Updated: Dec 30, 2019
As a freelance Instructional Designer, it's easy to get wrapped up in your work and a simple routine of what you've found that works. We may not be in the office as much or exposed to other learning and development colleagues, so it could be easy to get stuck in a rut, taking your tried and true methods and recreating them with different clients and different projects. But as a freelancer, it's even more critical that we stay up to date with the latest and current industry trends.
So what can we do to avoid this trap? An ancient proverb states: "The plans of the diligent surely lead to success." And with the new year right around the corner, many are thinking about goals they may set for themselves. Here are some goals that I've personally made for myself recently.
1. Participate in the weekly Articulate Challenges
Articulate hosts a weekly Articulate Challenge that allows Instructional Designers to expand their creativity, develop new skills, and receive feedback from other designers. These are also great ways to create demos for your portfolio or website, especially if you're unable to share what you create for clients. Many designers participate in these on a weekly basis. As much as I'd love to do that, I don't feel it's realistic for me. So my personal goal is to participate in one challenge at least every other month. If I'm able to keep up with that, I'll have six extra demos I can add to my portfolio by the end of the year.
2. Read more blog posts / Listen to more podcasts
Reading the blogs of or listening to podcasts from other industry leaders and colleagues is a great way to stay up to date with the latest and greatest learning trends. It allows you to know what the hot topics are, new or trending theories, and obstacles others are running in to. It also keeps you current with industry lingo, which is easy to lose while you're out there on your own as a freelancer. Over the years, I found myself unsubscribing from many blogs as my inbox got more and more cluttered, so this this year I'm resubscribing to some and making more of an effort to stay up to date with them.
I asked some of my colleagues at eLearningheroes what blogs and podcast they enjoy and got the following responses.
Read these blogs:
Listen to these podcasts:
3. Write more blog posts
Creating a blog is a great way to share your knowledge and what you've learned with others. It also builds your reputation as a designer, gives you more visibility within the industry and attracts clients. And it's a great learning tool for yourself. As you continue to develop in your career as an ID, you'll learn new theories or design concepts or ideas. Writing about these not only helps you to expand on what you've learned, but also helps with retention. My personal goal is to write at least one blog per month, so that I can have a continual and regular online presence.
So those are my three goals at the moment. Other goals I tossed around were attending more webinars, joining and attending more professional networking groups, reading more industry-related books, etc. But I want to keep my goals at a manageable level so I don't feel overwhelmed, and three seems to be pretty reasonable for myself. What goals do you have going forward? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!