In the summer of 2010 I made the wise decision of pursuing certification in Instructional Design. I was still somewhat new to the training world and I had just started one of my first big contracts at a high-tech company. I was also at a crossroads in my career, since making the decision that I didn’t want to purse teacher’s college. I knew I was doing “training” at the job I held at the time , but I didn’t know specifically which job title I wanted to pursue. Training instructor? Web developer? Project manager? There are so many options!
The person leading the project I was working on at the tech company was an Instructional Designer. After gaining an understanding of what her job involved, I quickly decided that’s what I wanted to be. I looked online into which courses or certificates were available. Right away came across the name Langevin Learning Services. Their website is very professional and easy to navigate. It provides a lot of information and details about what each course entails. This is great because there’s no guessing about what you are signing up for, all the topics you’ll be covering are listed right there.
When you’re getting certified by an organization other than a well-known university or college, you want to make sure that it’s legitimate and that the certificate will actually be worth something on your resume. So I read reviews and quickly established that they were a completely legitimate organization that was well-respected and recognized in their industry. So I signed up for my course: Instructional Design for New Designers.
My instructors’ name was Alan Magnan and I am pretty that, hands down, he is the best instructor I have ever had for a course! And I have spent 3 years in university and have taken more than a few college courses, so I have had several instructors. Of course, Alan has a lot of responsiblity resting on his shoulders because Langevin’s job is to teach you how to make a great course. If they can’t deliver a great course, how are you supposed to trust them to pass on the appropriate skills? Luckily, that’s not a problem with Alan.
The course was three days and with Alan as an instructor, the three days flew by. I am the kind of person who sometimes has a very short attention span. I have a tough time focusing for a long time, so sitting in a classroom for 8 hours for three days can be taxing for me. I’ll start doodling and daydreaming. This is impossible with Alan; he is very engaging and lively. He has clearly spent some time honing his craft and refining his material because all the scenarios and examples he uses are perfectly suited to the situation and very easy to remember. I actually remember the details of at least three or four different detailed stories he told us, to relate concepts to life. He did a really great job of keeping the pace going, of being funny but not too corny and of keeping everyone interested.
The course covers a variety of topics, but they are all relevant and important for someone becoming an instructional designer. There’s no “fluff” or “theory” or extra stuff that makes you walk away thinking:”I didn’t need to know that!”. First of all, our instructor Alan went over all the topics we would be covering at the start of the course. He then had each of us learners individually assign priorities to all the tasks. Turns out, a lot of us thought the same things were important to cover. Alan then focused more time on what we, the learners, thought was most valuable.
Because there’s no “fluff” or useless information, this leaves more time to focus on a wide range of important topics. We covered planning instructional design projects, prioritizing job tasks, working with subject matter experts, the principles of adult learning and much more. You walk away really feeling like you’ve really learned a lot.
Tasks and Teamwork
A Langevin Learning Services course is not at all about sitting at a desk and listening to someone talk for the whole day. Every single topic that is covered has a task or activity associated with it. When you cover planning instructional design projects, you will actually plan an instructional design project. When it comes time to learn how to prioritize tasks, you will do an activity where you prioritize tasks. And all the activities are very relevant and are perfect examples of techniques you can use when you go back to the workplace.
Also, we were often divided into teams and did small competitions and fun activities against each other, which was fun and good for the people who have a competitive side (me!). The teamwork activities were actually interesting and engaging, not lame. It was also a good way to meet some other people in the industry and to do some professional networking.
Helpful Documentation & Post-Course Support
During the course we received a really great (thick!) book, which was a step by step of each lesson we covered. It’s a bit more tattered and torn now, but my copy lies on the top of my book pile in my cube at work. I reference it often! It’s great because it’s filled with tons of valuable information like how to do a task analysis, tips for writing learning objectives, methods for designing tests, techniques for measuring performance, industry ratios for training development, matrixes for measuring your own development ratios, and a lot more. It’s nice that you can keep all the information, neatly compiled in this book.
Langevin Learning Services also offer post-course support for the people who take their courses. For a year after I took my course, I had the option of sending my training materials to Langevin Learning Services for a quick review or I could contact them for questions I have about how to do a process. It’s really great that they offer this kind of support to the people who take their courses! This shows that they really care about their learners. Of course, they also want the people who have the Langevin name on their resumes to provide quality work and materials, since this reflects well on their name.
I recommend Langevin Learning Services to anyone who is interested in getting their certification in Instructional Design. The course I took with them was really engaging and I learned a lot. The instructor was terrific and the documentation and post-course support they offered is really valuable and helpful. I have heard only good things about Langevin when I’ve discussed them with other instructional designers and training developers.
They offer several other courses that I am interested in taking including a one-day Task Analysis course and the three-day Web Based Training course. As soon as I move into my new house, get settled in and used to paying a mortgage (ha!), taking one of these courses is my next priority.
Have you taken a course or certificate with Langevin Learning Services? If so, leave a comment and share your experience with others!