Step 3: Skills, Feedback, and Mentoring

The opportunity to work with Morning Tears did two key things: first, I was able to practice and grow my skills by leaps and bounds by working on a real-life project. And second, it constantly reminded me that I had made the right choice to pursue e-learning as a means to help others.

It was time to focus again on growing my e-learning business—which meant, shifting my focus from project work back onto growing my skills and connections. Here are three things that helped me most during this time:

Ask For Feedback

Throughout the Morning Tears project, I made a point of asking the team for feedback about my work and the project itself. Everyone sees and senses different things about a project and it was important to me to hear and consider their points of view. At times, their questions were tough and I was challenged to find creative solutions—but those opportunities stretched my skills and knowledge.

Wrapping up this project gave me the confidence to approach some folks already in e-learning to see what they thought of my work. I went into the E-Learning Heroes forums to ask for feedback and was absolutely blown away by their responses. They were so helpful! People were delighted to engage and helped me work through questions, and shared examples and templates.

Best of all, they shared not just much-appreciated encouragement, but also the critical feedback that helped propel my thinking—the “This is great; but have you thought about that?” feedback that viewed my work from a new angle. The positive support and criticism from real e-learning professionals was incredibly valuable. I’d encourage everyone to tap into the vast knowledge and experience that’s available for free in E-Learning Heroes!

Engage in Mentoring

Having a more seasoned professional who’s willing to work with you is a huge advantage to growing your skills. I’ve been fortunate to have had several! For example, at one point I realized my design skills were deficient so I set out to find someone would help me. A web designer offered me a workspace in his studio where, as I worked on my own projects, he would share his design insights that came through his day-to-day work. From those hours logged in observation and discussion, I learned so much that helped refine my design sense and understand the technical aspects of building digital content.

Mentoring can happen in less formal ways, too, like with the everyday exchanges that take place in the E-Learning Heroes community. Leaving comments, participating in discussion threads, sharing work and critiquing it, are all ways to interact with, benefit from, and contribute to our e-learning peers. Personally, some of the biggest opportunities I’ve had in growing my business came from relationships cultivated with the E-Learning Heroes colleagues. Knowledge can come from unexpected places—be ready for it!

Seek and Use Resources

I feel so fortunate to live in the age we do because there’s a wealth of information and resources out there. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but with my insatiable appetite for knowledge about e-learning I was glad for all the material at hand.

Articulate has done a terrific job of curating content about e-learning. The free e-books section is quite robust, and their YouTube channel has a variety of feature and skill-building videos that I referenced frequently. If you haven’t already checked these resources out, I’d highly recommend you put them on your list.

Like I’ve said before, it’s important that you give yourself the time to learn and grow deliberately. Pursuing your professional dreams is not a haphazard task and, in my opinion, should be approached methodically.

Check back soon for the next installment in my How I Grew My Business in 5 Easy Steps series: Step 4: Moving With The Market.

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