Shawn is an instructional designer at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco, CA. As a manager of technology enablement she is involved in instructional design, curriculum development, and the management of the new employee onboarding program. She also has the opportunity to consult with the business in regards to learning platforms and systems.
After working for seven or eight years in various technology corporations and teaching English in Korea Shawn decided to earn her master’s degree. Shawn attended the University of Michigan Flint Campus Educational Technology Global Program from 2006 to 2008. The program allowed her to increase her skills in instructional design and become a better educator. She wanted to gain more knowledge about the use of technology in the field of education.
During her Masters program Shawn and a partner developed a site called DevInfo Gameworks. The site utilizing information from the site DevInfo.info. The site allowed visitors to the site to create games based off the millennium development goals. The idea was to encourage visitors to use the site similar to a site such as Youtube or other digital games.
What is an instructional designer do?
As an instructional designer Shawn designs the way users learn. The instructional designer is tasked with providing training or learning that a company wants to capture to deploy to lots of people. There are a few ways to do this but instructor-led or live is the most desirable option. Unfortunately many times the audience is not able to all attend the learning at the same time so that learning must be captured so it can be used at anytime, anywhere. Often capturing subject matter experts speaking with some other static materials for the user to read or use afterwards. Ideally there would be more time and money spent designing but normally that is not possible.
The instructional designer needs to know some essential questions to effectively design learning.
“What is your purpose?”
“What do you want the learner to do afterwards?”
Learning Management Systems
Shawn has a large amount of experience working with learning management systems. Working in Human Resources, on a learning and development team, she has had to do some administration around learning programs. After obtaining her Master’s degree she used that degree and her experience with learning management systems to obtain a challenging position. She has now worked with them for over 8 years and has done everything from simply using them or implementation from the ground up.
Advice for Future Instructional Designers
When asked for advice for educational technology Shawn says to keep experimenting, researching, and iterating. Continue to improve and try and make it better. Try out any software you can and really push the software to its limits. And don’t be afraid to go low tech if the situation calls for it.
To continue her own learning she belongs to the ELearningGuild.com and tries to spend 30 minutes a week reading and learning. She also attends all the conferences and webinars she can to keep up with what is happening in her industry.