As a leader with experience hiring Instructional Designers (ID), there are three tips I find myself giving to every ID who asks for feedback on their resume.
The most common response I receive is "What's a learning outcome? Do you have an example?" In this post we'll explore where to find quantifiable learning data, compare learning outcomes vs. outputs, review how to create an effective layout, and identify what hiring managers like myself look for in a portfolio.
What is a learning outcome?
Instructional Designers help to solve business problems. This is the value we create for an organization. We show this value by measuring the effectiveness and impact of our learning solutions. These are known as outcomes. Your resume should be a reflection of the outcomes you've helped to achieve for an organization. It's the best way to show the value you'll bring to your next team.
Hiring managers want to see the impact that you've created in the past so they can imagine the impact you'll achieve for them. Unfortunately many of us fill our resumes with job responsibilities and lists of training materials we've created. These are known as outputs. Outputs are the modules, videos, tools, and programs you've created to solve a business problem (a.k.a, achieve an outcome).
Learning outcomes vs. outputs
Here's a simple example of a learning output vs outcome.
Output: Re-designed the Customer Service Representative (CSR) onboarding curriculum by converting instructor led content to elearning modules.
Outcome: Reduced time to onboard CSRs by two weeks while maintaining new hire proficiency standards. We converted 80 hours per new CSR spent in training to time spent supporting customers. In 2019 we returned over 2,000 hours to Operations. Our courses received an average 4.5-star quality rating (out of 5) and the curriculum achieved an overall Net Promotor Score (NPS) of 70.
Notice the difference? The outcome provides quantifiable data showing the impact of training outputs provided to the organization.
I don't have outcomes!
Maybe measuring learning outcomes isn't a requirement at your organization or your team is working up to that capability. Either way, I'm sure you can find some quantifiable information to share. Here are a few avenues to start searching for the information you need.
Example outcomes and quantifiable outputs
The following list contains examples of outputs with quantifiable information and outcomes. I've highlighted what I consider the most important component in each.
Optimize your layout
Refreshing the content of your resume isn't the only way to improve your chances of getting an interview. According to an eye scanning study by The Ladders in 2018 most resumes are scanned for about 7.4 seconds in an F or E pattern. This means that recruiters and hiring managers are quickly scanning the top of your resume , from left to right, before moving their eyes down the left side of the page for relevant information. When they find something relevant they move their eyes across the page to the right, forming an F or E pattern. Repeating this process until they are finished. You can use this research to your advantage.
"they (recruiters) scanned the left side of the resume evenly, picking out titles and reading supplementary information as necessary." The Ladders
Capitalize on recruiter and hiring manager scanning patterns by doing the following.
Here's the layout and actual summary I use for the top of my own resume. The Achievements are taken from the examples above.
Should you have a portfolio? Yes. Whether it's real or full of imagined sample projects, a hiring manager will want to see the type of work that you are capable of creating. A strong portfolio gives them a visual representation of your work.
Three tips based on portfolios I've reviewed.
As an Instructional Designer you have the ability to create immense value for your organization. Make sure that you are taking the time to capture that value to promote the work of your team and your own career. Here's a quick recap and some resources to help you enhance your resume.
1. Start measuring outcomes
If you're not measuring outcomes today, that's OK! Develop a plan and start now. Here are some resources to get you started.
With COVID-19 disrupting the economy, I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of resources that fellow learning professionals can use to build, maintain, and enhance their skills while on furlough, looking for work, or if you have extra time. The following lists provides access to application free trials, recommended books that have helped me with my own career growth and development, links to some blog posts that you may find helpful, and other resources.
I'll update this post as I find more resources to share.
Please note, I'm not an affiliate reseller so I'm not making any money off of the following.
Free Application Trials and Tutorials
The following authoring and video editing tools offer free trials that you can use to build, maintain, and enhance your skills.
Free Courses and Programs
Some great content has been made available recently. I'll keep updating as I find them.
Free Industry Reports
Stay up to date on the latest research and findings by industry leading organizations.
Here are some additional reports from 2019.
Suggested Reading List
Here are some books that have improved my capabilities as a leader and learning professional. They're not all directly learning related but I've read each of them and found them to be great resources that I go back to time and time again.
Here are a few blog posts I've written that you may find helpful to develop your skills, read up on learning industry trends, achieve better training outcomes, and connect with other professionals in the learning and talent development field.
I've found the following sites to be useful in terms of providing me with consistent, quality, information pertaining to the learning and talent development field.
I hope that you find some value in these resources. If you have questions or want to connect, I'm happy to do so. Drop me a line!
A few years ago I was given some feedback that I really took to heart. I was told that If I wanted
to influence change and affect or set strategy within the organization that I would need to be seen as a thought leader. At first I wasn't sure what to make of that feedback. My immediate thought was something akin to "Great, now I have to become the next Josh Bersin or Richard Branson if I want to make a real impact".
Steppping out of my fixed mindset, I did a little research to see what being a thought leader was all about. What I found is that it's not just about popularity or fame, there's much more to it than that.
"Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success." Denise Brosseau of Thought Leadership Lab
The first step in becoming a thought leader is to be informed about what's going on in the learning industry. To that end, I've compiled a list of five free reports on industry trends from 2017 to 19.
Free industry reports:
The following repots can be accessed either directly or by submitting your information to the website first. A small price to pay for access to some great information. I've included a one or two sentence summary about each and one key take away to help you determine if you're interested in learning more.
Combining the insights from the above reports along with your expertise and knowledge should allow you to form some thoughts on how you can enhance your learning organization. Use this as base from which you can generate innovative ideas to solve the challenges faced by your company.
Additional industry reports for purchase
If you are interested in doing some more research you can access additional reports from the following organizations.
What am I missing?
Please share the sites and research, for purchase and free, that you use to learn about the latest trends in the learning industry.
My wife planned an amazing get away to Ocean City NJ this weekend. We spent two whole days on the beach relaxing and soaking up the sun. It was a sorely needed break from our normal day to day activities with our kids, chores, house and work projects. Lucky for us, on day two we happened to set up our chairs on the beach designated for surfing. We observed class after class of new surfers learning how to surf. The instructors gave direction, then brought their students into the water to practice and apply what they learned. Every time a student caught a wave the instructors enthusiastically cheered them on.
As we watched, I told my wife that I loved watching people learn new skills. That I had a real appreciation for these students as they would fall off the board and then swim back into the surf and keep trying. It reminded me of some research that I had done on having a growth mindset and using the 70/20/10 model to craft a development plan. She reminded me that we were supposed to be on vacation. Fair point. =)
If you're not on vacation and are interested in learning how to craft a solid plan to achieve your development goals (surfing or otherwise) read on! As a bonus I'll include a development goal of my own as an example so you can see the process in action.
Engaging people leader and accomplished Instructional Designer with over 15 years of experience creating effective learning solutions and building innovative learning teams.
© John Parsell and johnparsell.com, 2018 - 2022.