Category Archives: Instructional Systems Designer

Back to Work.

Today I held my son with one arm and held my briefcase and pump bag on the other arm, I kissed him goodbye and waved at him and his grandmother as I drove off.

I am back at work today and Haddon is staying at home with his paternal grandmother.  I am going home at lunch to feed Haddon.

It has made the transition much easier knowing she is there and he can ease his way into having me gone in his own house.

The past two weeks have been particularly wonderful.  Once I started supplementing with a little formula Haddon was like a new baby!  Slept better, “played” harder, cooed louder, it has been amazing to see.  It could be his age too but either way, we have had fun.

The past three months have been the hardest work of my life.

We have had amazing service bestowed on us through friends and family and I am so ready to glorify God with the work of my hands in my family life and now work life.

I just hope I stay busy at work so I’m not thinking about making funny faces with Haddon all day.  I do miss him but this isn’t as hard as could be expected (so far).  I am looking forward to getting a schedule/routine down each day.  I mean I was up, showered, teeth and hair brushed, both of us fed, etc all before 9 am.  That hasn’t happened in a long time!

C2 set up a mommy room for me to pump which is great, especially considering I had a letdown about 20 min after I got here.

I am praying that my time with Haddon and Micah will be so meaningful and I won’t take a second for granted.

In whatever you do, do it all for His glory.

Be thankful in and for all things and see God’s teachings in everything you do today and every day.

On the agenda for tonight: working out and snuggling.


Shake Up to Wake Up.

An earthquake in Virginia?

I struggle when things get hard sometimes, honestly, I do.

What is each day’s purpose? Am I making an impact? Am I doing enough for the glory of God?

“Why don’t I just go overseas and be a missionary, oh I don’t think I’m ready for that yet, and I certainly don’t want to go to copout of everyday American living, I want to go in obedience to Christ”

I have NO doubt that He used my job to bring us here.  Read about that story here.

Most of the time, I like my job.  I love the commute, the people, etc.

However, the process of client expectations, budgets, deadlines, it all can be messy in my line of work!

 The content of the material is literally challenging me in ways I didn’t know they could. 

  1.  I am not an engineer. 
  2.  I never was good at math. 

My high school friends can validate, I took all the integrated stuff.  Geometry A and then B, cause I couldn’t handle a full load of the course all at once.  Well, in engineering, they do a whole lot more than geometry.  Let me tell you, I’m talking trigonometry, scientific calculators and all.

So yesterday, when the earthquake shook it reminded me to put things in perspective. 

We were in a meeting, talking about rewriting hours of cognitive level 3 scenario based test questions on material that I hardly understand in the first place.  Then we shook a little.

My mind was already shaking, and probably my eyes too on the verge of tears (although I dare not let anyone see that) for feelings of inadequacy and frustration.

The earthquake shook me back to perspective and made me think about eternal things, not temporal things.

Sometimes we need a little shaking to wake up and get a grip on reality.

Here is a dose encouragement from others and Him of true reality:

1. We are to endure and run hard races.  That looks different for all of us and happens in different seasons.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

2. There are different seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build….”

3. We should be humble, about everything.  Our jobs, our family, our ministries, our ambitions, they should be for His glory.

2     Chronicles 7: 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

4. We shouldn’t try to be confident in our own ability any way, it is Him who works in us.

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

5. His ways are so much bigger than we know, and we don’t always know His purpose in things but He who began a work in us will finish it

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

6. Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.  I am not one of those people to get all wrapped up about end times, however, with that said, if God took you today through an earthquake, hurricane, or anything else, do you know where you would spend eternity?  In order for us to spend it with Him we need His son to advocate for us.  So repent, turn from your sins and call upon His wonderful name.

Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,  but the Father only.

What do you need a more eternal perspective on? Is it a job? A relationship? bills? etc.  I pray He will give you one.


A lady in the graduate program I graduated from at James Madison University sent me a questionnaire to help her in a class.  I thought it would be fun to read for anyone that is curious about what I do for 40+ hours a week.  If you’re not curious, don’t read it will bore you 😉


What organization do you work for?

C2 Technologies, Inc.

What is your Job Title?

Instructional Systems Designer I

What is your job description?

Well here are things I do right now…

  • Develop CBT(computer based training) in MANSCEN and C2 Build(different software)
  • Prepare  ITARS
  • Create storyboards to blueprint all aspects of a level 1-3 CBT (script, graphics, interaction, navigation, etc)
  • Participate with quality assurance
  • Coordinate with managers, programmers, and graphic artists to develop training,
  • Develop sound objectives, content, solutions and testing materials to match desired competencies
  • Apply adult instructional themes and principles (ADDIE) in all work
  • Organize work according to deadlines and productivity

 Here is my “real” job description…

  • 3+ years’ experience in Instructional Systems Design.
  • Perform front-end and media analysis for major new development initiatives
  • Develop instructionally sound objectives, content, and testing materials that are mapped to competencies
  • Design training in a variety of media, which may include classroom, online synchronous electronic support systems (EPSS or WBSS), asynchronous reusable learning objects using design tools, video, and html
  • Design storyboards for multimedia programs that serve as blueprints for programmers/web developers, including the conceptualization of graphics, development of audio scripts, program metaphors, user interaction, navigation, and other related elements
  • Apply creative instructional themes and strategies to the delivery medium


What skills and knowledge are needed to perform your job on a day to day basis?

  • Critical Thinking (this certainly depends on your project subject matter, mine is Engineering…it is ideal to have a SME help you think critically about your topics.)  
  • Basic Computer Knowledge (formatting in Word, Excel, etc you want to know all the “tricks”, it will save you a lot of time.)
  • Specific software (we don’t really use Adobe; C2 has its own developing tool.  The client I am working for also has their own.)
  • Creativity (it depends on the scope of the project, but those GA s have talent, use it!)
  • Collaboration (a team usually has a manager, a task lead, a couple ISDs, and a couple graphic artists)
  • Flexibility (oh my do things change, leading to the next one…)
  • Patience (it’s an iterative process… haha remember Dr. Thall’s words!)
  • Confidence but also Humbleness (especially right out of school.  You know things and that is great, but other people have been here longer and have more experience- it’s much wiser to collaborate and work together than be competitive, especially on the same team.  For example, you may be convinced that you have the best way to present something, and a graphic artist may have a different way of creating your screen that will actually be better.  Take advice you like!)
  • Friendliness (sitting at a cubicle, it is easy to get “sucked in” to being antisocial- do things to make sure that doesn’t happen.  For example, I joined the breakfast team here.  People will come to talk to me after they eat say thank you, ask for the recipe, etc.  Since I’m the new girl it gives them a reason to come talk to me, making it easier on everyone! lol) 
  • File Managememt (oh my word, there are so many files!  Make shortcuts to your path.)

Can you give an example of a recent project you have worked on, specifically what the design process looked like for that project?

My project is with the Army Corp of Engineers.  We are taking an old course they have on engineering and essentially updating it by taking training at level 1 to a level 2 and 3 training depending on the content.  We are also putting it in a different presentable format. 

Here is an example of level 1-3 for our course.

  • Level 1 includes minimal user control, rudimentary I/O devices, no simulation, and simple graphics, audio on introductory and transitional screens. 
  • Level 2 includes increased user control, simple graphics/animations, voiceover narration, and may include shot video clips.
  • Level 3 includes increased user control, complex graphics/animation, narration, and scenario/simple simulations.

My current project is 18 months.  So far the process has looked like this: 

  • Proposal
  • Contract writing
  • Schedule creation
  • Individual task analysis report (ITAR)
  • Instructional Media Design Package (IMDP)
  • Storyboards
  • Prototypes
  • Project Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Quality Review
  • Client Review
  • Deliverables

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an instructional designer?

My subject matter has been exceptionally difficult.  I don’t think this will always be the case.  We didn’t have a SME for a long time, so it took me a while to understand even a little about Engineering.  Fortunately, we were provided with a lot of the content material.  However, we write the practical exercises (scenario based activities with level 3 training the learners practice before they take the post-test) and check on learning questions (every 5-8 screens, or after a lesson topic).   

Did you have to learn any new skills in order to perform your job?

Acronyms- everyone talks using them around here!  Haha seriously I have learned so many and I used to have no idea what people were talking about.  No seriously though, I wouldn’t say new skills, absolutely new processes though.  Except if I am learning new software or something that our client has requested, and then obviously we all learn that.

Can you give an example of something specific that you learned in the AHRD program, that you have directly applied to your work?

  1. It is an iterative process.
  2. What is in the scope document or contract is crucial to project negotiation (I remember Dr. Estes saying about a project “well that is outside the scope of what we agreed on”.  Happens all the time in the real world, you want to please your client, but at the same time those two words “time” & “money” are the determining factors).
  3. Research.  Thankfully not in APA format 😉  In some way, shape, or form it happens all the time. 
  4. Writing objectives (“Terminal” and “Enabling” learning objectives because you have to be able to measure whether or not your training was effective enough to teach and have learner’s pass tests from the instruction).