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Out of the Comfort Zone: A Reflection of Instructional Technology and Design Tools


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Have you ever been pushed out of your comfort zone? You know that feeling you get of all the nerves and anxiety when you have to meet someone new, present during a meeting, or use technology. We have all been at a point in our Instructional Design careers where we have been pushed out of our comfort zones, whether from doing research, presenting during a meeting, using unfamiliar technology, or meeting new people. I know that this is a period of growth and conformity. Stretching those comfort boundaries allows us to grow as professionals while also strengthening our skills. Technologies are constantly changing so we, as instructional designers, must be able to adapt to those changes. Some confusion at times is normal. What follows is a glimpse into that realm.

One of the major areas which brings me out of my comfort zone is selecting and evaluating appropriate technologies to use in various design work. Technology is constantly changing. This puts me way outside of my comfort zone on many occasions. Change is hard. Technology change for me seems to be even harder. Learning how to evaluate and select appropriate technology for use within a lesson or program is such an important skill to have though. I had to learn how to be comfortable with selecting and evaluating technology. I did this by repeating the process over and over. I was able to research what questions to ask when it comes to selecting and evaluating the appropriate technology to implement. The very first question, and sometimes the most important is what is the learning objective? I can't accurately select the correct technology if I don't know the learning objective. Other questions I know to ask include the following: Who is the intended audience? What type of content do I want to include and how do I want to deliver that content? What frameworks and models regarding technology will work best within this realm? What resources are available for the technology I choose? Am I familiar with this technology? Will it require gaining a new skill set? Is this technology up to date? Are there other resources to be used that would be more beneficial? How will I receive feedback regarding the technology tools implemented? What media and technology tools are best for your instructional design (2024) is a great article discussing the very steps on selecting technology tools and the evaluation process. I learned asking questions and doing my own research adds value to the process and makes me feel a bit more at ease. It's like stepping stones in the process of instructional design. Learning to ask yourself these questions, or questions in any process of instructional design, not only adds personal value but professional value to the instructional design field.

Looking at myself as having value during the process of evaluating and selecting technology was most definitely out of any realm I had ever done before in the professional world. I mean how can you have value during a process you are out of your comfort zone with? I mean let's be honest. Who walks around telling themselves "Oh I am so valuable to this.." We all add value to the instructional design world within our careers. We all have something to offer, even while out of our comfort zones, in our own unique way because we are growing and expanding our skills. That adds value to ourselves and to the instructional design field. Some instructional designers are better at the design aesthetics. Some are better at the technology aspect. Some are better with instructional materials. We all hold our own value and offer it up to our field even when we ourselves don't feel that value.

Over time, I have become more comfortable with technology use and evaluation. I know what questions to ask now. I know how to research the various technologies once I find the answers to my questions. There are days I still feel out of my comfort zone, but those are the days I make a phone call to a trusted subject matter expert, ask a instructional design colleague, or do some research using the above tools to feel more at ease with the process and less out of my comfort zone. Why? I do this because I want growth! I want growth as a professional and as a person.

Reference:

Train the Trainer, LinkedIn. (2024). What media and technology tools are best for your instructional design. Retrieved April 6, 2024.


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