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GALLUP StrengthsFinder & ID

For today's post I wanted to focus on another training I went to last week featuring my Gallup CliftonStrength's report. Here at Purdue, all incoming freshmen have access (and are encouraged) to take the StrengthsFinder assessement.

"The StrengthsFinder assessment, based on the concept of intentionally developing your strengths rather than your weaknesses, identifies students’ top five strengths from a list of 34 talents. The myStrengths portal provides resources for exploring your top 5 strengths and how to leverage your strengths to overcome challenges and reach your own personal, academic, and career goals," as taken from Purdue's website.

Some of you may be thinking, great - what does this have to do with being an IDer? While there may not be a direct link between instructional design and the StrengthsFinder assessment, I see an opportunity to evaluate myself based on this report and what I bring to the table as an instructional designer. A print out of my report is below:

I wanted to focus on my top three this week.

#1 Learner

"People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them" (Gallup, 2012).

Obviously, as an instructional designer one wants to be learning the newest techniques and technologies that are out there. In addition, I find myself looking at basic learning theories and how to apply them into my course and other designs. This strength did not surprise me as I often find myself divulged in projects where I am testing myself and learning new ideas, thoughts, and processes along the way.

#2 Arranger

"People who are especially talented in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity" (Gallup, 2012).

I actually love this about me. I've held positions in the past (my ID position included) where there are big puzzle pieces that need to be moved around in order to solve the problem. I feel this is especially important when you are in an ID role. Why? I think some IDers want to utilize all of the technologies and ideas that are out there and implement them in their designs. I disagree with this. Although a technology is out there, it does not necessarily meet the needs of the audience. One needs to carefully select the *best* methods and apply them. Not just using technologies for the sake of using them...

#3 Context

"People who are especially talented in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history" (Gallup, 2012).

Here's where I got thrown for a loop. As I read the description, I found myself questioning my ability to be a great IDer. Why? How can an instructional designer be great without being innovative? After I read more of the description, I found comfort in knowing ranking high in the Context theme is a great thing. "Driven by your talents, you might ask lots of questions when you are meeting someone for the first time. Your curiosity and interest in someone's past occasional helps you put your relationship with the person into a framework that makes sense" (Gallup, 2012). As I read this line, it all made sense. When I meet with SMEs, my meetings are long, intensive, and I ask a lot (I mean A LOT) of questions. Knowing their past and their viewpoints (what's important to them) helps me determine the best route when designing pieces of instruction for them.


My biggest takeaway from this training was to focus on what I'm good at - my strengths. Not to focus on what I'm weak at. Not because I can't improve my weaknesses, but because I can move forward more easily knowing what works for me. This training helped me determine the best methods for me so that I can recognize that others may work differently, and how we together as a team can work moving forward.

I highly recommend others taking a look at the Gallup's StrengthsFinder assessement and figuring out what type of person you are!


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