Browse Category: Professional Development

Are you prepared for the workforce of the future? And I don’t mean college graduates.

Cory is a tractor-truck driver. As a child, he was always fascinated by the rumbling 18-wheelers that dominated the highway behind his home. He counted giant headlights rather than sheep at bedtime.

Cory is grown up now, and the bills are piling up while his wife’s belly grows with their first-born. Cory’s dream isn’t as a truck driver, despite his childhood fascination, but he agrees to meet his friend who works at a local trucking service over a drink one evening. Truck driving can’t be that bad.

“I know the job isn’t ideal. It is secure though, people will always need goods delivered. Plus it pays alright,” his friend says as he takes the receipt out of Cory’s hands.

“This one is on me, especially if you’ll come down for an interview. We are in desperate need for folks. We will even pay for your license.”

Ten years later, Cory’s once secure job is at risk. Not because his friend was wrong, indeed, goods will always need to be delivered, but because of automation. Continue Reading


I went to dinner with a new friend Sunday evening. We have a lot in common, we both enjoy video games and nerdy things. I’ve read the first book in the Death Note manga series, she’s going to lend me the rest when we hang out again. Earlier that day, I’d gotten lunch with another friend. Earlier that week, I was able to contact even another friend last minute to see if she wanted to go to a concert I had an extra ticket to.

That may not seem like a big deal, but a few months ago, I had maybe one friend in DC that I felt comfortable to call anytime to hang out. This is a vulnerable admission – I am pretty outgoing and make friends easily.

A few months ago, despite more time due to the lack of friends, my desire to develop my professional life outside of work dwindled. I stopped updating social media and my blog.

The vision of me I’d built was slowly deteriorating.

You probably have a vision of who you want to be. Your exact career path may be unknown, but you probably have a desired progression timeline. Your dream wardrobe is probably fuzzy at best, but you likely know the perception you want strangers to have of you. You don’t know the names of friends you want, but you know what you want to do with friends when you hang out.

A few months ago, I realized that I couldn’t be my vision of myself all at once. I don’t have enough energy. So I chose aspects to work on, one by one.

My career foundation felt solid. I’d gone above and beyond in my professional development before my motivation fizzled. I even felt happy with my style – I knew exactly what I wanted when I shopped and limited my wardrobe. Before I realized that I had limited energy, I was attempting to dedicate myself to each of those aspects of my life as though I was still trying to build those foundations. I took a step back, I gave myself permission to focus on new foundations – such as making friends. And now I feel some of my energy returning for everything else.

I’m still working on every aspect of me and my vision, but it’s now a fun adventure – not an overwhelming process.

I know this is a training blog, so let’s apply it there. To professional development in general. Focus on gaining a foundation in one skill at a time. If you try to learn Storyline, graphic design, and instructional design skills all at once – you will feel overwhelmed and feel like you’re failing. Take that step back. Make it a fun adventure – where you’re picking up new skills on the way.

ID Skill Building: Effective Business Writing

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be featured on Kris Anthony’s new wonderful Instructional Design podcast, Dear Instructional Designer. I did want to give you a mini taste of one thing that I talked about: the important skill of business communication.

As instructional designers, we are constantly interacting with clients, SMEs, stakeholders, you name it. One of the skills I’m constantly working on, and admittedly proud of, is effective business writing. A few years ago, one of my bosses handed me a booklet on effective business emails and writing and it rocked my life. People not only started responding quicker and more in line with my needs, but actually complimenting my actual emails. Look!

Good email

Unfortunately, I’m not able to share the actual booklet he gave me – but here are a couple of great resources to get you started:

What other resources do you recommend for learning better business writing?

How One Training Leader Changed Revamped Her Training Department

In my previous post, I mentioned that a training director revamped her entire department based on another post I made. I asked her to share how she changed it, and if it would be okay to share on my blog.

I absolutely love bringing out the best and seeing the positive changes in others through learning and development. However, I believe I became too focused on the business results than on my learners. So your article served as an aha moment for me.

First, the best way I discovered to create a learner centered environment was by focusing on positive relationships. Something clicked in my head after reading your article which was, “Rosell, STOP OVERWHELMING THE GROUP!” Sometimes it’s challenging not to throw all the information I have at a learner, but as I have found, they cannot retain it all at once. We switched to a broader view with a stronger focus on resources, and it seemed to have made a huge impact in the classroom dynamics, with less stress, more interest in other aspects of the training as they grasped the basic material, and the learners seemed more open to asking questions and initiating their own learning process.

Second, I identified and acknowledged their learning styles. It’s difficult to do this individually but there were learners who didn’t like activity-based learning or role play activities. But others liked those activities. So what did I do? I l allowed some of them to observe and if others felt like joining, they were more than welcome.

By focusing on their learning preferences/backgrounds and abilities, I was able to custom tailor the course to meet their needs and appeal to their preferred learning methods, so that they achieved the best possible outcome.

Inevitably, by solely focusing on the needs of the group, the business results took on a life of their own. Awesome stuff!

I always find it interesting how people revamp or change the way they were doing something – or their process from building from the ground up. Have you ever had to change a process significantly? How did you do it?

Here is an Encouragement to Start a Blog

I haven’t written for a while. I could easily use the excuses of “work has been stressful” (it has) or “life has been stressful” (also true), but when are either of those things not true to some extent? Really, I struggled because I didn’t feel like I had anything exceptionally meaningful to say. I suddenly felt as though I needed to write deep, motivational posts that really explored the intricacies of instructional design for a worthwhile article.

Then I received a message on LinkedIn.

Dear Rachel, I’ll be brief.

You don’t know me, but you’ve inspired me in a big way. Because of your work with Training: Making Learner’s Tasks only kind of Suck” I decided to revamp the entire training program at my company to make it a stronger learner-centered environment. The content and title of your article was catchy and direct yet very deep and insightful.

Sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things during the training process. By sticking to the basics (making the process much easier for the learner), we can really make an impact in what we do on a daily basis. You might not realize that you are inspiring people in this way, but you are. No response required if you’re having a busy month (and I’m guessing you are!).

I just wanted to say: Thank you. (smile) Rosell Ridley

This is the article Rosell is referring to. I realized that sometimes my smaller thoughts are beneficial to someone and it’s so nice to see that. And I realized that there are probably so many people out there who maybe need that little push to get out their own thoughts and ideas, regardless of how “important” you feel they are.

So do it. And I will try to work a littler harder on writing as well.

I also asked her to share how she revamped her program, and will share that in my next post!

A Day in the Life of an E-Learning Developer

Today I’m sitting on the patio of my ocean-view hotel room, sipping coffee from the Keurig machine, and in this part of my 3-part clause, I would have said something like “and capturing the occasional glimpse of lights flashing on the Santa Monica pier’s ferris wheel,” but for whatever inexplicable reason, it’s off for the first time since I got here.

This is not how I start most of my days. In fact, I have never started a day like this in my life. I’ve never been in Santa Monica before, and I’ve never even had an ocean front hotel room. But it’s the day I’m going to tell you about.

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MOOCs are ineffective at training


Are MOOCs ineffective at training? I think so.

Okay, well, if we’re going to be pedantic, I think some MOOCs are ineffective. I don’t think I can even say “most” because, well, I haven’t taken “most” MOOCs.

I should also clarify further: I’m discussing MOOCs that are professional skill topics, not the academic-for-fun courses.

But, the title pulled you in, right? Why? Do you agree with me? Did you come to argue? Are you wondering if all the time you just spent feeling guilty over not completing that one course was wasted because the course was probably ineffective anyways?

Well, let’s talk about it.

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Subreddits for learning

reddit for learning

The Learning Guild’s Twitter chat (#guildchat) on Friday was about social media & learning. I brought up reddit, and Nick responded with this:

So – I told him I’d make a blog post on learning on reddit & I’ve even included a huge list of subreddits.

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Social media communities for instructional design and ed tech


I love social media. Social media is not only a way to casually keep in touch with friends and family, but a way for me to grow professionally. I’ve made great connections (such as Mel Milloway, Ashley Chiasson, and Craig Wiggins) and learned so much through my network. Steve Wheeler’s post on social media last week got me even more energized about the topic, so I wanted to share my enthusiasm and share some awesome social media resources for instructional designers and ed techies!

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