What I knew of instructional design when I began the program almost three years ago was solely from my own readings about the field, testimony from a close friend who had completed GMU's program and was working as an instructional designer, and GMU's own materials. What I found was a far richer experience than what I anticipated. The theories and ideas I learned and have to put into practice have forever altered my interactions with the world. When I started the program, I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do when I "grew up." While now I am not sure that anyone truly ever knows what they want to do, my interests have coalesced around implementing technology in the workplace to streamline business processes and training end users on how to best use that technology for their and their employer's benefit. I now have a better understanding of how and why people learn the way that they do and how to best facilitate instruction. I have tools in my kit now that I did now even know about three years ago. Furthermore, I have a better idea of where and how to start looking if I need to add tools going forward. Since graduation from the program is truly just a stop on my journey, and not the destination, I have crafted several goals to chart my next steps.

Academic Goals

I truly believe that learning should not stop just because one is not pursuing a degree or certificate. With that in mind, I have several "academic goals" as stated below.

  • Catch up with and complete the full year's worth of assignments for Code Year
  • Continue to develop my knowledge of instructional design trends and research as new technologies are developed and incorporated into learning and training

Professional Goal

My career thus far has not followed the "typical" path that one might see from other instructional designers. As I finish my degree and look to the future, I want to leverage my knowledge as an instructional designer and my career thus far working in client service focused roles toward developing and delivering instruction and training as a full-time instructional designer. In my current role, I intend to work with our programmers to streamline the user interface for our existing pension benefits management system as we transition from a bare-bones system intended solely to track participants, retirees, and employer contributions to a system that also functions as a contact management and workflow system with the goals from streamlining our operations to improve service to the participants, retirees, and contributing employers.

Life-Long Learning Goal

Immersion in the instructional design community at George Mason University showed me the importance of continually developing one's skills and knowledge. As such, I will continue to seek out new ideas and skills to further my own knowledge and will be generous in sharing my skills and knowledge with others.

Stated Goals from EDIT 601

  • Take EDIT 573 - Project Management Tools (scheduled for Summer 2011)
  • Take EDIT 701 - Advanced Instructional Design and Development (IDD) Portfolio (scheduled for Fall 2011)
  • Take EDIT 732 - Analysis and Design of Technology-Based Learning Environments (scheduled for Fall 2011)
  • File paperwork for e-Learning Graduate Certificate Program (during Fall 2011)
  • Take EDIT 752 - Design and Implementation of Technology-Based Learning Environments (scheduled for Spring 2012)
  • File graduation paperwork during Spring 2012
  • Transition into a new job as an Instructional Designer either as full-time employee or as a contractor
  • Becoming involved in the local chapter of the American Society for Training & Development