The Value of Mentorship

One of the MANY reasons I love Toastmasters is that it is like chicken soup for my soul.  I’ve met so many people in the Columbus area that I likely wouldn’t have otherwise, and I’m working on my public speaking and leadership skills.  Tonight after our meeting, I spoke to one of our longtime members, David Hill who achieved one of the highest achievements in Toastmasters, the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).  Less than .5% of all of the Toastmasters (and this is an organization with 345,000 members+ worldwide) are recognized at this level.  David shared with me that he liked a lot of my ideas and would like to work with me to get to the next level of my Toastmasters journey.

Mentorship is a big part of Toastmasters and something our new club president, the lovely Ann Ruege (my birthday twin) wants to bring to the forefront in the upcoming year.  This isn’t just a pat on the back or a handshake.  This is a relationship with someone who supports you and wants you to succeed.  Someone who values your input and can help talk you through professional or personal issues.

Why am I sharing all of this?  On the way home, I got stuck in some traffic and had time to reflect on the notion of mentorship and what it means to me.  Here I am, in the middle of my career and I’m very lucky to know some incredible people.  These aren’t just people that follow me on Twitter, these are people that in some way has made an impact on me as a person and has helped me be where I’m at right now.  I looked up some definitions of mentorship and was sad to see most of them was something like this:

“The guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or educational institution.”

An interesting aside to this is this graphic with the definition:


So no one cared about mentorship until recently?  Is this just a buzzword?

I believe that mentorship does not have to have a senior, more seasoned person.  Mentorship can be peer to peer and it’s about cultivating a relationship with someone in order help better them and you.  Going back to my original point about speaking with David this evening:

Is he senior to me in Toastmasters? You betcha!

Can he help me with navigating the educational channels to achieve my next level in Toastmasters?  I have no doubts

Can I be a mentor to him? Absolutely!

Say what?!  Yes, in addition to talking about Toastmasters, David is also interested in building a brand and getting his name out there.  This is something I’m going to be talking about in the District 40 Toastmasters Fall Conference.

That’s right, mentorship should be two ways.  Before I dive in, I want to say this list is certainly not all inclusive.  I am blessed with a lot of great people in my life and I recognize that more and more every day.  Also, I’m not doing this to promote someone. No one knows I’m writing this right now (besides my cat).  Frankly, with all the lists out there about Top 20 Professionals or Top Bloggers, I hope that sharing this is a different way to recognize people that might not necessarily know what they mean to me.  Here is a list of some of my mentors and why they have an impact on me:




L-R: Anna Leach, yours truly, Natalie Gintert, Tim Nunn

I hate group work in school.  Hate it.  So when I had to be a part of a team for some of my graduate work at OSU and it was VIRTUAL, I was so angry.  I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.  Despite my reluctance, I became a part of this team, called TANC:

Tim Nunn

Anna Leach

Natalie Gintert

Cara North 🙂

We have worked together for almost a year now and our skills complement one another. Tim is creative and has a unique perspective being a high school computer science teacher.  I know I can go to Tim to get the scoop on new technologies and for a perspective with an education lens. Anna is a data wiz and I’ve learned so much from her about the importance of data.  She also is driven to learn about instructional design and I want to say when she’s rich and famous that I knew her.  Natalie has this great aptitude to work through any issue and make it work.  She’s one of the best problem solvers I’ve ever met.  Our powers combined we’ve been able to do some pretty special things.  The pic above was taken when we finally all met face to face.  We presented at an OSU conference together based on some research and a project we had completed.  We are also presenting at our first big academic conference together this November.  We also worked on a cool project for OSU’s College of Nursing and we hope to take that inspiration to South by SouthWest EDU.  Of the group members, I was the only one with formal work experience in instructional design but by working with them, I’ve become a much better instructional designer!

Ana-Paula Correia



Team TANC with Dr. Ana-Paula Correia

Have you ever met someone who you absolutely hit it off with from the start?  That’s how I felt when I met Dr. Ana-Paul Correia during my first advising appointment.  She doesn’t take no for an answer.  She has continually pushed me to do more and reach higher levels since I’ve known her.  It’s an interesting relationship because even though she’s my professor and advisor, I’m also her work colleague in the College of Education and Human Ecology at OSU.  When she encouraged our team to apply for the AECT conference, I didn’t think we had a chance of being chosen to present.  I’m glad I am wrong.  APC, as I like to call her, is getting ready to start her 2nd year at OSU after previously teaching in Iowa.  As she has helped me with becoming better academically, I’ve helped her on the practitioner side of things by getting her more involved in the Central Ohio ATD and sharing my local network so she can help become acclimated to Columbus.  I’ve also helped her navigate the OSU system which in itself is a job.


Of course, this isn’t every day, but I can say most days I have no problem getting up and going to work in the morning.  I’m lucky to work with a cadre of people who not only allow me to be my weird self but also encourage me to come up with new ideas.  Especially in a university, it’s hard to be innovative.  I have had some great leadership including Brooke Parker, Dr. James T. Austin, Dr. Dawn Snyder and Traci Lepicki who have continually helped me grow as a young professional.  They also let me be heard and express my ideas, which I appreciate.

Debbie Richards

I first met Debbie Richards a few months ago when she came to Columbus to present at Central Ohio ATD’s Learning Technologies Day.   I was immediately drawn to her presentation style, her humbleness, and warmness.  We were even on a podcast together. It was when I traveled to Salt Lake for Learning Dev Camp that took our relationship to the next level.  It was the last day of the conference, I was a few hours away from flying back to Columbus when she asked me a question:

“What are you doing?”  

Immediately I wondered if I had something stuck in my teeth or if I was wearing my breakfast on my shirt.

“What do you mean?”

She then went on to ask me what I was doing with my career and she told me I had a talent with social media that I should capitalize on.   By her saying this it watered the seed that had been planted deep in my head about running my own business.  Not only did she encourage me more than she’ll EVER know, BUT she also introduced me to Ahn who has taken me under her wing, gave me a chance to work for her, and is showing me the business side of digital marketing.  I am so grateful to Debbie and Ahn for their support of me and The Learning Camel.

Granted, my husband doesn’t like how I come home after work and work my 2nd shift at The Learning Camel and I usually work the majority of the weekend, but it doesn’t feel like a job. I love working in social media and digital marketing 🙂



I’ve been pretty lucky to be able to help manage the social media of several organizations including my Toastmasters club, Central Ohio ATD, & Ohio Instructional Designers Association.  These volunteer experiences have been great for me and I will always include volunteering as part of my professional life.

Then there is the TLDC.  If you don’t know the TLDC, it is The Training Learning and Development Community.  It was founded by two former Elearning Guild employees Brent and Luis who wanted to develop a positive community for learning and development professionals.  Every week day there is a live show via and topics are discussed about various pain points people may have or there are guests that share their perspectives.  I’ve never watched an episode where I didn’t learn something (yes, Anthony and Ajay you’re episodes have value too :p).  If I can’t watch the episode live, I hit up the replay.  I volunteer for TLDC, helping manage their social media and writing up the daily show notes.  How did I get this gig?  I asked Brent and Luis a question about the format of the show, specifically, why my question didn’t get answered after they asked for participants to add questions in the Q&A box for the speakers.  This led to another conversation about me (let’s face it, why on Earth would they know who I am?) and it led to me becoming a volunteer.  From this community alone, I have been able to meet some of the community members face to face including Katie Stroud, Sam Rogers, Lisa Robbins, Joe Ganci, & Brent Schlenker.  On top of that, I’ve started talking more to people who are not necessarily IDs, but provide a lot of value to challenging my perspectives and processes.  This list includes Mike Simmons, Mike Lenz, and Jason Noxon to name a few.  Then, one more level here, I’ve met this AMAZING ID in Scotland Bethany Taylor and we have set up periodic Skype calls to talk about our work and talking through how to approach things.  I’m proud to be one of the volunteers, working alongside Craig to support this amazing community.  If this isn’t the best example of mentorship being a 2-way conversation, I’ve got nothing else for you.  Plus, TLDC has stickers! IMG_4090

You don’t need a turkey and fake leaves decorating your home to be grateful.  It took a traffic jam for me to think this through but I wanted to take some time to write this out and just say thank you.  I am humbled by the fact that I know so many kind and giving people that provide so much value to my professional career.

Have you thought about who you have mentorship relationships with?  Have you told them how much you value them?














Credentialing 101

I’ve been inspired by a new colleague Jason to write more so I’ve dusted off the cat hair on my home computer keyboard, and I’m ready to go.

My precious little Palpatine Azrael

One thing I love in particular about instructional design is the variety of the job.  The unit I work in at OSU CETE is Assessment Services.  Before working with this unit, I didn’t know much about assessment besides knowledge checks and evaluation.  An organization that my employer is a professional member of has an online training program to become a Credentialing Specialist.  I am enrolled in the program, and I started going through the content today.  It is an asynchronous program that you must complete in 6 months.  In order to complete the program, there are 8 eLearning modules with quizzes at the end.  If you complete the program, you receive a digital credential from the organization and your name on a Powerpoint slide at their upcoming conference. If that doesn’t sweeten the pot nothing will 🙂  Besides the knowledge gained, a side prize to me is seeing another organizations eLearning and tearing it apart 🙂

The content today was introductory but important because it went through the definitions of words around credentialing. There are distinct differences between each of these so let’s explore them.


If you see or hear that something is accredited, that simply means that it is approved according to a set of defined standards. Often you hear about higher education institutions being accredited.  Through the lens of the U.S. Department of Education, this means that the institution is held to and maintains standards for learners to gain admission to other accredited institutions or to achieve credentials for professional practice.  Going down another level, the U.S. Department of Education recognized two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized.  Institutional is exactly what it sounds like, governing the whole institution whereas the specialized accreditation focuses on specific programs, departments, or schools.  To achieve accreditation, there has to be a governing body that verifies the predetermined and standardized criteria.

Certificate Program

Have you ever been a part of a certificate program?  A few years ago I completed ATD’s eLearning Certificate program.  I received a certificate from ATD at the end without receiving feedback on the final product, but I digress.  A certificate program is a training program on a topic for which participants receive a certificate of attendance and/or completion of the coursework.  Going back to my point about ATD, some programs also require successful demonstration of attainment of the course objectives but not necessarily. An important distinction is that a credential is NOT granted at the completion of a certificate program.  Since the types of certificate programs can vary, they can be classified into 3 types:

  • Knowledge-based- Usually a narrow scope of specialized knowledge used in duties and tasks required for a particular profession.
  • Curriculum-based- Individuals complete a course or series of courses and pass an assessment instrument.  The assessment must be based on the curriculum and may not represent a career field or professional practice.  Therefore, this type of certificate is not as defensible compared to a professional certification
  • Certificate of attendance or participation (aka, you can fog a mirror)

Certification Program

This can be defined as the standards, policies, procedures, assessments, and related activities through which individuals are publicly identified as qualified in a profession, role, or skill. Examples of this include Certified Public Accounts (CPAs) and Certified Life Underwriters (CLUs).

So what is credentialing?

Drum roll please……credentialing is an umbrella term that includes accreditation, licensure, and professional certification.

Is this clear as mud?  It can be a little confusing and as I continue to go through the program, I’ll share some examples to help solidify the terms.

Often times in learning and development, we don’t think about our programs through these lenses.  Lots of the content of this program will likely intersect some of the work I do.  As I continue to learn, I’ll share what I find is interesting.


National Commission for Certifying Agencies Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs

Where to Find Me The Rest Of The Year!




The last part of my year is filling up quickly so here are some places to find me if you want to hear me speak or see me in the flesh 🙂


  • July 25, 2017. Ohio Association of Career Technical Educators (Ohio ACTE).  Columbus, Ohio.  WebXam Updates: End-of-Course Testing.  Co-presenting with Brooke Parker and Richard Huggins.  Connections to Education Conference
  • July 31, 2017. Ohio Association Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences (OATFACS).  Columbus, Ohio.  WebXam Preparing Students Through Classroom Assessment. Co-presenting with Brooke Parker.  Impact 2017: New Courses, New Opportunities


  •  August 22, 2017. Ohio Podcasters Monthly Meetup. Columbus, Ohio.  So We Started A Podcast: Lessons Learned and Live Show. Co-presenting with Joseph Suarez.  Columbus Ohio Podcasters Meetup



  • October 5-7, 2017.  Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) and Ohio Association for Adult and Continuing Education (OAACE) Regional Conference. Cleveland, Ohio. Speaking proposal pending Building Your Brand Using Social Media. Regardless, I will be attending this conference.
  • October 23-26, 2017. Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). New Orleans, Louisana. Tentatively attending (I am working towards my Credentialing Specialist Certificate and if I earn it, there is a recognition ceremony at this conference). ICE


  • November 3-5, 2017. District 40 Toastmasters International.  Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  Social MEdia: Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network and Extending the Virtual Handshake (Educational Session). D40 Website
  • November 6-11, 2017. The Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT). Jacksonville, Florida.  Evaluation of the Duolingo English Test: Implications for K-12 English Language Learners (ELL). Pending conference journal publication and first authorship.  Co-presenting with Anna Leach, Natalie Gintert, Tim Nunn, and Dr. Ana-Paula Correia.  Roundtable discussion


Nothing planned yet.


On The Horizon:

  • Instructional Redesign Podcast.  Co-hosting with Joseph Suarez. Launching soon I promise!!
  • January 29-30, 2018. The Training Learning and Development Conference.  Phoenix, Arizona.  Registration confirmed.
  • June 11-14, 2018.  Learning Dev Camp. Salt Lake City, Utah.  I plan on submitting a speaking proposal once the conference website is up.  Conference Website



Learning Dev Camp Days 3 & 4

Day 3:

I started the morning in James Kingsley’s advanced Articulate 360 class. James works at ElearningBrothers and one thing I really appreciated about this conference were the folks like James and Jeff who bring coding into their elearning, something I know nothing about.  I enjoyed this session because I got to play a little bit with some Javascript.  I ended up darting out a little bit early to pop into Megan Torrance’s xAPI session.  To see what I made in James’ class, click here

I walked out of the class and embarrassed myself.  My laptop and watch had different times so I ended up leaving James’ class a little bit too early so I sat in the lobby and tuned into TLDC. If you enjoyed Learning Dev Camp or missed it, please check out TLDC18.  This conference will be in Phoenix, AZ January 29 and 30, 2018.  I am signed up and ready to go and I know I’d love to see ALL of you there! The TLDC topic of the day was teams and tools.  I even hopped on the livestream to share some of my experiences working in higher ed.


(Pictured from top left clockwise: Luis Malbas (and his printer), Kristi Conlon, myself, and Mike Simmons)

I didn’t stay logged into TLDC for long because it was time for Megan Torrence’s Adopting xAPI: What an Instructional Designer Needs to Know.  Megan, like Sam, is fantastic for 1-liners that are highly Tweetable. Here are some of my key takeaways:

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I am interested in learning more about xAPI, especially using it on a current project to track completion of item writing training.  Megan also has a xAPI cohort that is free and you can learn more about here

Keynote Event: The Future is Now! Where are You? Nick Floro

I’ve met my match in live tweeting with Nick.  He has such enthusiasm talking about tech tools that it was hard to keep up with him! Nick is passionate about tech and apps!  Here are some of my takeaways from Nick’s keynote:

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To check out more from Nick, go to his Slideshare page

Afternoon Session Working with Animations: Camtasia Dylan Smith

The Build It Sessions were difficult to Tweet during because I was building stuff.  Dylan guided us through making a title slide, an animated scene, and Star Wars credits.  Check out the final product here

Campfire Session: Tips and Tricks

I had the pleasure at this session by sitting next to Mike Madden who taught me a new acronym. SHOTS stands for self-help online tutorials, not a glass of liquid courage. Throughout this session Jason had asked for participants to share some tricks and tools with the community. Here are some I was able to capture:

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Dinner: McCools Irish Pub

I went to dinner with a colorful cast of characters including Katie Stroud, Jeff Batt, Chris Simental, Debbie Richards, Randye Kaye, Debra Brown, Anna Leach, Joe Ganci, Jennie Ruby, and another super awesome lady who I didn’t really meet/talk to but I’m sure someone can tell me her name 🙂

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After McCools, I took Katie Stroud back to her campsite and hung out with her and her family before calling it a night.

Day 4: See ya later, alligator

Morning Session: Articulate Storyline- Creating Games and Simulations with Jeff Batt

I was so excited about this session because a few years ago I took Jeff’s classes on Storyline in Udemy and he’s a great teacher.  This session did not disappoint.

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Here is the Tic Tac Toe game I made (please note that the winner is displayed when the count is 3, it doesn’t actually show for the lines)

Here is the Carnival Dart game (not finished either but you get the point)

By the time this session was done, I was able to say some quick goodbyes before being taken to the airport in class by Sam

In the car with me was Mary Cropp and Katie Stroud so it seemed like an appropriate time to do a #5trainersinacar podcast episode! Sam and I had done one together a few months ago but this was my first time with Katie and Mary’s first appearance! Since Sam was driving, I was the host and we talked about LearningDevCamp history, the sessions, and some takeaways.  It was a great way to wrap up my LearningDevCamp experience and look for our episode to post soon.

So overall, I was happy I came to LearningDevCamp.  I finally got to meet so many people I follow online face to face, I was able to build some new skills in Camtasia and Articulate, and probably the biggest takeaway is I feel more confident in the community. Several people told me they appreciated my use of social media during the conference and I plan on proposing a session on social media next year (maybe a beginner and advanced?).  I can’t wait until next year!  The next Learning and Development conference I’m going to is TLDC18.  You should join me in Phoenix in January!


Learning DevCamp Day 2

Day 2

Another good morning from Salt Lake City. Today kicked off with another beautiful mountain sunrise and a hearty breakfast. Image 2017-06-07 22-19-09-158

Morning Session: Build an Interactive Video in Articulate Storyline with Mary Crop

Mary started off the session demonstrating 3 ways to use video in Articulate.  Her example was focused on germs in the workplace.  Considering my work building just went through asbestos abatement, I think germs are the least of my worries but hey a girl can dream can’t she?


One thing I appreciated about Mary’s session is that she shared the assets and expected us to put them in the tool.  Some may need practice doing that and while I understand the ease of providing a template to manipulate, sometimes practice makes perfect. I was also able to share the references trick for variables so it was win/win!

If you’d like to see what I made (with a little flair of course) check it out here


Keynote Brent Schenkler Why Social Learning Failed and Digital Learning is Winning


I was so excited about meeting Brent for the first time face to face at this conference.  Brent is the host of the TLDC which stands for the Training Learning and Development Community.  This group is my tribe outside of conferences and I take full advantage of the week day live stream show.  I also help manage their social media accounts (which if you’ve met me this shouldn’t shock you).  Brent has been in “the industry” for a while and I appreciate his perspectives.  He’s one of the white hats (any other gladiators in the house?).  If you don’t know him, you should.  Want to get to know him better join TLDC.  Seriously, no excuses.  In your first week if you don’t learn something, call me out.

Here are some of my takeaways:

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Here is the full recording of Brent’s keynote, courtesy of Sam Rogers, human tripod extraordinaire

Afternoon Session Split: Teaching Online Classes with Kevin Siegel/ Before You Do Anything Else, the Questions You Should Be Asking with Joe Ganci

So my afternoon sessions were a cluster.  I initially went to Jennie Ruby’s Drag and Drop Interactions session until I realized it was for Captivate and not Storyline. Oops, sorry. I’m not a Captivate user, blame my lapse of judgement on my food coma from lunch.

So I darted in the next room and grabbed a seat for Kevin Siegel‘s Teaching Online Classes session. I then quickly darted out when I found out the session was focused on the basics.

So then I went to Joe’s session about knowing the right questions to ask. Great session that actually kept my butt in the seat! Good job Joe!  One of the key takeaways of this session is taking the learners culture and religion into consideration.  It’s not something that I think a lot about.Image 2017-06-07 23-07-52-875


After the session it was selfie time!


Then, the most amazing thing happened.  I walked out of the session to get some water and then I saw him. Dr Ray Jiminez! I have went to at least 3 of his webinars in the past year alone.  I introduced myself and we chatted for 10 minutes.  I think I might have scared him with my enthusiasm.  The best part? A selfie (hey maybe one day someone will be like, “Hey, that’s Cara North! I follow you on Twitter! I need a selfie” but probably not anytime soon)


Campfire Collaboration Session

Sad news, no more cute little parfait thingys, good news more Dream crushers!  Oh and there was a collaboration session that happened when Jason and Nick teamed up to help everyone brainstorm ideas about certain challenges we face. I felt bad for Nick typing all of this out by hand but that feeling soon faded after I share experiences from Day 3’s keynote 🙂

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After having the luck of someone who had a shelter full of black cats cross her path for 25 years, it happened.  I won! I won! I won a Jackery Bolt 6000. I mean it’s not a pair of socks or emoji slippers but hey, I won! So thanks LearningDevCamp for the cool prize! Shout out to Anna for taking this pic!

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The Afterparty

I opted for skipping going out for dinner and went with Lisa and Anna up in the mountains.  This is my first trip to Utah and I’ve been mesmerized by the natural beauty. We drove up into the mountains and took a few pictures:

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That’s a wrap for Day 2.  Anna also shared her notes with me so I may go back and update this page at a later time with her notes.  I’m sorry I posted this a day behind but I’m out there learning and networking 🙂  I will likely combine Day 3 and Day 4 together.



Learning Dev Camp Day 1 Takeaways

**The night before**
Quick shoutout to Debbie Richards for the AWESOME dinner recommendation.  Anna Leach , Erika Nelsen and myself went to dinner at Ruth’s Diner. Their patio area was lush and cozy and as the sun started to go down, the temperature was perfect for an outdoor meal.

Ruth's Diner

Day 1:

Let me first say that the reason I chose this conference is because I’m sick of being talked at. If I want to hear theory, I can go to class.  I come to conferences to BUILD. BUILD networks, BUILD confidence, and BUILD stuff!  Looking at the caliber of speakers and knowing their niches, it was a no brainer to choose this as my annual professional development conference.   That being said, this is my first time here so I didn’t know what to expect.


If you want to get lost in the crowd, this might not be the conference for you.  So far I have met some really awesome people from all across the US here for a common goal: to share and learn more about learning and development.  Today was affectionately called a “ramp up” day with a morning session, keynote, and afternoon session.

Morning Session: Megan Torrance Agile Project Management

I chose this session because project management is a valued skill at my organization. Our director has a PMP, my supervisor has her CAPM and I have jokes and ideas.  I should take PM more seriously and it’s something that will be a win/win if I can develop better skills.  Megan is an excellent presenter and someone I was excited to finally meet face to face.  She led in asking this question….


The reason this is an important point is that in the software world, it’s not multiple projects it’s usually one project at a time.  Megan then made the comparison of instructional design to the software industry.  She felt elearning is kind of software like, lots of testing and mucking around.  Some respects projects are like software but not really.  It is in this vein that she introduced LLAMA:


From Megan’s website, snipped without permission but here is the link

One way Megan illustrated this point is by asking us in the session what we want to get out of it, what are some concerns about project management.  Instead of going linear through her slidedeck, she skipped around to address the needs.  A point she illustrated beautifully is when kicking off a project, define the scope around 80%.  Why?  Because when you kick off a project you don’t know everything that you are going to do and you should assume the scope will change.

An easy way to derail a project?  By feeding the squirrels!


Squirrels come from your PMs, sponsors, SMEs…pretty much anyone that flies in wanting to add stuff here, cut things there.  Stay true to the project.  Know your learner, know what you want them to be able to do at the end of the training.  As Sam Rogers and Star Wars would say, stay on target.  Don’t overdo it though. Design documents do not maximize customer value.  Our customers are both internal and external. Don’t forget the learner!

Another takeaway I had from Megan’s session was the need for learner personas.  This was a timely subject because it’s something that my podcasting buddy Joseph Suarez is interested in with his team.  Megan shared that she always builds learner personas for any project.  She shared the analogy of a wedding planner.  Who is the most important person to keep happy at the wedding?  Several of us answered the bride, some answered the father of the bride, maybe even the mother of the groom.  The bottom line is it could be any of them.  But you can’t make everyone happy a wedding.  So who is the primary learner?  Megan says the team assembled for a kickoff session should  brainstorm out anywhere between 2-5 learning personas for a project.  Then let them cuss and discuss which one is the primary.  Based on the primary, then you can build a more targeted scope with better learning objectives.

Keynote: Katie Stroud, How to Change the World

I was SO excited to hear Katie’s keynote. I have gotten to know Katie better through the TLDC. So of course when we finally met face to face we had to get a picture 🙂


There were so many things I loved about Katie’s keynote!

  1. The first one was her authenticity and vulnerability.  I’m sorry but I think a lot of times in learning and development, we forget that our products are for adult learners.  As Katie put it so brilliantly, life is hard. She shared her curvy path from her childhood through college on how she got to where she was.  As someone who is a first generation college graduate, her story really resonated with me.  I may have had a tear or two in my eye.  I applaud her efforts and I’m proud to say I know someone with that kind of grit.  You go Katie!
  2. The second was the nod to Toastmasters.  I joined Toastmasters earlier this year and I proudly share and probably gush about how big of a difference it has made on my public speaking.  It’s also been tremendous to improve my impromptu speaking.  Katie had an activity where she put various items on each table and challenged each table to tell a story about it.  There were some interesting items, including a bunch of bananas salt shaker.  It was fun to hear what other tables came up with and it tied in with her theme of storytelling in her presentation.
  3. She did an excellent job integrating storytelling- emotional and physical responses (those mirror neurons in action).  She kicked it off with a personal story about her journey, she shared the adventures of her and Rev, and she asked others to share their experiences.

All of the other keynotes have big shoes to fill in order to be that meaningful.

Afternoon Session: Learning Technologies: From Now to Next Sam Rogers

Sam is another person I know from TLDC but I also met when he came to Columbus’ Central Ohio ATD Learning Tech Day and was a presenter. Oh yeah, we also did an episode of the podcast 5 Trainers in a Car together too 🙂  One thing I appreciate about Sam is his no nonsense way of presenting.  He kicked off the session wanting to know about what each person is working on.  We went around and shared and I was impressed by his active listening skills.  He remembered what everyone said and constantly referenced it throughout the presentation.  In detail.  So Joseph Suarez, maybe Sam can help you build up that skill 🙂

Sam is also great for giving meaningful one liners that this Tweeter loves 🙂

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Another key takeaway from this session was this graphic he provided:

sam's session

How many times does your instructional design team “sweat the small stuff” without focusing on the big picture?  Something like this should be printed on a tshirt and given to all instructional designers and also this shirt Megan shared for Project managers.

Dream Crusher

After the afternoon session, it was prize giveaway time.  Yes, my dreams were crushed, I didn’t win anything but I did have the cutest little parfait thingy ever!


Dinner: Red Iguana 2

This place was so good they needed two of them in Salt Lake City! The dinner crew included (in no particular order) Candace Kinzer, Jeff Batt, Katie Stroud, Sam Rogers, Erika Nelsen, Brent Schenkler, Lisa Robbins, Anna Leach, and me 🙂 The food was great, the conversation was even better, and this picture the best


All in all, Day 1 was a HUGE success.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow, the first day of BUILDING! There are some Storyline and Camtasia sessions in the horizon and I’m really excited for them!

I will continue to live tweet what I can during the conference using #learningdevcamp but so far it doesn’t seem like this is a crowd that are heavy Tweeters.  I’m happy to provide content but the backchannel would be so much more robust if all sessions were shared.

If you aren’t at this conference and are reading this, consider checking out TLDC. It’s a weekday live show about learning and development.  Being a part of this community has really help grow my PLN and I can’t recommend it enough!


ADDIE- Cornerstone Model or in need of an update?

One of the benefits and challenges of instructional design is that the field (can we call ourselves a field?) constantly changes and improves to keep up with demands of learning and development.  From creating training for face-to-face delivery to asynchronous online learning, there are many instructional design models to utilize. Instructional design models can provide a framework to create instructional materials.  Since each product and model is different, what does each model have in common?  According to Andrews and Goodson (1980), instructional design models serve four purposes:


  • “improving learning and instruction by means of the problem-solving and feedback characteristics of the systematic approach”
  • “improving management of instructional design and development by means of the monitoring and control functions of the systematic approach”
  • “improving evaluation processes by means of the designated components and sequence of events”
  • “testing or building learning or instructional theory by means of theory-based design within a model of systematic instructional design” (p 3-4).



While there are several instructional design models available to use, the cornerstone of all models remains ADDIE.  ADDIE is an instructional design theory that is difficult to attribute.  According to Morrison et al (2013), ADDIE likely evolved from procedures intended for developing military training.  Gustafson and Branch (2002) stated that the intention of ADDIE was to develop “effective, efficient, and relevant” training.  ADDIE is an acronym stands for analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. In the ADDIE model, analysis is the front-end input for the system.  Design, development, and evaluation phases are the process; and implementation is the output of the training material. These elements overlap somewhat, depending on the project. Although there are many different instructional design models, many of them use the ADDIE model as inspiration.  Some of these include the Seels and Glasgow, Rapid Prototyping model, and the Smith and Ragan models. Modern models such as Dr. Michael Allen’s SAM, or Successive Approximation Model, use a hybrid of traditional ADDIE and use software development model influences like Agile, which use iteration and short work cycles to produce quick results.



Analysis Phase noun_643000_51A7F9

One reason that ADDIE is a cornerstone model of instructional design is because it places so much emphasis on the analysis of a learning product.  The way analysis is used in this model is as a process to collect information to plan the scope of a project, in other words, the who, what, when, where, and why of the instructional design process.  Essentially analysis answers the question what do learners need to know and on what criteria will success be measured?  In this phase, if an instructional designer is using project management, this is where one creates a project charter including a target population, resources, scope, risks, and constraints.  In order to obtain this data, instructional designers have multiple methods to choose from including surveys, focus groups, subject matter expert (SME) panels, and reviewing current materials and program information.

While the value in diving deep into analysis is clear, it is difficult to provide guidance on how to do it.  Despite ADDIE having multiple phases that build on each other, analysis can look different in each instructional design example.  Is there a right or wrong way to conduct a needs assessment?  The answer depends on an organization.  Some organizations provides guidance on how to conduct an analysis if a job and task analysis methodology is used, however, it may not be appropriate for all instructional materials.

In order for an analysis of an instructional design product to be successful, data must be collected.  In the ADDIE model, this data would be collected in the analysis phase, yet it is important in each part of the phases.  Something as simple as observation, which according to Kawulich (2005) can establish rapport and allows one to immerse themselves in a situation yet be removed, is invaluable to improving the instructional design process.  This type of data can also yield process improvement opportunities, allow for an anecdotal record to be shared with stakeholders, and provide a history of progress on instructional design methods.  A modification to the ADDIE model should add data collection as a continuum underneath the five phases in order to encourage instructional designers to consider its importance.

Design Phase noun_981216_F38F19

In the ADDIE model, design is the phase of instructional systems during which instructional designers create the design of the project with all of the specifications based on the analysis. In this phase, the instructional designer provides the basic foundation and structure for the training project. This phase outlines learning objectives and evaluation tasks.  It seeks to answer the question of how will the learner be provided the material? Additionally, a program evaluation plan is crafted in this phase.

A key part of any instructional design project that does not have a specific phase represented in the ADDIE model is the budget.  Depending on the organization, the funding practices often dictate the amount of resources leveraged into an instructional project.  Due to the ADDIE model having full phases dedicated to analysis and design, it is both prescriptive and descriptive orientation models.  The reason for both orientations being represented is that it does have a one-size fits all mold.  Is it cost effective for a job aid on how to use the telephone to use the ADDIE model?  Most likely not, but it certainly could be used as the framework to gather data to build the job aid.

Additionally, the design phase really is the crux of the whole process.  Typically, this is where projects are modeled and sets the tone for the rest of the project.  Without good design that aligns to the goals identified in the analysis phase, the product will likely not fulfill the goals it is intended to.  An improvement to the ADDIE model would be having this phase looping back into analysis in order to align the training product.  Even if this is a short check-in meeting with stakeholders, it could save a lot of headaches further down the project pipeline if bad product is passed on to the development phase.

Development Phasenoun_818869_B36AE2

The development phase is where the rubber hits the road.  In this phase materials are shared with stakeholders via pilot testing.  This can include a gamut of offerings from lecture notes to elearning and it shows the progress.  Pilot testing in this phase is invaluable to identify portions that may have missed the mark.  The whole ADDIE process implemented is expensive, so if an error were detected before this, such as in the design phase, it would help make this phase go smoother. Even with pilot testing, this can be a taxing cost on organizations.  SMEs should review the content in this phase for accuracy to prepare for the next phase.

The development phase can be seen as a quality check on the progress which can lead to a higher quality instructional product.  One downside to this is the amount of time it takes to get formal feedback in one setting versus ongoing feedback throughout the   If ADDIE had a constant feedback portion on each phase; perhaps this phase could focus on finalizing the content for implementation, likely speeding up the development process. Due to the ADDIE model encouraging the use of phases that include a full analysis, this model supports tasks that support procedural knowledge.  If ADDIE were to support declarative models, it may have more emphasis on the design and development phases emphasizing higher-level cognate learning materials.

Implementation Phasenoun_1050109_EC5D57

The implementation phase is where the learners receive the content.  This phase includes launching the content, assessment of the learner’s ability against the instructional objectives, review of instructional materials, and modification of design and materials provided from basic evaluative feedback. Additionally, if using elearning, the materials are uploaded to the web or the learning management system.

A shortcoming of ADDIE that is evident in this phase is not accounting for political factors in the implementation.  It may not be up to the instructional designer on how best to implement the training materials. Going through the full phases may yield data that an instructional designer can share with stakeholders but ultimately an organization’s political climate may trump recommendations.  Additionally, if the instructional designer has not thought about evaluation yet, they may omit it from the training.  It can easily happen if they are following ADDIE phase by phase.

Evaluation Phasenoun_471092

Evaluation, the last phase of the ADDIE model, includes reviewing evaluations from participants, soliciting feedback in debriefs from facilitators, and tying up any loose ends identified in the project plan.  This phase can include both formative and summative evaluation.  Since evaluation is the last phase of the model, it can often be thrown by the wayside or have the least emphasis placed on it. Instructional designers should feel comfortable knowing that evaluation is an ongoing process and shouldn’t be an after thought.  ADDIE also doesn’t have a phase to address evaluation data as far as creating a schedule to incorporate feedback.  It is unclear if an instructional designer with this data should start the ADDIE process over again or if there is a particular phase to revisit.

Strengths of the ADDIE Model noun_1018187_EC5D57.png

The ADDIE model is used as the basis for many other instructional design models for one main reason: it covers the bases for how to create a quality instructional design product.  The model, while it could provide more guidance on how to do each phase, is written in a way that allows instructional designers to interpret the phases and work through them how they see appropriate.  This is true because no two instructional design projects are the same.  While ADDIE can be seen as a rigid model, because of the broadness it allows flexibility to be applied to multiple settings.  Because of the phases being sequential, it challenges users to perfect each phase before going to the next one.  This is wonderful if an instructional designer is following project management principles because each phase can be applied as a deliverable.

Areas of Improvements for ADDIE  noun_814748_F5D327

One of ADDIE’s strengths and weakness lies in the multiple components of the model.  ADDIE often has the moniker of the “waterfall” method because each phase has a set of requirements that must be met to go on to the next phase.  An overarching principle of ADDIE is that all five phases should be complete in order to yield a robust instructional project.  In other words, ADDIE’s phases provide instructional designers a linear and systematic approach to create instructional products.   In this vain, Allen et at (2014) suggests that ADDIE is more of a process model than a design model. “The steps of ADDIE can be used to build everything from a sandcastle to a fighter jet; there is nothing there that is inherently germane to instructional design” (p 368). This can be detrimental to learning and development teams who are short on time and money resources.  Kruse (2009) criticized ADDIE for being too time consuming to implement due to being too inflexible.  Often as a newer instructional designer, one is likely to be eager to please the sponsor in delivering everything they want.  In this model, if an instructional designer spends most of the time in the analysis phase and then the sponsor changes their mind, it could lead to a wasted effort.  This could lead to disappointment on both sides.  Based on this, ADDIE would be classified as an expert-system based model as defined by Edmonds et al (1994).  Due to the pitfalls newer designers could fall into going through each phase, an expert instructional designer would have a better grasp on subject matter expert management, project management, and avoiding scope creep.  Furthermore, the phase titles do not necessarily provide guidance on how to “analyze” or “implement”.  Any guidance is often provided by practitioners in the field or most of the time, by trial and error of the instructional designer.

ADDIE’s systematic method is inflexible and is not ideal for all instructional design projects.  Projects are complex and in a global economy investing in each phase of ADDIE may be too much for a particular organization.  Adamson (2012) said that a linear process of cause and effect, such as a model like ADDIE, is becoming increasingly irrelevant and learning and development professionals need to think outside of the mold in order to create products that rise to this occasion.  One way to deal with this is if ADDIE is applied as an iterative process instead of sequential.  That way there is more flexibility applied, as instructional design projects may need it.

Overall, ADDIE provides a framework for instructional designers to consider when creating a training program.  ADDIE will not be the correct model for every training program; however, no instructional design model is a one-size fits all.  In order to be successful while using ADDIE, clear guidelines on what to do in each phase should be created so all stakeholders and the instructional designer stays on the same page.  ADDIE inspired many other instructional design models and will likely continue to as instructional design evolves.

Works Cited

Adamson, C. (2012) ‘Learning in a VUCA World.’ Online Education Berlin News Portal. Accessed online, May 30, 2017.


Allen, M., Dirksen, J., Quinn, C., & Thalheimer, W. (2014). Serious e-learning manifesto. ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training & Development. (pp. 359-378)  Chelsea, MI; American Society for Training and Development


Andrews, D. H., & Goodson, L. A. (1980). A comparative analysis of models of instructional design. Journal of instructional development, 3(4), 2-16.


Edmonds, G. S., Branch, R. C., & Mukherjee, P. (1994). A Conceptual Framework for Comparing Instructional Design Models. Educational Research and Technology, 42(2), pp. 55-72.


Gustafson, K.L. & Branch, R.M. (2002)  What is Instructional Design? In Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology, eds. R.A. Resier and J.V. Dempsey.  Columbus, OH; Merrill Prentice Hall.


Kawulich, B. B. (2005, May). Participant observation as a data collection method. In Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research (Vol. 6, No. 2).


Kruse, K. (2009). Introduction to Instructional Design and the ADDIE Model, Accessed online. May 30, 2017.


Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kemp, J. E., & Kalman, H. (2013). Designing Effective Instruction. John Wiley & Sons.7th Edition