Learning to Fly

Have you ever gotten to that point in the storyboard where you suddenly realize that you don’t know how to achieve the desired effect or interaction? I know I have. Especially early in my career. over ten years ago I worked alongside a more seasoned eLearning designer/developer who saw me struggling with a difficult project. He said, “Why are you so stressed out and trying to reinvent eLearning?”
I said, “I want this eLearning course to be really good.”

He said something I have never forgotten, which I first thought was just an older designer being lazy, “Never add an interaction to your eLearning course that you are not 100% sure you know how to deliver.”

I said, “But don’t we always want to raise the bar and continuously improve?”

He said “Yes, but not while you are supposed to be building your project and meeting or exceeding your project deadlines.” He went on to say, “While you are searching the internet and asking questions online on how to build this particular interaction, who’s working on getting your project done?”

I told him, “nobody.”

“Exactly”, he said, “When you have some downtime work on reinventing the eLearning wheel and add those items to your eLearning tool belt for the next project. When you have a hard and fast deadline, get the job done with the tools that you have right now.”

I learned a lot that day and I think it’s something that we can all learn from. Sometimes I get questions from designers who have taken on more than their current knowledge can produce. My advice is to master the basics before trying to turn your first eLearning into something epic. Don’t worry, you will get there. It just takes time.