Learning for Instructional Design

I started out very excited to do some work with a classroom training and simultaneous webcast about power system regulation concepts for operators of regional control centers for wholesale electricity. It’s a very cool subject… if you’re into complicated math.

The biggest challenge is that I haven’t been in a math class since 2004, and although I loved calculus and wanted to be a mathematics teacher at one point, it’s still very difficult to figure out some of the concepts in this particular presentation, which is geared to electrical engineers. Ultimately, I know that I have a responsibility not just to make the hand-drawn diagrams of turbine generators look good in PowerPoint, but also to provide instructional design help. What’s the best way to present complicated formulas, without diluting the subject matter?

Props to Google – again. I had to learn more about a formula for generator speed, and so I simply typed it into Google: N=(120*f)/P. From there, it took me to a post on a site called control.com: http://www.control.com/thread/1026236301

What a fascinating and useful site for understanding control field functions – in my case, that means engineers that keep your electricity turned on, but at the regional level. I did go on a bit of a tangent last night, reading far too deep on one concept, but it gave me plenty of confidence to keep plugging away on things. It also helped to see what terms are being used by field operators, allowing me to start writing glossary terms early on in the game and start thinking about assignments.

The moral of this story is if you are not familiar with a topic, don’t let that stop you from taking a design job. Instructional Design is not being the expert in every field, but knowing how to interpret and present an expert’s opinion in the best way for learning.

And thank goodness for Google.

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