Learning and development pros come in all shapes and sizes, and often from very different backgrounds from an instructional design and even philosophical standpoint. But, no matter their instructional model of preference, personal viewpoint, and go-to communication style, there’s a lot to be learned from all different types of learning content creators.
We thought it would be fun during these challenging times to create some classic learning designer profiles and see where you categorize yourself and your colleagues; (I, for one, am a Free Spirit Thinker).
While we had a good time putting these profiles together, you can take them a step further toward serious analysis by thinking of them as conversation starters for your team. What makes you think, discuss, and consider content creation? What do you need to be best supported for success and how in turn can you offer that support to the training professionals in your sphere?
Here we go. What awesome L&D archetype are you? And what about your peers? They’re all good, just different, so keep an open mind to make the most of your skills and of those around you.
The Old School Cool
The Old School Cool is a lot of things, but “out of touch” isn’t one of them! These learning designers are focused on performance, delivering stellar content from their vast wealth of experience. They’re storytellers, able to paint a picture with words. Able to multi-task like a boss, the Old School Cool is a standout project manager and will deliver on time and on budget. As avid content consumers themselves, they’re well-connected in their L&D networks and should be a first stop call in anything content design related!
Key skills: problem-solver, performance-oriented, all-around savvy writer
How you can support them: These are the learning designers who love collaborating, creating, and communicating. Strong and consistent communication with them, especially now, will go a long way toward getting high performance results from Old School Cools. Give them the opportunity to run webinars and share their knowledge, interact with like-minded people, and stay connected.
The Techie Teacher
Aside from a lifelong love of tech, these guys are curious about how technology and psychology play into online learning and are VERY organized. List-lovers from way back, you’ll find their projects color-coded, whether it’s digital or on paper! The Techie Teacher is always ready to think outside the box and create new ways of engaging and interacting, drawing on their vast knowledge of UX, LX, CX and are all-around X-citing people to have on your team. When it comes to training, the digital world is their oyster.
Key skills: knowledgeable, organized, flexible, not afraid to get creative
How you can support them: Ensure they’re given ample opportunity to stay connected virtually. Remember, the Techie Teacher will thrive in a digital environment, so make sure they’re given the support they need to keep networking and improving their digital skills while distanced from their team.
The Alpha Designer
The Alpha is your go-to learning designer for the most challenging content briefs. Always on board to step up and go the extra mile, they thrive on challenges, solving difficult problems, and making the tough decisions. Project management is their biggest strength and they know how to get results!
Key skills: problem-solver, critical thinker, determined, delivers with confidence
How you can support them: As someone who gains a lot out of face-to-face interactions, the Alpha Designer may be feeling disconnected lately. Help them make the best of their distance learning situation by giving them autonomy to spearhead a new project; they’ll have peace of mind if they can take control of something concrete.
The Silent Wizard
The Silent Wizard knows how to “work their magic” but are truly humble achievers. They don’t like to toot their own horn, but they will share their knowledge if asked! You definitely want a Silent Wizard on your team; their insights are very valuable. Perfectionists at heart, they will always hold themselves to the highest possible standard and use theory and precision to deliver innovative content.
Key skills: patient, modest, dedicated, creates with precision
How you can support them: The Silent Wizard can be prone to feelings of self-doubt, which can be exasperated by working from home in isolation. Make sure they stay digitally connected to their team and others across your organization. It won’t hurt to give them a little recognition and reward for their hard work and dedication; show them how their courses have helped learners and keep them well-supplied with digital resources.
The Free Spirit Thinker
Free Spirit Thinkers are so fun to be around! They’ll get playful with course content, without making light of it. Not afraid to experiment with new ways to engage learners, Free Spirit Thinkers are often responsible for creating content that sticks with us long after we’ve checked the “course complete” box. If you’ve got some complex content that seems like it would never fit into a 25-minute or shorter course, the Free Spirit is ready and willing to come up with some creative and impactful learning!
Key skills: Creative, innovative, imaginative, able to harness the power of visuals
How you can support them: Keep them engaged by sending creative content to consume at home or via video. Free Spirit Thinkers will apply this knowledge to their role and find a way to deliver a little extra fun into their content creation if they’re consistently exposed to new ways of thinking.