This tip was stimulated by one of our "TIPs" newsletter readers, Fran Durkee from the DLA Training Center in Columbus, OH, asking about the idea of hiring a master developer to help coach instructional developers with less experience and expertise. We’re all looking for ways to increase our capability for instructional design and development projects.
One way to do this is to tap into the existing expertise of your team and help to develop specialized skills in your team members. Here’s an example:
I once sent one of our instructional designers to a 3-day job aids workshop. The designer came back so excited about job aids she started job aiding everything in the office just to practice. This designer became so expert at job aid design that I designated her the "Queen of Job Aids." I started going to her myself and encouraged other team members to go to her for help with setting up job aid formats for their projects.
Do we know all the special expertise of our various associates and team members? Do we encourage this cross-pollination of skill sets? It might be a worthwhile exercise to create a matrix for example, that lists different areas of expertise along one axis, and team members across the top axis. In this way, you could identify those that have strong expertise in certain areas. So that other developers could consult them, should they have a question in their associate’s area of expertise. While instructional designers/developers need the fundamentals in all areas of instructional design, it is very unusual to find someone that is expert in all the areas.
So, in addition to our reader’s idea of hiring a master instructional designer to help coach those with less experience, I suggest we make sure we are taking advantage too of the individual expertise of those within our own workgroups.
BTW, an added bonus to using the matrix idea is to identify where you might have gaps in expertise in your organization, and the next time you are hiring, look for someone with those missing set of skills.
Give it a try; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find additional expertise when you look at this from a team perspective.
See you next time,