When I first sought out TLDC, The Training, Learning, and Development Community, I was trying to expand my knowledge in Learning and Development. I was very concerned that I was ‘late to the game.’ I had just entered this lovely career of instructional design, but it had taken me a few detours to get where I was, so I had to catch up. Although, catching up with a field that has wide variety, and is in continual change, is a daunting task.

I had to ask myself, how do I even progress? What should I learn and when? Is it even possible to learn enough and to have something interesting to say?

My background

Much of my background is in formal education with customer service type roles in between. I’ve worked in every type of customer service role: from commission-based selling of apparel to call centre based fraud processing for a bank. Even my academic background is varied, as my initial focus was biochemistry for my undergraduate degree and my masters degree in medical anthropology. The common thread that weaves together my varied background is that I’m a good learner and I like to share my learning with others. With that thread, I stepped into the learning and development world and it felt like home.

I then began to frantically attempt to learn what I could in learning and development.

Value in varied experience

When trying to learn about the L&D world, I don’t know if you’re like me, but I found it incredibly overwhelming. Theories being espoused and debunked in the same articles, blogs from all over the world relaying the ‘secrets’ to success and the plethora of essential technology to know.

In a recent TLDChat with Patti Shank, she mentioned the value in understanding the realities of the workplace. This instantly clicked with me.

Varied backgrounds and multiple job roles, in different types of companies, all build an inherent internal insight into the realities of the workplace.

The theories and ‘best practices’ in L&D are definitely good indicators of what methods work, however, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have good methods as well. Pulling from the deep depths of our varied experience will enhance our ability to predict the needs of clients.

Each of us have a different and valuable understanding of the realities of the workplace, and this will continue to remain valuable when backed by experience providing solutions or experience implementing learning theory.

TLDC and me

Even though I have had a varied background, I still don’t feel confident saying I understand the full realities of the workplace. There are a lot of experiences that I have yet to have.

That’s where TLDChat comes in, a large community of people with differing experiences, who are willing to share.

Through members sharing at TLDChat, I can now provide some insight into xAPI, brain-based learning, gamification, instructional design in higher education, storytelling, microlearning and so much more. I can now speak to the struggles and successes within each of these in actual learning environments.

Normally, I wouldn’t have these insights until much later on in my career. This sharing of experiences, through TLDChat, is integral to building on our own varied experiences to make stronger insights.

Even though I do have a lot to catch up on still, I am continually gaining more and more insights into varied experiences and it makes my L&D knowledge stronger.

One thing is true, sharing in TLDC, The Training, Learning, and Development Community, makes us all better. It’s certainly made me better. So join us! What are you waiting for?