When I decided to study instructional design for my graduate degree, I was looking for a field that involves learning, research, technology, and always changing. I didn’t think that I was entering a new world of knowledge and professional path. When I first started the master’s program at the University of Massachusetts Boston under the college of education and human development, there was a lot of unlearning and learning to do. My bachelor’s and work background are in organizational management and entrepreneurship, so I had to build the mindset of an instructional designer. Thus, I had to wear a new lens, a pedagogical one if I may say.
Why did I do so? Merely because if I wanted to learn, I had to start with a new slate. This was necessary for me to be able to absorb new information without it being filtered through the layers of knowledge and experience I have built over the years, I wanted to marginalize constructivism learning theory at this stage if that is possible. Let me share an example of the importance of this phase, in business we use the term SMEs to refer to small and medium-sized enterprises, while in instructional design we use it to refer to subject matter experts. It’s as simple and confusing as that! The good thing with coming from a different background is that I don’t have to unlearn things in the field itself that I might have learned incorrectly, instead I am starting a new page and getting the proper knowledge on it.
Now after a year in the program and taking seven courses so far, I have come along way, currently, I wear both lenses the business one and the instructional design one, I am happy with the outcomes because learning is part of everything and business as well. I find that both fields complement each other for me. I use business skills such as communication, project management, budgeting, and planning in my instructional design work, and vice versa!
My interest and experience in entrepreneurship are reflected in my choices of projects and topics to work on in my instructional design program. I have a goal of building an open-source learning material for business owners to help them with developing the skills they need to manage their business. This might sound ambitious but it is not impossible.
Yes, I have taken a shift, but I did not press delete! I still use my previous knowledge and experience to develop my unique take on both worlds.
Have you shifted from a completely different field to instructional design? would love to hear about your experience.
Featured image by Sayed Ali on Unsplash