As I write my blog posts, I try to think of new information to present on. What has happened recently that I want to talk about or share with the group? What have I learned this week? What experiences have I had that others would benefit from learning from? This post is going to focus on the last item - experiences I think I need to talk about - practicing what we preach.
Often times, we as instructional designers are helping develop training or educational content to present to a wide variety of learners. We try to think outside of box and present a variety of solutions to problems others are experiencing. However, how many times do we actually practice what we are telling others to do? For example, I am often having the conversation with others on trying to keep an open mind when being presented with new ideas. I, however, recently ran into a situation lately where I walked into a meeting with a closed off mind. I wanted no part of the project I've been working on and therefore just shut-down.
At the time - it made sense. I had been racking my brain on trying to solve the problem at hand. I had actually overworked my brain to the part where no new ideas were coming to mind. I had tried working with outsiders on explaining the problem and being open to new ideas but we kept running into the same brick wall. No new ideas. No solutions. Therefore, we had yet another meeting to discuss the problems and try to brainstorm new ideas. Of course, I had been working on trying to find a solution for so long that no new ideas even seemed possible.
Someone then suggested a total revamp of the project and the problem at hand. Erase all we had worked on for over a year and start from scratch. I instantly became distant in the meeting. We would still run into the same problems, we would still have the same issues, we would have a new start but the results would be the same. I knew this because I had already ran through that option and exhausted it beyond belief. However, instead of having an open mind and seeing it from their point of view - I just became irritated. I was annoyed that was the only new idea from the meeting and that I had already thought of it.
After reflecting on that meeting and looking back at my response, I was embarrassed. Here I was asking those same people to have an open mind when I present new information to them but when they present new information to me, I shut down. Regardless if I had already ran through the scenario in my own head, I should have treated their viewpoints with more respect. More than that, I should have listened to myself and taken the advice that I give those - keep an open mind. I should have practiced what I preach...