So how did I get into training and instructional design? Well let me explain a bit.
I was a drama kid in High School, dorky for sure, but having a ton of fun with my drama buddies putting on high school performances. I loved acting, even if I wasn’t very good and continued it the practice a bit in university.
After graduation in the 80’s, I was working for a company called Nielsen Marketing Research, same folks who do the television ratings. I was a market researcher.
While working at Nielsen I got the chance to go to a training class. I had never been to a training class before and was excited at the possibility. I remember listening to people grumble about having to be in a class all day but I didn’t care. I was transfixed by the trainer, Don. I thought it was awesome that he was standing in front of the room teaching people how to do stuff.
After the class was over I approached him and asked how I could do the same thing but he sorta brushed me off and said that there really wasn’t a lot of training that he needed help with. I was disappointed but thanked him for his time anyway.
When I got home I decided to write him a letter (pre-email in those days) . I told him how much I enjoyed the class and if there was anything I could do to help him out, on my own time, to please let me know. A few months went by and I had an opportunity to go to the corporate headquarters in Chicago to attend some additional training. Again I was excited because, 1) I was going to get a chance to get some more training, 2) I would get to see Don in person and tell him how much I wanted to do training, and 3) I had never been on a business trip before.
I attended the training and caught up with Don while I was there. He asked me, “Why do you want to do this so badly?” I explained; “Because I love teaching people. I’ve done it ever since I was a kid; reading the encyclopedia and those Time-Life books my parents subscribed to. I would find some nugget of information and share it with my family and friends. At first I was shy, thinking I had some kind weirdness affliction but I’d see their eyes light up at the same time, they thought it was kind of interesting. After a while I got the reputation as the having all of this random information in my head and I loved how I was beginning to make connections between one thing and another so that it made it easier for people to understand things at a deeper level. That’s why I want to do training”
That led to a 20 year career delivering training, creating instructional materials, voice-overs, video, etc.
I currently am an organizational change management consultant. Training and learning is a cornerstone, an enabler of change. People are much more comfortable with and less resistant to change if they know they will acquire the "success skills" they'll need in the future. Training addresses a deep seated fear people have when their company says "things are gonna change". They fear; am I going to fit in, know what to do, have what it takes to operate successfully in the future of this organization? That's it. Training, learning and instructional content fills that gap.
All of it centered around helping people bring out the best in themselves, the best in the people around them and the best in their organizations.