Monday, February 08, 2016

Interview with Syreena Mortimer, Instructional Designer: Innovators in E-Learning Series

How can you bulletproof yourself in a quickly evolving world?  One of the best ways is to continually evolve by reinventing yourself.  But how? That is where the instructional designer does his or her magic.

The world of the instructional designer is challenging, constantly evolving, a wonderful place to express your creativity in a way that builds human capital through effective training, education, and knowledge transfer. 

Welcome to an interview with Syreena Mortimer, an instructional designer who has recently earned her Instructional Design Certification from Rollins College. 

1.  What is your name and your relationship to e-learning?
My name is Syreena Mortimer and I am an instructional designer.

Syreena Mortimer
2.  How did you become interested in instructional design?
I became friends with an instructional designer several years ago. She told me all about her job and introduced me to other instructional design contacts. They each shared unique perspectives about their job roles in academic, federal, and commercial projects. I was really inspired by the all of the different ways they shared information with their learners. Because I was looking for a way to expand my career, I realized that instructional design is a rapidly expanding field with many opportunities. My background is in library science and I wanted to explore ways to organize content and teach others, so I decided to pursue the Instructional Design Certificate at Rollins College.

3.  What are some of the uses of instructional design that excite you?
I love to teach others, so I get really excited when I get to chunk and structure content to make it more accessible to learners.

4.  When you worked on your certificate at Rollins College, what were some of the aspects that were most interesting to you?  What were the courses that you took?

I took six courses for my Instructional Design Certificate at Rollins College: Introduction to Instructional Design, Learner Motivation and Engagement, Learning in the Connected Age, Learning Technologies, Introduction to eLearning, and a Capstone class.

I was particularly interested in the Learner Motivation and Engagement course because I was exposed to the key concepts of learning psychology. I studied some thought-provoking theories and applied them in my daily life for designing learning, working in a team, and setting personal goals. The capstone course was the most useful to me because we created and enhanced our professional portfolios- something crucial for an instructional design career!

5.  How did you use your instructional design knowledge gained from the program?
The knowledge that I gained from the program directly supported my job interview performance as well as my daily work.  I was familiar with instructional design terms and processes, able discuss learning theories, and was ready to share my portfolio. In my daily work, I use these skills to contribute to my team instructional design team in order to create, develop, and implement web-based training.

6.  What sorts of opportunities have you been able to explore as an instructional designer?
I’ve had fun working on different types of projects over the past couple of years. I had an informal internship with an instructional design mentor at a publishing company, and I helped her create quick reference guides. We also interviewed stakeholders in order to update training guides. When I worked for a consulting company, I got to participate in planning meetings about the instructional design process for a commercial client, and then I was staffed on a military client. I traveled onsite to meet with client representatives and worked with a small team to create web-based training. I will be transitioning into the hospitality industry to be a learning designer, where I will create and conduct in-person and online trainings.


7.  What is the most enjoyable experience that you've had so far in designing instruction?
There have been many enjoyable experiences! One that stands out is when I learned how to use an eLearning authoring tool by watching videos online, and then I taught my team members how to use the tool- all within two weeks. When I taught them, first I shared an example of the end product, then demonstrated the development steps, and then I had the learners practice alone (with feedback for any questions). The training was a success and my team members were able to create mini-presentations using the tool within 1 hour.

8.  Please list the cloud-based apps you find most useful and fun.

Marvel App: great for collaborative prototyping

Thing Link: fun and easy way to make pictures interactive

Creatley: design diagrams and charts

Prezi: create engaging presentations

Canva: make infographics, posters, advertisements, and other graphic designs

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