Wish List for Professional Development

In starting a new job at a large academic institution, there are two things that are true: 1) I have opportunity to participate and explore many topics in the Instructional Design field and 2) we have limited budgets. I know large academic institutions can seem restrictive and outlined in red tape, yet I believe I whole new level of professional development has opened up to me. If it is justified, I can request to attend a conference, buy a book, or even have them pay for a professional network membership. Here is my wish list for 2018.

And I say “wish list” because what my supervisor chooses to pay for must benefit the institution, as well. Although I would never purposefully request something outside of the purpose of my position or field, it is possible for me to unknowingly request something that is not justified.


Wish List Item – eLearning Guild Pro Membership

I have been a member of the eLearning Guild since I started  my Master’s Degree in 2014. Last March my former employer paid for a Pro membership. I have used this membership almost weekly between attending online Spotlights, taking advantage of discounted conference costs, and free eBooks. It’s a wonderful resource and they have hundreds of archived items available for free members. It’s worth it for me.

Since I am fairly new to the field, I have only one membership in the eLearning Guild and I am open minded about others.


Photo by Gellinger, Used with Permission from Pixabay.com with CC0 License

A quick and pointed Google search can usually get me the information I am looking for more quickly than reading a book. Yet, there is one thing books offer– detailed perspective on what I don’t know I don’t know. It’s impossible to know what I don’t. Books are the best way for me to keep learning and expanding my skill and knowledge set. Books don’t necessarily need to be textbooks or even titled something regarding Instructional Design. Here are a few I think may be beneficial for me to have on my book shelf.

Wish List Item – e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning by Ruth C. Clark and Richard E. Mayer

The use of best practices in Instructional Design and Course Design is easy to search online, yet the results are not always reliable nor backed by empirical evidence. This textbook would guide me in making research-based design recommendations within the realm of e-Learning and Instructional Design.

Wish List Item – Design for How People Learn (2nd edition) by Julie Dirksen

I’m constantly thinking about how people learn. With my psychology background, I find my design process is driven by my audience. Part of my audience is the way they think. This book gives background and application to designing with learning processes in mind.

Wish List Item – How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by By Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DiPietro, Norman

Again, knowing how people learn is essential to teaching online effectively and efficiently. This goes straight into my job tasks related to course design and sequencing. Research-based principles are the icing on the cake in an academic and research institution. It is my responsibility to design courses so the students are receiving the best designed learning experience possible. Knowing how they learn is foundational information for designing their learning experiences.


Photo by rawpixel, Used with Permission from Pixabay.com with CC0 License

Last year I attended FocusOn Learning hosted by the eLearning Guild in San Diego, CA. It was a wonderful conference and much different from the public health conference I had attended previously. You can read about my experience here.

What I learned from this conference was exponentially more powerful than learning it from reading an article or a blog post. The reasons for this was the connections with people face-to-face. I believe attending conferences is a great method to stay a lifelong learner, connect with others who are specialized and experienced, and get answers to questions or solve problems with colleagues at other companies and institutions.

Here are a few conferences I am looking at for next year.

Wish List Item – Attend a Conference

*listed by date

  • NMC Conference, June 12-14, 2018, Denver, CO, this conference is focused on “integration of emerging technologies and innovative approaches into teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.”
  • Campus Technology Conference, July 23-26, 2018, Philadelphia, PA, Designed for higher education and technology professors.
  • InstructureCon, July 24-26, 2018, Keystone, CO, Instructure is the parent company for Canvas, our LMS at CU.
  • Distance Teaching & Learning Conference, August 7-9, 2018, Madison, WI, May be attended virtually, Designed to explore distance teaching ideas and methods.
  • E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning, October 15-18, 2018, Las Vegas, NV, May be attended virtually, The E-Learn conference is designed to provide upcoming e-learning trends in content development, evaluation, and instructional design. Also, it’s international, so I imagine the attendees may be diverse in thinking, background, and job responsibilities.
  • DevLearn, October 24-26, 2018, Las Vegas, NV, This conference is the largest Learning Technology conference in states and has the reputation of being future thinking while integrating learning design methods and trends from many different settings (i.e. Higher Education).


Photo by ChristopherPluta, Used with Permission from Pixabay.com with CC0 License

Now, given all those wonderful wish list items above, I still may not be able to go or pay for any of them. Luckily, there are free resources curated just for people like me!

I am tasked with keeping up with the latest trends in Instructional Design and Educational Technology. As many people are aware, this is difficult to keep up with. It’s also difficult to know when to jump on a tech wagon and when to wait it out. For instance, Mobile or Micro-Learning are not always our best methods of teaching, yet it is a trend. Likely, I won’t be designing for much mobile only learning delivery in higher education degree programs, so I’ll put this trend lower on my list than something like online discussion engagement tools.

To keep up, I subscribe to many newsletters. I am a fan of all of these because they give a diverse perspective of eLearning and Instructional Design tools, trends, and methods.

Share what other Professional Development opportunities you are looking forward to in the next year!

Banner photograph by nikolapeskova, used with Permission from Pixabay.com with CC0 License.