Hey everyone, it’s time for another Inspirational Nugget. I’ve been participating in some great professional development classes and watching lots of TED Talks lately, so I have been doing more introspection than normal. I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the daily grind, both at work and at home, and I know how easy it is to lose track of time and forget what it is that drives us. For this reason, today’s Inspirational Nugget is “Analyze Yourself.”
Analyze Your Work
I’m not a licensed psychiatrist, so let’s stick to ways to analyze yourself at work. In fact, let’s start with analyzing the work you do. As an eLearning Instructional Designer, most of the work I create is an eLearning module or training program. To analyze my work could mean looking at how I initiate a project, how I brainstorm and storyboard, how I build the module, or how I arrange for my projects to be reviewed. Yikes, that’s a lot to analyze! Perhaps we should just stick with analyzing the actual training modules.
Review Past Projects
Pause for a moment and try to count all of the eLearning modules (or videos, or training manuals, or instructor-led classes, or other related end-products) that you have produced in the past year or maybe since you’ve been in your current role.
- When was the last time you went through one of those end-products from start to finish?
- Are you proud or embarrassed or just meh about any of them?
- If you are meh or embarrassed about any of them, what can you do to improve them?
- If you are proud of any of those projects, can you add them to your professional portfolio?
- What did you like about the projects you’re proud of and what can you borrow for future projects?
Once you’ve finished with a project, by all means step away from it and move on to whatever’s next. But don’t let that be the end of it. A good practice is to occasionally review past projects to make sure they’re still accurate and relevant. Take note of common themes, images, or layouts that you’ve used to try something new or remind yourself of what works.
Evaluate How You Work
Now think about when you’re actually building your training module.
- Do you often forget to change a particular setting or include an essential element?
- Have you ever thought to yourself “Ugh, I forgot to do that step again”?
- Do you feel like you’re constantly doing the same thing over and over again?
Most eLearning software applications allow for endless customization. It’s great for creativity and variety, but not so great for consistency of functionality. Just one checkbox could change how a module plays or functions.
When you’re building an eLearning module, take note of steps you often forget and create a help document to walk you through those steps. If you’re often rebuilding the same object or module element, create a slide with reusable elements or take advantage of the various Master Slide and template options available in most software. Be honest about where you often make mistakes and be proactive about preventing those mistakes. Create post-it note reminders and take screenshots of all the settings you need for the training to work.
Compare Reports and Data
The last thing you can analyze about your work would be actual data, which does require at least some type of Learning Management System. Not everyone has access to the type of data that can help improve your training, but it’s important to at least know that it could help.
- Can you compare the number of people who were supposed to complete the training and who actually completed it?
- How can you improve that number?
- Have you ever used surveys to gauge how effective your training is?
- Create a survey for immediately after the training is completed for initial reactions.
- Send out a second survey a few weeks after the training is completed to determine if the training was effective.
Analyze Your Work Style
Hopefully some of the tips for analyzing your work gave you some ideas of where you can start making improvements in your processes. The next thing we’re going to analyze is the reason behind why you may make the same mistakes or struggle with the same aspects of your work.
If you’ve never completed a personality assessment, I highly recommend you do some research and find an assessment that sounds interesting to you. There are many types to choose from, all with a different focus. I have taken a few different types of assessments over the years and I always learn something new about myself. Whichever one you choose, keep an open mind and be honest.
For every personality strength, there’s an area where you might feel challenged or uncomfortable. I hesitate to use the word “weakness” here, because you might excel in this area but just feel drained afterwards. Your profile could help you recognize when and where you might struggle and even how to overcome those hurdles.
Assess How You Communicate
Many of the assessments also provide insight into how we communicate. Our personalities drive how we communicate with others and how they communicate with us. The profile put together through the assessment process could provide suggestions for how to communicate with others, based on your respective profiles.
I’ve provided descriptions of a few assessments below that I have taken. Keep in mind that a full profile could be costly, so try out a free option and see if it’s right for you. If you want to do the full assessment, you may need to put together a proposal for bringing the program to your team.
- Emergenetics – Produces a profile based on 4 major quadrants: Analytical, Structural, Conceptual, and Social. Combined with expressiveness, assertiveness, and flexibility, you can learn about how you make decisions and work with others.
- DiSC – Maps out your profile based on how direct or indirect you communicate and if you prefer to focus on people or tasks when you communicate. Knowing if your profile lands in the Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, or Conscientiousness areas could help you communicate more effectively.
- Strengths Finder – Lists top strength and behavior themes from a list of over 30 themes. The longer list of themes allows for more specific insight into how you think, work, and collaborate.
Have you done one of the assessments mentioned here? What was the most interesting thing you learned about yourself? Do you have suggestions or thoughts on analyzing your own work? Tell us in the comments below.