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Misunderstanding your SME... This IDer's Story

I've been tasked with creating an Articulate Storyline 2 project on APA. Over the past few weeks, I've completed the following:

  1. Student Analysis: I looked at learners submissions of academic papers, annotated bibliographies, online discussions, etc. I asked instructors which aspects of APA students do not seem to grasp. I've completed research as to what resources are out there and any disconnect between these resources.

  2. Background Research: I grabbed the most recent version of the APA 6th Manual and skimmed it. I checked out the Purdue Online Writing Lab (one of the best resources out there for APA rules, tutorials, examples, etc.). I asked current Master's students what they struggle with and asked current PhD students what they still struggle with.

  3. Built a Team: I reached out to two current PhD students and asked for their assistance. Working in a team not only provides multiple sets of eyes on the project but it also helps with my project management skills. One PhD student wrote a thesis for their Master's degree in a face-to-face program. The other PhD student is fairly new to the doctoral program and went through the online program in which we are creating the Storyline 2 project for.

  4. Draft Storyboard: Our team broke APA into different topics and found resources, examples and non-examples, and drafted up a storyboard to present to our faculty advisor.

While working in our team meetings and drafting up our storyboard, I kept thinking something was off. I couldn't put my finger on it. I kept running into issues in my inner monologue with why am I making this, what's the point? There are so many good tutorials and resources out there. Why am I trying to recreate the wheel? In The Accidental Instructional Designer by Cammy Bean, I ran into a story about Cathy Moore.

Moore asked her readers, "Why is so much e-learning so boring? Because we're obsessed with designing information when instead we should be designing experiences. We need to focus on what people need to do, not what they need to know."

Not knowing how to move forward, I set up a meeting with our faculty advisor to present our storyboard. She disapproved. I could tell this from the minute I started talking to her about our first slide. It wasn't her fault she hated it; I hated it. What went wrong? Well, first of all--I didn't listen. I completely misunderstood the original request from our faculty advisor. Her vision was completely different than mine -- and it was my fault. I assumed too much. I didn't ask enough questions about what she wanted and her goals for this project.

While I am stuck moving on with a project (from almost scratch) I learned two major things about myself this week:

  1. Trust your gut

  2. Ask more questions and don't assume

So, while I maybe didn't have a "real" professional development activity this week (didn't read a blog, didn't learn a new ID skill, didn't... whatever), I did experience my first real professional mistake and learned from that. Sometimes the best professional development activities are the ones you don't know about until you sit back and reflect on your day, week, or month.

Until next week,


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