At the end of last year, I left full-time employment to go freelancing. It’s been an interesting journey so far, and not at all what I was expecting. I was imagining I was going to be super busy from the get go, with many eLearning contracts heading my way. But what I’ve found is that, starting a business is slow-going. It takes time to develop relationships with clients. They need to be nurtured and they need time to get buy-in from their organisation. I’ve realised it’s going to take time for my business to gain momentum. So, I’ve been using this time to reflect on my goals for the year and think about what skills I want to develop. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Learn how to run a successful business
So my very first goal of the year is to learn how to run a successful business. As time passes, I’ll learn how to manage my book of work and know how much work to accept, so that I don’t have too little or too much. One of the biggest challenges I have, is learning about finance and tax. It’s taken some time to get my head around how it all works. To help with this, I signed up for a free month of LinkedIn Learning to learn more about how to run a successful business. I’m currently completing a course that’s teaching me about marketing and business strategies. It’s super interesting and teaching me a lot!
Keep up-to-date with learning trends
It’s important that I stay up-to-date with industry trends, so I’m able to discuss these confidentially with my clients and put them in to practice. Some trends that I’m going to explore this year include; social learning, virtual reality and micro-learning. I’m looking forward to Learning Technologies at Olympia, London next week, where I’ll see what others think are the big trends for this year.
Learn about xAPI
xAPI is a big buzz word in the learning space. For those that don’t know, it’s a way to track many different types of learning experiences by allowing learning content and learning systems to speak to each other. To learn more about it, I’ve joined the xAPI weekly Learning Cohort Meetings. It’s an opportunity to form teams with other participants and work together on an xAPI project. I’ll be posting more about this experience.
Action mapping is a great instructional design technique. It’s a visual approach to needs analysis and training design. To help learn more about action mapping, I have recently purchased the Map It book by Cathy Moore. I’m looking forward to getting stuck-in and reading this book! I will be posting my thoughts on it, so follow my blog to watch this space.
Discover the best ways to evaluating learning
Kirkpatrick’s model is a useful technique to measure how effective learning is. To learn more about data analytics and how to create impactful ROI, I watched Bruce Cronquist’s recorded session of ‘Metrics and Analytics Are Your Best Proof’ from DevLearn 2017. Bruce explains Kirkpatrick’s model, describes what data is useful to different stakeholders, and explores different ways to collect and measure data. I definitely recommend to watch this recording! The sound is a little fuzzy at the beginning, but don’t worry, it clears up early on. So now before I start any eLearning project, I’ll be asking my clients, “how will you measure the success of the training?”
Learn new tools
As a freelancer, being proficient in a wide variety of tools is very important. I’ve been increasing my knowledge of different authoring tools such as Elucidat – which is one of the best tools I’ve seen for responsive design so far. The next tool that’s on my list to learn, is After Effects, where I want to explore how to create kinetic typography. Kinetic typography is a really cool way to display words, key messages, conversations, quotes or song lyrics.. Check out some cool examples here. Most tools offer a free 30-day free trial. After that you need to decide what tools work best for you and make the investment.
The reason why I have started this blog up again, is to share more with you guys. I want to take you on my freelance journey with me and maybe we can help each other out along the way. I want to share tips and tricks, cool projects, eLearning examples and new tools I learn with you. I’m always interested in what other learning designers are up to, so I hope you too, find my experiences interesting.
So there you have it, my main goals for the year. I hope there’s something you have taken away from this list. I’m interested in hearing what your goals for the year are. Post them in the comments!