Posts made by Sharon Porterfield


If leadership is required, then it needs to be assigned by someone and not given to the loudest/most talkative/strongest personality. It needs to go to the person best able to consider all points of view and make a decision. I've been in "forced collaboration" projects that were anything but collaborative. Our group was to reach some decision that would affect an entire department. All opinions, thoughts, etc...were expressed during many meetings, but then the conversation started "circling back". At that point, a manager stepped in and appointed a leader to take everything into account and arrive at a conclusion. Had a leader not been appointed, we'd still be going in circles.

I've also worked in a truly collaborative fashion where no leaders were necessary. Everyone brought a unique aspect to the situation and, putting all the pieces together, we were able to reach agreement. It's a thing of beauty when that happens.



Funny how some activities have various names. The experiences you describe are all considered part of 'mentoring' here at WestJet. There are only two of us with actual education and experience with instructional design. We are put into "pods" (I live a Dilbert existence!) with what could be considered "Jr. Instructional Designers". We brainstorm together, seek advice, and peer review each other's work. They're helping my professional development by teaching me about the airline industry, and I'm helping theirs by teaching them about instructional design. This information is then being disseminated into the business units as we take what we have learned and share with our SMEs.

Is VPD the new term for 'mentoring', or do others see them as distinct activities?



I agree with you and Deirdre, Heather. I've spent the last year attending workshops by the Canadian Training and Standards Development. Much of what they have to offer is extremely basic, but it's been a fantastic way to meet people involved with corporate training and start networking.

I find most of the people given the title "instructional designer", in the corporate world, are those who have worked up through the ranks. They start as a front line agent, then a team lead, then a supervisor, and finally an instructor. It seems to be a small step from instructor to ID. Once an instructor, they are sent to a 2 or 4 day workshop to learn how to be an ID. There are only two of us in the department who have actual education backgrounds and degrees to support our profession.


Yes, it really is "viral"! So much for staying current! <G>

This will be a most interesting couple of weeks for back to my reading and the new topic on my "List of Things to Learn"... :)


Hi Heather and Others!

Is it really "Viral" PD?

I work at WestJet Airlines and I'm an instructional designer. My business cards say "E-learning Designer", and my title on the company website is "Learning Specialist".

My participation in professional development has been sparse since leaving the world of academia. I do my best to stay current by reading various blogs and articles. In the last few months, our department hired a manager who is working on his M.Ed. in Instructional Design, so we will have chats about what he is learning. I also meet on a semi-regular basis with an alumni of the program at the U of S, who is now working at the U of C, and is very embedded within the field.

Everything works to a degree. The biggest factor is time. When I finally have time to sit down and read something, I can usually find many other items on the same "to do when I have time" list. I enjoy the coffee clutches with my U of C contact and the conversations I have with the new manager. It'd be safe to say my PD is more of a "hit and miss", rather than planned, endeavour.

I'm definitely looking forward to this discussion!

Sharon Porterfield