“It’s something I wish I had known existed when I was in university,” says Georgia Carley with a laugh. “I didn’t find out about it until after my PhD graduation!”
But that didn’t stop Georgia from leaping into a career as an instructional designer.
“Instructional design is the non-academic, non-school realm of teaching and learning,” she explains. “It involves any sort of job related learning such as if you’re working in a bank—how do you protect your client’s privacy? Or new-hire training—how do you greet your customers?”
Georgia works with TuesdayAfternoon Media. Her clients range from financial institutions to grocery chains. She’s even worked with a municipality that needed provincially mandated training on privacy protection and freedom of information.
“The training was going out to every employee of the municipality—from the teenagers hired as lifeguards for the summer to the top levels. It had to speak to everyone and it had to get across some very specific legal information about protecting privacy and freedom of information. We had to find a way to make all this information applicable to everyone. We didn’t want them thinking this doesn’t apply to me, because it does.”
It seems like a giant leap from Georgia’s time in the halls of academia to working in the world of corporate training. It is. At King’s she took the Early Modern Studies Program (EMSP). That led her to a Master’s degree at Trent University and then a PhD at Queen’s. She also created and taught a course on the history of First Nations in North America at that university. She didn’t know it at the time but it was giving her some valuable experience for later.
When Georgia finished up at Queen’s she began looking for work. She still didn’t know about instructional design. Then she heard about TuesdayAfternoon Media.
“This is the classic millennial job story. A friend’s husband had a job with TuesdayAfternoon media…“ and before long Georgia got a job there, too, and earned her professional certification. She loves the work.
“The reason I think it is super cool is that I get to do a lot of research. If a company wants training for new employees I have to know what the company is, what its culture is, how it uses various systems. I have to learn everything to do the instructional design—creating the power points, the e-learning, the webinars, that kind of thing.”
Georgia credits King’s for both her success and her enjoyment of instructional design.
“In EMSP we learned how to look at a large amount of information and find connections, then distil them down into key points and write clearly about them.
And often that requires using the language or terminology of the material itself. You learn to write in different styles or at least with different vocabularies. This is important in corporate training. I have different clients who use different words or terms—do they have clients, or customers or patrons? And they have different communications styles. How many contractions do they use? Do they have a light and breezy tone or are they serious? Do they use the Oxford comma?”
While Georgia says she can draw a straight line connecting her time at King’s to TuesdayAfternoon Media making that step from the life of an academic to that of an instructional designer was a little wobbly.
“It was challenging when I first started,” Georgia admits, “ but challenging in a good way. It was different, but it’s that process of curiosity that led me through it. It’s a bit like starting at university as an undergrad, learning how to write a Foundation Year Program (FYP) essay for instance. It’s all new. But I like to learn.”
Posted: June 2020