Staying Up to Date with Instructional Design Skills

I recently came across a question posted on the eCube LinkedIn forum that I responded to. While the question was how a person in between jobs could keep their instructional design skills up to date, I think it is important even for those with the jobs to keep their skills up to date.

How can an experienced Instructional Designer with very limited experience in current instructional design software tools update their skills in order to be recognized and considered as a candidate for e-Learning positions? How does a person in transition keep their instructional design skills up to date in order to effectively compete for instructional design jobs in today’s job market?

Start reading a lot of blogs by other experts and connect with other learning professionals through your comments. It is always hard to know which blogs to follow. Here are the blogs that I follow, or you could also browse through the blogroll on this site.

Twitter is another great tool for connecting with others. This will give you an insight into what’s happening in the industry and help you stay up to date.

If you are up to it (and I strongly recommend that you do make an effort), my advice would be to start writing a blog to articulate your learning. Your blog will be a useful showcase in your job interviews (I am of course assuming that you will write about learning/instructional design).

I would also recommend that you learn various tools used in elearning. These tools are usually easy enough to get started and learn on your own. You could easily work with the demo versions of the latest tools and to get your hands dirty.

Creating your elearning portfolio will also be useful to showcase your capabilities. Tom Kuhlmann makes a compelling case for creating your elearning portfolio.

And if you are indeed in between jobs and want to stay up to date, I would advice you to start picking up small freelance assignments. No better way to stay in touch with what’s happening in the industry by actually being hands on.