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How I Got Into Instructional Design


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Are you intrigued by the field of instructional design but finding it daunting to navigate your way into it? You're not alone. Many aspiring professionals encounter common obstacles when attempting to build a portfolio and secure their first position in this dynamic and burgeoning field. However, fear not – there's a clear path forward, and I'm here to guide you through it.

Instructional design, with its blend of creativity, technology, and education, offers a promising career trajectory. Despite the challenges, there's a wealth of opportunity for those willing to put in the effort to hone their craft and showcase their skills effectively.

Over the past two and a half years, I've dedicated myself to helping individuals like you overcome these hurdles. Through my blog, YouTube channel, podcast, and community, I've empowered thousands of aspiring instructional designers to achieve success without the need for additional degrees.

So, where do you begin? Let's start by demystifying the process of building a standout portfolio. Whether you're starting from scratch or looking to enhance an existing body of work, I'll provide you with a step-by-step approach that eliminates confusion and maximizes your chances of getting noticed by prospective employers.

From understanding the essential components of a portfolio to identifying the best platforms for hosting your work, I'll equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to showcase your talents effectively. You'll learn how to curate compelling examples of your work, leverage industry-relevant tools and resources, and craft persuasive resumes and cover letters that set you apart from the competition.

But before we dive into the practicalities, let me share a bit of my own journey into instructional design. Like many of you, I initially pursued a career in education, drawn to the idea of shaping young minds through curriculum development. However, after several years in the field, I found myself questioning whether teaching was truly my calling.

Determined to explore new opportunities, I pursued a master's degree in e-learning and instructional design. Though initially daunting, my studies opened doors to exciting possibilities, ultimately leading to a fulfilling career as an instructional designer.

Now, armed with the knowledge and experience I've gained along the way, I'm committed to paying it forward. Through my Harper Method, a comprehensive approach to instructional design, I've created a supportive community where aspiring professionals can access the resources and mentorship they need to succeed.

Joining the Mastermind community offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional education, allowing you to learn at your own pace while connecting with like-minded peers. Together, we'll navigate the complexities of instructional design and empower you to turn your passion for learning into a rewarding career.

In closing, remember that the path to instructional design may have its challenges, but with perseverance and guidance, you can achieve your goals. So, are you ready to take the next step? Let's embark on this journey together and make your dreams a reality.





Hello, and welcome to the eLearning and Instructional Design for Beginners podcast, where new and aspiring instructional designers start, grow, and advance their careers in instructional design and online learning development. I'm your host, Crystal Harper. I'm a former school teacher who transitioned to instructional design, all while working full-time as a single mom. Would you like to become a successful instructional designer without the burden of earning another degree? Well, then let's get started.

So I've come to realize that most people that are trying to get into the field of instructional design have common obstacles when they're trying to build their portfolio. So it can be very confusing completing all the components that are necessary for building a portfolio that gets you noticed and hired. You're probably here because you're trying to land your first instructional design position or you're wishing to learn more about how to get started. Well, instructional design is a continuously growing and upcoming field of the future. This is going to help you with all the struggles that you may be facing when building your portfolio and getting hired in instructional design.

We all ask ourselves questions like, how can I possibly build a portfolio if I don't have any experience and what components do I actually include? And where should I host it? Well, that's what I'm here for. I'm here to help you learn these things because that's what I've been doing for the past two and a half years since 2019 is not only overcome these challenges myself, but I've literally helped thousands of people through my blog. YouTube videos, my new podcast, and through my community become successful instructional designers without having to earn another degree. And I'm really, really passionate about instructional design. And I know that if you just take action and follow the suggestions that you're going to have a smooth and successful transition to a career in instructional design.

Now, many of you have either been trying to build your portfolio or you're wishing to learn more about how to get started. Instructional design is a very rewarding and satisfying career that's high in demand and there are no signs that trends in this rapidly growing career are going to be slowing down any time soon. So during our time together, I'm going to walk you through a step-by-step process to building an instructional design portfolio, even if you have zero experience in the field. No more confusion, wasted time or money, and no more running around looking for the right answers.

This is just actionable information that you can use to effectively build a portfolio that gets you noticed and hired. You're going to learn all the components that should be included in your portfolio, examples and ideas for your instructional design portfolio, tools and resources for creating your portfolio samples.

And also resume and cover letter tips to help you stand out amongst other candidates. Not only will you learn all these things, but most importantly, I'm going to teach you how to take action on these topics and how to have all the tools and resources that you possibly need. to successfully build your instructional design portfolio and land your first job and make your dreams a reality. All right, now first I'd like to kick off a little story as to how I got into instructional design. I think it's really important for context for you to learn who I am and also that busy people with little income can do this. Instructional design is not as nearly as intimidating as it may look from afar. If you're truly passionate about learning and can collaborate effectively in teams, Then this career might just be perfect for you. It's a very common career that many people, especially teachers, have been switching to. In addition, instructional designers make really decent salaries. It's very common that an instructional designer makes a significant amount more than their former teaching salary. So, my journey started when I was a lead teacher at a child development center. I loved, loved creating the curriculum and thought that teaching would be the perfect career path for me.

However, as most things that happened to me in life, I had no idea the true path that I was headed on. After teaching for six years, I noticed how unhappy and exhausted most of the teachers around me were. Not to mention the problems with administration and the multitude of hats that I was expected to fill. On a salary that barely got me to the next paycheck. I slowly began to question my perfect dream of being a teacher that I had envisioned. So I decided to continue my education and I ended up attaining my master's degree in e learning and instructional design at the university of central Florida. In the beginning, I felt way in over my head. I felt as if I was behind on the tech skills. I was confused by all the instructional design jargon and what the heck did SME mean? After my first year at University of Central Florida, I was hired to work with the Director of the Instructional Design Program. I began to feel amazed by how the experiences and knowledge I was slowly gaining throughout the duration of my studies. began to build up much more confidence and assurance that I was finally in the right career path. I ended up graduating on the president's list with my master's degree in e learning instructional design, in addition to a certificate in instructional systems design. After completing my studies, I was immediately hired as an instructional designer. to redevelop and revise graduate level online courses. I truly enjoyed the instructional design process, especially in an adult learning setting. After attaining my graduate degree and becoming an instructional designer, I came to realize that many people who are trying to transition to the field haven't acquired the necessary skills to become successful. I decided to compile all the information that I had ever learned And my studies with my graduate degree, as well as everything that I learned firsthand as a freelance instructional designer and my job as an instructional designer in higher education, all of my knowledge has been placed into an organized layout that I call the Harper method. I created a mastermind community so that I can give new and aspiring instructional designers. all the tools, resources, and support that they need to be successful without the time and money burdens of getting another degree. Being a member of the Mastermind is just a fraction of the cost if you were to get another degree. In addition, you can work completely at your own pace while connected with hundreds of like minded, new, and aspiring instructional designers. Thanks.


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