Purnima Valiathan

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No sermons. No lengthy explanations. No lecture.

Just a series of stories laden with facts where I will call upon you, the listener, to draw inferences. So, on that note, let me get started with the first episode in this series –
















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  1. This podcast is inspirational for someone like me who has never worked as an instructional designer before. With several questions as I begin my career as an instructional designer, this podcast will help me with my first project.

  2. This podcast resonated with me so much. Just like the protagonist of this story, I was also fairly an entrant in the field of Instructional Designing and had jitters and butterflies in my stomach when I was assigned my first project. The first project was on Tax, which had completely caught me off-guard, as it was completely technical and unstructured. I felt completely trapped with no room to escape. But that’s when I decided to do my own research and then connect with a subject matter expert. The research helped me so much so that I started seeing some patterns emerging from the content. And then later I connected with the expert to seek some more clarifications. Just like the protagonist, I started approaching things from a learner’s point of view and that really helped me in creating a proper flow and pattern for the course. The most important takeaway from my first project was, that the courses must be learner centric and an ID needs to become a quasi-expert till the time they are engaged in a particular project.

  3. As a complete novice in the field of Instructional Design, listening to this podcast gave me insight into the finer aspects of it. It would be an ode to this podcast when I start working on my first project and be able to use the concepts mentioned.

  4. Infant Jeffy Jone Jeffy25/03/2021 at 11:21 am

    I want more of this and other people probably will too. Very glad that I listened to this podcast way before I start my first project. I’ll find out and apply the concepts of dual coding and patterning in my future project.

  5. I would take the liberty of calling myself a budding Instructional designer. Though I have not landed a pure ID project yet, but during the course of my corporate and training experience, many a times I now feel that I have used ID keeping the learner/customer/audience in mind. The Podcast highlights the central characteristic of an ID – the zeal to learn something new and to never let it go!

  6. This story brought so many memories and took me back to the year I decided to switch from publishing to Instructional Designing. Having spent years designing K-12 material, I was quite apprehensive of the field and its technicalities. My first project gave me the same jitters as received by the protagonist in the story. The material didn’t make sense, I didn’t know how to make a visually appealing storyboard like my peers, I didn’t know what would work, and what would not, and I still have such moments. I am glad I listened to the podcast and realised there’s always a way out! I would also research on the concepts of ‘dual-coding’ and ‘patterning’ and find out how to apply them in my courses. Thank you so much, Purnima! Looking forward to the next episode 🙂

  7. This podcast got me nostalgic. The only difference, I started my career as an SME, and fortunately, my first ID assignment was in the same discipline so the transition was smooth. But the fun began when the familiar life sciences domain changed to complex medical imaging. The compulsive need to know the subject gave me sleepless nights and long hours in a medical college library. It took two years, tons of hard work, and a Brandon Hall award to establish that the person most qualified in the subject need not be the best one to design the learning experience.

  8. I am a technical writer. My first assignment was for a Sales-Marketing process. I had the process on an audio and I had to script the procedure. While I do not remember anything about the process, what I do remember is the blood-stained document I received after the first review. That definitely was not a good start; but what I learnt from that episode was to articulate my writing into What, Why and How of a concept and the delivery mechanism.
    Since then I have worked on many technical tools, but that first document still forms the base of my writing.

  9. This podcast is quite insightful. I have been a fairly recent entrant in the field of Instructional design. In these few months, I have had varied experiences that have helped me learn a lot. My first assignment involved working on the topic, ‘Transformational Change Management’. It was a technical topic for me and hence, seemed a bit tricky. But what I learned from the my experience while working on this project was to think from the learner’s perspective. Once, I could do that, I realised that I had to also consider the value that was added by everything I put in my project assignment. This has helped me immensely with my job as an ID. Thanks for simplifying an important aspect of ID so beautifully in the podcast.

  10. This indeed is a wonderful podcast and stresses so beautifully on the role of an Instructional Designer. In my view they are the unsung heroes/heroines of the L&D world. The podcast gives a sneak peek into the world of ID and busts the myth around jargons. My own experience very recently of writing content helped me move from the “How” to the “What & Why” for the learner. ID in a way is one step towards becoming empathetic to the cause of the learner and am sure the upcoming episodes will only drive home that quality in a more deeper sense. Thank you Purnima

  11. I don’t quite remember the first project that I worked on as an ID since my journey to becoming an ID began quite some time ago as a content developer. I worked under the guidance of several senior IDs and it was only when I started training for an ID certification that I realised I had been exposed to an IDs job even as a content developer. I do remember having a eureka moment about my job being that of a bridge between the expert and the learner, and to this day it is always the intent that drives me in my work as an ID.

  12. Frankly, I just remember the name of my first project (it was such a long time ago) and not specific details. ID was such an alien concept – all I had was a post graduate degree in English, no experience in teaching. However, I think the comprehensive training we received and the support from PMs who empathised with us newbies, made things copable. Confession: I think I understand ID and enjoy it far better now than I did back then. And may I please be allowed to say that ID Mentors played a huge role in this evolution of mine. So thank you, and congratulations on this brilliant podcast!

  13. My first project was to design a module on the topic, Supply chain, a concept that left me at sea as I had no knowledge of Supply chain. I went through the client walkthrough and went through Purnima’s interview about what questions to ask an SME. This prepared me to understand the concept better and I could prepare the design document. Once that was done I could prepare the storyboard. This podcast introduced two concepts that I intend using dual coding and patterning. Thanks Purnima.

  14. Dual-coding and patterning-two important takeaways for me! What I have repeatedly experienced as an ID is that it comes naturally to humans. Like you said, the brain automatically tries to find meaning through patterning. Sometimes, novice IDs don’t realise that they are applying ID principles. My eureka moment was exactly that. In my first job as an ID, I got trapped in content development cycle. I almost felt that I have entered a wrong field. Only after a formal ID training, I realised that I was doing ID all the time. That feeling was so empowering!

  15. This podcast resonated so much with me! I clearly remember my first project – I had to design a guide on networking essentials! The topic was so technical that I experienced the imposter syndrome. How am I equipped to write on this topic? Should I give up? There were so many questions I had. That’s when i decided to look at the topic like a learner. I spent several hours researching the fundamentals before talking to the SME. Slowly, like you mentioned, Purnima, a pattern emerged. A visual of the course formed in my head. It was almost like a living being! As I joined the dots, put in missing pieces based on SME discussions, and finally looked at the design document I created, there was a sense of accomplishment. Of course, the document went through several changes based on SME and client discussions. But I was happy because I had walked in the learner’s shoes and writing the course did not seem as overwhelming as it had earlier.

  16. My first project was designing a Train the Trainer program. My learning leader shared an excel sheet and asked me to prepare a content outline. I was confused because I was wondering why we didn’t start with a PowerPoint presentation right away. When I prepared the content outline and discussed it with my learning leader, I understood the importance of a training design. I learnt how to create a program flow and choose appropriate methodologies depending upon the sub-topics. The most important learning was to keep the learner in the center while designing the course and think like a learner.

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