Beware of Imposters

I am concerned that some of us are being taken advantage of by instructional design and trainer imposters (I'm sure they're not really imposters because their intent is not to deceive)! My goal is to give you some tips to increase your awareness and enable you to spot possible imposters.

Okay, so I’ve already admitted to paying extra-close attention to anything related to training effectiveness. I’m not apologizing for my keen eye for training effectiveness because of my extra critical eye. That’s a strength for my business. I would just like to see more attention paid to enhancing building instructional design skills.

Lately, I've been seeing advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and in my email inbox for offers to help others “create training.”

Let’s take a closer look at the advertisements. Many advertisements don’t mention how attendees will be able to obtain the knowledge and skills to write measurable, observable, or behavioral-based learning objectives at the end of the “course”. Nor do the advertisements talk about principles of adult learning or choosing the right content based on well-written learning objectives, let alone how to ensure that the learning objectives align with the activities. These two elements are important for effective learning events.

I’d rather people who may not have an instructional design background come to me and say, “Deadra, Please Rescue My Training!” than to continue being imposters!

Just so that you are spending your valuable time on attending events where you can do something with what you learned, here are a few tips to help you start spotting imposters…

FIRST, check their credentials. Does the person offering the training have an instructional design background? Do they have a certification in learning and development? Have you seen their LinkedIn profile to see what they are really about and the landscape of their professional background.

SECOND, look at what they tweet or post in social media. Do they seem to have a true interest or passion in training or learning? If their posts don’t talk about instructional design or skill development, you might want to take a closer look to see if they are qualified to say that they can help you create course content or conduct a workshop.

THIRD, check out their professional circle. Are their professional connections trainers or instructional designers? LinkedIn is a great source for checking on who’s in their circle.

FOURTH, look at group affiliations or who they are following. Chances are if someone is remotely qualified to be an instructional designer or trainer, they will be associated in some way with one of the larger professional organizations such as Association for Talent DevelopmentTraining MagazineTraining IndustryChief Learning Officer, or International Association for Performance Improvement, just to name a few. It’s also a really good sign if they give back to the learning and development industry by volunteering in some way.

These are four definite giveaways that the learning event that you're planning to attend may not be a good use of your time.

Trust me, these four tips really work! I actually used them to see if the presenter, who was offering a free webinar on creating effective online courses, was an imposter. The webinar was excellent! There is hope…she was not an imposter and created an actionable learning event for me.  (Yes, I am always learning how to stay on top of my game!)

Maybe once you spot the imposter, you can suggest that they consider giving their training a check-up or use the newly released But, I’m Not an Instructional Designer! Toolkit. You can also tell them that I offer packages to help them create actionable learning events.

My goal is not to expose the imposters but to make sure that you’re not getting tricked.

Here’s to another episode of Deadra, Please Rescue My Training!