simply “disappeared” from my course. What I discovered was students simply stopped showing up or stopped participating in the class. Even worse, they never even told me why. I had to seek them out myself. What I found out was they had work issues, personal issues, medical issues, etc. Some stopped participating just because learning online wasn’t for them.

eLearning is Not for Everyone

Over the years, I’ve learned that online courses are not for every student, nor are they for every instructor. As an instructor, it is helpful to keep an open mind and realize that you can always learn and get better. Ten years from now, who knows what I’ll write about this topic.

For more info, check out my video on this topic.

Always in Learning Mode,
Your friends at ISDNow

Effective E-Learning: Graphics

Research had shown that graphics, be it line drawings, charts, and photographs and motion graphics such as animation and video, can improve learning when effectively used in an e-learning environment.

graphics

What is Effective Use of Graphics?

In this case, an effective use of graphics refer to those that are related to the material presented. Dr. Ruth Clark presented the findings of research conducted by Richard Mayer and his colleagues at the University of California at Santa Barbara in her article Six Principles of Effective E-Learning – What Works and Why published by Learning Solutions Magazine.

Research on the Use of Graphics

In his research, Mayer compared learning about various mechanical and scientific processes from lessons that used words alone or used words and graphics. In the majority of the cases in this research, he concluded that test subjects improved their understanding when pictures were included. On the flip side, the research indicated that unrelated graphics can actually depress learning. Clark further explained in her article that “while graphics can boost learning, it will be important to select the kind of graphic that is congruent with the text and with the learning goal. Graphics that are irrelevant or gratuitous actually depress learning. Consider selecting your graphics based on the type of content you are teaching.”

Learn More about Graphics and Effective E-learning

Read more about this multimedia principle of adding graphics to words to improve learning, as well as about the five other principles presented: contiguity principle, modality principle, redundancy principle, coherence principle, and personalization principle. Share your experiences with the use of graphics in e-learning in the comment section below.

Always in learning mode,

Your friends at ISD Now

www.umbc.edu/isd

Unlearning to Learn More

Unlearning is just as important, and some would argue, even more important, than learning.

What is unlearning?

Unlearning happens when one comes face-to-face with a new idea, concept or thought that contradicts what has been learned previously.  The world is constantly moving, changing, and shifting. If we don’t acknowledge this, we threaten our very survival, be it professionally or personally, in this ever-changing landscape.

unlearning

New ideas have always been a catalyst to growth and development, be it in a classroom, in a business setting, or in a relationship.  These new ideas are constantly replacing old ones. What we spent years learning, may no longer be applicable today or in the future.

Learn to Unlearn

How does one not drown in the sea of knowledge when it is constantly being saturated by newer concepts that replace old ones? The answer is quite simple. We need to learn to unlearn.

What Does it Mean to Unlearn?

Our minds are being filled with a constant flow of information. If we don’t stop and empty some of it out, we won’t have room for anything new to enter. To stay fresh, vital and on top of the game, we need to make room for new knowledge because the world is ever changing.

Benefits of Unlearning:

  • Release old ideas
  • Let go of old habits
  • Make room for new information

Why Should We Unlearn?

As ISD professionals, it’s critical that we understand the need for unlearning because technology is always changing, and what served us once, may not serve us today or tomorrow.

Unlearning Allows Us: 

  • To grow
  • To allow new ideas to take up root
  • To gain new perspectives
  • To adapt to the changing environment
  • To remove barriers that limit our potential

In her blog, Taruna Goel introduced this excerpt from a paper titled ‘Lifelong Unlearning’ written by Trevor Pateman: “In our cognitive lives our memories – what we know – is often an obstacle to engaging with the world around us. It is a commonplace that what we see is often influenced by what we think there is to see, and if that is true, then that might be taken as an argument for thinking less and with less conviction. We should carry our knowledge lightly, and always be ready to let go of it.”

Check out this video by Author Jack Uldrich on Unlearning Possibilities:

Have you had to unlearn something recently?

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
www.umbc.edu/isd

The Emotional Impact of Schematic Faces

Many might agree, schematic faces, or emoticons, have a way of sweeping into our minds and filling us with joy, sadness, anger, and many other emotions. How amazing is it that a simple line drawing can affect us on such an emotional level?

schematic faces

The Power in Schematic Faces

Smiley faces can make us laugh, giggle, and smile back. These smiley schematic faces can soften a sentence, add humor to a serious discussion, and offer a friendly tone.

Expressions in Schematic Faces

As human beings, we pay attention to faces. We connect to them. We interpret vast amounts of information in seconds just from laying our eyes on them. Our basic survival depends on our ability to interpret and digest non-verbal cues from a person’s facial expression.

Findings on Schematic Faces

Connie Malamed, a consultant, author and speaker in the fields of visual design, online learning and information design, wrote an article on this subject titled, The Visual Language of Schematic Faces. In this article, she discussed the idea of Facial Codes. Malamed explained, “The conveyance of facial expressions are uncannily reflected in schematic faces. This is probably due to our competence at reading and interpreting what is known as the facial code, which many believe is universal to all people in all cultures.”

In her article, Malamed references research conducted by Paul Ekman, one of the most well-known researchers in this field, and his findings on prototypical facial codes that express six distinct primary emotions, joy, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, and anger.

Importance of Schematic Faces on ISD Professionals

Our faces hold great communication power, and even in simple line form, human emotions can be expressed clearly and concisely. As users of technology and imagery, this wonderful ability of the human brain to interpret data from schematic faces can have far-reaching benefits by ways of helping to improve the way we communicate visually, and how this communication is then absorbed in a profound level.

Do you make use of schematic faces in your ISD work?

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

www.umbc.edu/isd

E-learning Video 101

An e-learning video can be an instructional designer’s best friend. Producing a quality e-learning video can be relatively easy. It’s readily available to a wide audience. It demonstrates skills in real time fashion. And it has an evergreen shelf life.

How to Make an E-learning Video Stand Out

Start with the end in mind. What is your goal? What do you want learners to walk away with after participating in your e-learning video? Once you understand your goal, it’s time to design using key concepts to bring out your information in a logical, organized, and visually appealing manner, a manner that will tap into your learner’s senses.

e-learning video

Tap Into the Senses with an E-learning Video

To tap into the senses, an e-learning video must engage, must stimulate, and must create a desire in the learner’s mind to understand the information you’re presenting. For this to happen, an e-learning video should be produced with a few elements in mind.

Elements of an Effective E-learning Video

Panopto Blog wrote an interesting article on Five Tips for Making a Better E-Learning Video. They shared several key concepts to help keep learners engaged. They recommended the following for e-learning videos:

  • Keep learners engaged
  • Provide learners with an environment that is interactive
  • Visually appeal to a learner’s senses through variety in color, content, and imagery
  • Demonstrate key concepts by showing instead of just telling
  • Deliver accessibility across multiple platforms
  • Offer captioning for those who are hearing impaired

Do you have tips and tricks on how to create an effective e-learning video? We’d love to hear them. Please share them in the comments below.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
www.umbc.edu/isd

An Experiment on Human Behavior

As Instructional Designers, it’s important to present information in a way that effectively communicates an idea, while at the same time eliciting behavior that creates momentum in applying it.

Human Behavior Examined

Can physically experiencing something cause us to act in a different way had we not experienced it?

human-behaviorIf you simply read about what it felt like to be in a car accident at high velocity speeds, would that be a strong enough deterrent for you to stop speeding? What about if you actually felt the physical pain of being in that kind of car accident? Would you be less likely to press your foot harder against that gas pedal?

A Study on Human Behavior

According to one study conducted at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, yes you might be. The Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford conducted an interesting study on human behavior, and the effect a visceral experience has on our actions.

Julie Dirksen summed up the study and its findings in an article she wrote for Learning Solutions Magazine titled, Research for Practitioners: When It’s Not a Knowledge Problem. The study looked at the result of learning about the negative impact on deforestation of using non-recycled paper goods. It examined two groups, one experiencing the physical feelings of cutting down trees in a virtual lab setting, and the other read a vivid account of the physical act of cutting down trees.

The Findings on Human Behavior

The findings were that visceral experiences did change behavior. Dirksen admitted up front that we should be careful in making generalizations based on this one study, but it is nonetheless still interesting to see how experiencing something physically may impact our actions.

Conclusions on Human Behavior

The study concluded two significant considerations:

  • Attitude is not necessarily a predictor of behavior.
  • Active, visceral experiences may influence behavior change.

Human Behavior and Instructional Design

This study on human behavior can be an important one for instructional designers to examine because it may help fill your instructional design toolbox with more effective approaches to generating the kind of action you want your students to take.

Read more about this study.

Tell us your thoughts on this study on human behavior in the comment box below.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

The ID Guru – Connie Malamed’s New App

Connie Malamed recently came out with an app, The ID Guru. Josie Whitmore So, a graduate student in UMBC’s Instructional Systems Development program, recently reviewed the app. Read her review below:

I encounter a baffling amount of ISD jargon in my day-to-day life. It’s in my books, on the discussion boards, and even in my personal life (my husband and my best friend are both Instructional Designers).

As a student with little prior experience with ISD, I’m often caught in the uncomfortable position of having to pause what I’m doing to find the right resource to define these terms and concepts. By the time I’ve paged through a few books or gone down the rabbit hole of the internet, I’ve lost my train of thought.

Luckily, I stumbled upon Connie Malamed’s new app, the ID guru, while exploring her blog, the eLearning Coach.

id-guruAvailable for both iPhone and Android phones, this app is simple, with no bells or whistles to complicate a quick, inconspicuous search. Currently, The ID Guru defines more than 470 key terms drawn from the fields of instructional design, cognitive psychology, social media, multimedia, technology and law.

Here are some other great features:

  • Want to look up a term quickly? Tap the search icon and enter the term or search alphabetically.
  • Have some time to kill and want to explore? Browse for terms by categories (Cognitive Psychology, Instructional Design, Learning Theory, Legal, Multimedia, Social Media and Technical) or simply thumb through the list.
  • Many of the terms are hyperlinked to each other which makes exploring the relationships between concepts effortless.
  • As a novice, my favorite part of the app is the little light bulb icon that shows up under a number of the definitions. This icon identifies tips from Malamed herself, so you aren’t just getting an easy to use list of terms, you’re also getting the wisdom of someone who has practiced in the field for more than 20 years.

I would love to see the next generation of this app take The ID Guru from a simple tool to a more engaging learning instrument with infographics, links to podcasts, and more insider tips. For right now, though, I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth. $2.99 is a small price to pay when it comes to feeling competent at school and with my peers. For more info on her app, visit the eLearning Coach.

Always in Learning Mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
PS Have you tried the ID GURU? Share your experience by commenting below!