Cammy Bean is Kineo’s VP of Learning Design, an avid blogger, and a respected authority on Instructional Design. She recently wrote a thoughtful guide to pathways into instructional design in an article for Learning Solutions magazine titled “The Accidental Instructional Designer.” Here is some additional insight into what makes this eLearning beacon tick.
Q: You are a prolific blogger and amazing note taker with the ability to summarize a heck of a lot of information in a coherent way. What advice do you have for generating content? What are some of the challenges you face with your blog?
Cammy: Well, I’m mostly a blog-off-the-cuff type of blogger and I don’t typically plan but rather pour forth when an idea hits (or when I’m sitting on a webinar/live conference session taking notes). So my blogging these days tends to go in wild spurts. I’ve been writing a lot for other venues, including the Kineo website, so some of my recent posts might simply be pointing readers to those other locations. This feels like a weird flavor of self-promotion to me, but the point is I am writing new content it just may not be on my blog.
Q: Can you share some of your favorite eLearning blogs you follow?
Cammy: Some? There are so many and frankly, I’ve found it really hard to keep up with blog reading these days. But at the top of the heap I’d say (in no particular order): Connie Malamed’s blog for her more scholarly articles written in a down-to-earth tone; Tom Kuhlmann’s Rapid Elearning blog, of course; and Jane Bozarth’s Nuts & Bolts column on Learning Solutions.
Q: What would you advise people who would like to enter the field of instructional design to do to gain expertise?
Cammy: Self-study! Go forth and learn about the field, young man or woman.
There’s a lot of elearning that gets created in organizations that gives the whole industry a bad name (think clicky-clicky blah-blah style eLearning) – please, do your best not to contribute to that mess but rather spend time learning the art and science of the instructional design. Focus on the four pieces of the “eLearning pie”: the science of learning, the art of learning, the technology of learning and the business of learning.
Q: What changes do you anticipate for the eLearning industry in 2012?
Cammy: I’m not one to prophesize or predict, but basically I think we’re going to see more of the same. More people talking about m-learning and trying to figure out what it means; more eLearning companies consolidating and the market continues to figure out what to make of it all; more individuals within organizations trying to get their work done using the tools they have right now.
Q: What are essential events to attend to keep up to date?
Cammy: The eLearning Guild’s DevLearn in November is always a must and ASTD TechKnowledge in January are two key eLearning events.
Q: What has been one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
Cammy: Back in the early dot.com boom and bust the eLearning company I was working with grew wildly and then fell flat. As work trickled off it got – well – boring. So I mixed things up and started working part-time and went to school to become a muscular therapist. Nothing like changing your game completely to stir things up. I gained new perspectives and new experiences, both as an adult student and then as a teacher of muscular therapy. Although I’m no longer practicing muscular therapy, I can definitively say that the experience made me better at what I do today. So my advice to those of you who are in a rut: try something new that you’ve always wanted to do and see what happens!
Q: Do you remember a defining moment in your career that you are especially proud of?
Cammy: I would say my entire tenure with Kineo so far – since May of 2009 – has been full of career defining moments that I’m extremely proud of. I’ve grown a lot as a professional since I’ve been with Kineo and had some amazing opportunities during that time for public speaking, writing and client work.
Q: What is your most essential piece of technology that you couldn’t live without, and why?
Cammy: The Internet. Duh.