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61 Ways You Know You Are Talking To An Instructional Designer:

1.  They are scarily good at listening.  

2.  They will always first try to clearly establish your goals.

3.  They will diagram. Rapidly. Nobody can make a picture, chart, or graphic representation of a learning goal or teaching method faster than an instructional designer.

4.  They will connect your teaching goal to the literature on learning. They will know the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) cold.

5.  There is a good chance that they did not follow a linear career path.

6.  They will mention Slack at least once in every conversation.

7.  They will know first-hand the dangers of vendor lock-in.

8.  They will get you to think about which parts of your beloved content really needs to be “covered” in your class, workshop, or seminar.

9.  They might be younger than you, but they seem to inevitably have years of experience with back-in-the day Blackboard, Moodle, D2L, Canvas, and Sakai.

10.  They will smile wistfully when you mention “learning object repository”.

11.  They will have a really a good idea to finally bring a robust portfolio system to campus.

12.  They will know the difference between a personalized learning environment and an adaptive learning platform.

13.  They are really good at planning meetings.

14.  They will be all about backwards course design.

15.  They will get you to admit that you love your content, but that maybe not all your content is essential for each module.

16.  They will actually understand how to interpret the analytics produced by your campus LMS.

17.  They will be very good at getting you to follow a process and a methodology, even if you hate process and established methodologies and don’t know that you are following one.

18.  They are sensitive navigators of the academic caste system.

19.  They are proficient in navigating the gray areas of building a liminal career.

20.  They will know what “liminal" means.

21.  They believe that technology is a means and not an ends.

22.  They are educators, not technologists.

23.  They are proponents of, and have probably run, an un-conference.

24.  They are the only ones who can reliable make their webcam and microphone work in a webinar.

25.  They are really good at using images in PowerPoint.

26.  The images that they use in their presentations are always cited, and they are always really good.

27.  They all seem to know about The Noun Project.

28.  They will make you question your own skills at presentations.

29.  They not only understand design thinking, they practice it in every aspect of their lives.

30.  They might start a conversation with the question: “How might we….?"

31.  They will be skeptical of MOOCs.

32.  They will have very high levels of social intelligence.

33.  At one point they will say “not to go all instructional design on you....” - and at which point you should listen carefully to what they are saying.

34.  They truly believe that there are no dumb questions, as every question is an opportunity to establish a relationship.

35.  They will be thinking about possibly working towards a terminal degree.

36.  They can probably tell you a good story about the after-parties at past BB Worlds.

37.  There is a good chance that they know how to brew beer.

38.  They Tweet.

39.  They get very excited about formative assessment.

40.  Their presentations are not only available online, they also have been given a CC license.

41.  They have probably taught, and may be teaching now.

42.  They know about an updated version of Bloom’s Taxonomy that you have never heard about - and that is much better than the original.

43.  They are willing to move tables. And they don't think that straight rows should be the default arrangement.

44.  They will create agendas and make lists on any writable surface in a room.

45.  They are impatient with the pace of postsecondary change.

46.  They are willing to invest in long-term campus relationships.

47.  They are academic generalists, comfortable collaborating with faculty across a wide range of disciplines.

48.  They may travel with pipe cleaners, markers, and colored index cards.

49.  They can tell you what LTI stands for.

50.  They are part of the open online leaning movement.

51.  They create the best newsletters and department blogs.

52.  They believe in standards, and can spell and pronounce interoperable.

53.  They are probably involved in an active learning classroom renovation project.

54.  They will have some good ideas about how to have students come to a class that is being recorded by lecture capture.

55.  They will seldom be found in their offices.

56.  They make the best conference posters.

57.  They treat adjuncts and full-professors the same, with equal respect and high levels of service and energy.

58.  They are incredibly busy, but they will always make time to talk with you.

59.  There is never enough of them to meet all the emerging needs around blended and online learning.

60.  They believe in the power of education to change lives.

61.  They love their work.

How do you know when you are talking to an instructional designer?


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