Mid-year Review, 2019

It’s now the end of August and I though it would be a good time to look back at my goals for the year. Not to brag about how much I’ve accomplished, but rather to motivate myself to continue my personal and professional growth, because I think I’ve been slacking on meeting my goals.

At the start of January (although I didn’t actually publish the post until mid-April), I made myself some goals for 2019. One goal for each letter of the alphabet. While I knew that was an ambitious endeavour, I think that nurturing my own learning is important to helping me become the best learning experience designer possible.

I’ve been extremely busy with other tasks this spring and summer, so I feel like I’ve fallen off the path for my own learning. Last week I posted about getting back to developing my skills – in that case it was by playing around with Photoshop. I remember that being one of my goals; however, I actually struggle to remember what else I wanted to accomplish this year.

So, I thought this would be a good time to revisit these goals – and to do it in a public forum, so that I would feel more motivation to follow-through.

My list

A  = Adapt (rapid eLearning tool)

So far I have only looked at what is possible with this tool, but haven’t done much else.

B = Blogging

This one I could consider a relative success… I set up my blog, and this is now my 9th post in 5 months.

C  = Character Animator

Beyond my practice with this tool in grad school, I haven’t had the opportunity to practice my skills.

D = Design (visual design)

I actually attended two great talks on visual design at the Canadian eLearning Conference 2019, by the amazing Bianca Woods (http://biancawoods.weebly.com/) and the talented Sarah Dewar, and I’ve been trying to implement their tips ever since.

E  = Evolve (rapid eLearning tool)

As with Adapt, so far I have only looked at what is possible with this tool, but haven’t done much else.

F  = Feedback

This is something I am currently strongly pushing at my job, in fact, I have somewhat surreptitiously started adding immediate personalized feedback on all questions in our courses, without really mentioning that I am doing it to management… I think if I just slip it in, they can’t question it, right?

G  = Gamification

I attended a wonderful full-day workshop by Clint Clarkson from eLearning Alchemy (https://elearningalchemy.com/) at the Canadian eLearning Conference 2019 – he spoke about how easy it is to add in game thinking (even if not full-on gamification) to eLearning courses, and I left full of ideas for ways to implement these strategies.

H  = Heroes (continue doing eLearning heroes challenges)

Here I definitely feel I’ve fallen short, the last eLearning Heroes Challenge that I completed was in May 5, 2018… time to get back on the horse with that one!

I  = Illustrator

While I haven’t created anything unique in Illustrator (my least favourite Adobe product) since January, I have done quite a bit of editing of vector diagrams in Illustrator at work – I’m going to call this one a win since I struggle so profoundly with illustrator!

J  = Join ID communities

To be honest, I’d forgotten this was on my list, although I do think it is incredibly important – so even though I haven’t put much effort into it, I did meet a ton of amazing people at the Canadian eLearning Conference 2019, including (but not limited to) Connie Malamed (very briefly – but with such a celebrity, I say it counts! http://theelearningcoach.com/about/), the hilarious Simon Blair (https://www.simonblairtraining.com/), the insightful Tracy Parish (https://www.tracyparish.ca/), the loveable Cindy Plunkett, the game-loving Clint Clarkson (https://elearningalchemy.com/), and the award-winning Meagan Underwood; plus I have started using Twitter again (@PascaleSwanson)

K  = Keynote summaries (post summaries of keynotes from conferences)

I’ve dropped the ball on this one – so, to make up for it… keep your eyes peeled for a summary of an upcoming keynote later this year (perhaps from DevLearn, or maybe an eLearning Guild summit).

L  = Lectora

I think I might have to let this one slide, unless I can find the money to splurge this program.

M  = Meetings (attend 2-3, including online summits w eLearning guild)

So far in 2019 I have attended the Canadian eLearning Conference 2019 as well as a webinar from the eLearning Guild (Dynamic Video Interactions for Increased Engagement), and I plan to attend DevLearn 2019 and the webinars ‘The Business of Learning’ and ‘Microlearning Design’

N  = Negative space (make better use of it)

Another goal I had forgotten about, yet I must have subconsciously been considering, because I do feel that I’ve done a better job with whitespace recently – not to mention attending a conference by the lovely Bianca Baumann (https://www.biancabaumann.com/) at the Canadian eLearning Conference 2019.

O  = Objectives (improve construction of objectives)

Definitely an area I’d like to continue working on – I do have a book, “Preparing Instructional Objectives” by Robert F Magar that I purchased awhile ago and it has just rocketed to the top of my reading list.

P  = Photoshop

Well, as of last week, I can now add this to the ‘on track’ list of goals – although I had been ignoring my personal development in Photoshop skills due to a lack of time, I’ve just made this a priority again.

Q  = Quality over quantity (despite manager’s desires)

I continue to struggle in this area – my manager and boss are mostly concerned about money, yet I continue to push for what is best for the learner… this obviously results in some unpleasant clashes. To help me along this path, I plan to attend the upcoming eLearning Guild online summit called ‘The Business of Learning’

R  = Research (continue to research in the field of ID)

After Walden University updated their Alumni Library, I am no longer able to access high quality journals – I plan to reach out to the library (and perhaps OISE-UT as well) to see if there is any way I can access the journals to keep my knowledge up to date.

S  = SME wrangling (develop skills to get the most out of my SMEs)

I had actually planned to attend an eLearning Guild webinar on Leveraging SMEs but had to miss it to due work deadlines – I hope to watch a video copy of the webinar soon to learn about this important skill.

T  = Talk (present a talk at a conference)

I actually had an amazing experience presenting a project at the Show and Share portion of the Canadian eLearning Conference 2019 – not only was it a thrill to present my work to talented professionals, but I even won a nice little award (People’s Choice Award) for my work!

U  = UI/UX

This is something that has been at the top of my mind recently, particularly after an informative talk by Bianca Baumann (https://www.biancabaumann.com/) at the Canadian eLearning Conference 2019.

V  = Variety (stretch my capabilities of design and development)

Hmmm… this is a tough one… at work I am limited in what I can do at my job, yet I really have tried my hardest to stretch my capabilities of design and development… does that count? I guess I have also tried some different approaches in my own personal time as well, that might count… I’ll give this one a C+.

W  = Writing (improve specific aspects – for example using contractions)

Another goal that I had forgotten about, but I suppose this timing is appropriate as I am about to send off some scripts for narration – time to review them to ensure I have people teaching the course, not robots!

X  = Xerox (“steal” from other professions, e.g., marketing – AIDA, WIIFM, etc.)

I think this will be my next big challenge in the second half of the year.

Y  = YouTube (update my channel)

Ooooops…. I should probably do this!

Z  = Zapworks

I have played around with Zapworks, and even pitched an idea at work (it got turned down), but I still intended to continue to find ways to incorporate XR into my courses.


All-in-all I’m actually doing better than I thought. I think moving forward into the second half of the year, my focus will be particularly on blogging, joining ID communities, quality, variety, and xerox-ing from other professions. I also might look into co-authoring a professional paper with my colleague, if I can get access to the Walden or OISE libraries to perform the literature reviews.

Based on the cute image I found for the header of this post, I think my main downfall has been step 2, aka lack of planning. Something I will look into starting in September.

Have you met your goals this year? Where do you plan on focusing your efforts in the second half of the year? Do you have plans for achieving your goals?