Onboarding: I’m Not Your Circus Animal

Hula Hoop by Daddy Yankee
“Jumping through the hoops”

I understand the necessity of onboarding newcomers to an organization – whether a non-profit church or ministry, a for-profit business, or an education program. In fact, I am specifically trained as an instructional designer (learning experience designer) to custom develop these onboarding programs.

However, my issue is that there has been no accommodation made to credit newcomers with prior experience and training. Instead, all newcomers are expected to begin at the same entry point, regardless of their levels of experience and training, and then they are all funneled through the onboarding program as uniformly as possible.


There needs to be a condensed version of the onboarding training program for those who aren’t entirely new to the content, just to the organization. You know, personalized learning pathways, with different pacing, access choices, and levels of competency and completion? How about a self-paced, untimed, open-sequenced curation of microlearning tutorials with badges or certificates for completion?


Here’s an example.

My husband is a disabled military veteran. When he was active duty, we traveled and therefore had to change churches. We weren’t church hopping in a consumerism sense, we were just relocating. This happens every time we’ve had to move as private citizens as well. We like to live in the same city of the church we attend. So, we’ve been through an endless repetition of onboarding programs, some short, some very lengthy, but all with the goal of making sure we’re all on the same page.


But we’re exhausted from this constant return to “zero” and never moving forward to where we were before we ever relocated the first time. How many times can someone be expected to repeat from the beginning? It’s all the same hoops, different organizations. Can we test out? Can we show evidence some other way? Can you really get to know us before you shove us into your menu of classes and programs? Can you assume we’re just new to your organization and not new to the content? Do you even know our faith story and how long we’ve been in the faith? It’s like making grandparents repeat Kindergarten just because they moved into a different house.

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Bible 101 GPS

Bible 101 GPS png

Bible 101 GPS png

Bible 101 GPS (.wmv) is a 7m41s self-paced video tutorial with quiz for newbies on navigating the Bible, either digitally or in print, using a given Scripture reference. I’ve been sharing it in the hopes that it gets to at least one person who can benefit from it. Feel free to comment on this blog post if that’s you.

This video creation was inspired by the blog post Your 26-Year-Old Target published October 16, 2017. As an educator, I was encouraged to find my conviction confirmed regarding the need for remedial training in general life skills. I also see this concept resonating in my desire to focus on hands-on studio art skills rather than on the digital arts. So, I designed this tutorial with the understanding that perhaps there are those in church who haven’t been surrounded by what used to be common knowledge way back when. What I mean by that is this: there are some older classic American movies in which Scriptures are quoted left and right without a second thought. Today, that would be unheard of, as well as be a cause for the movie to be misunderstood. So I thought, what if this were true in the case of actually using a Bible and even more, considering digital natives? The answer is this tutorial project.

I originally shared this video in a public Facebook post published November 26, 2017 after my friends-only posts received almost no acknowledgement. It still received no attention as a public post. So now it’s all here for the whole world to see. I was just giving an example of one of the many things I’m trained to do as an Instructional Designer. Here is the original Facebook public post content:

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you… (from The King and I)

My MS.Ed is in Instructional Design. This video lesson asset is an example of Instructional Design. I designed it as part of a hypothetical course series based on personal observational analyses from my previous experiences. As an educator, I can think in terms of single learner activities to whole organization learning pathways in a long-term degree program. As a trainer in a corporation, I can design and implement the entire onboarding program, deploy and track employee compliance training, and facilitate ongoing professional development.

Here are some of the things instructional designers do during the course of a project” as described by Articulate:

• Analyze training needs
• Analyze audience / identify learner profiles
• Define learning objectives
• Identify the appropriate learning strategy for a given course
• Rewrite and restructure content according to learning objectives
• Create multimedia elements to support content (images, audio, video, etc.)
• Create assessments to test learner knowledge / skill acquisition
• Design the course’s look and feel (color scheme, fonts, slide layouts, player, etc.)
• Storyboard the course prior to development
• Develop the course in an authoring tool
• Deploy the course on an LMS
• Measure the course’s impact on learners’ work performance.

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