Diana Rayburn

Diana Rayburn: A Heart for Helping Others

Rayburn is now instructional designer at SOS and she develops training using Articulate: Studio and Storyline.

Diana Rayburn’s heart has always been with helping others fulfill their goals and needs. She began her career in education and then made the change to the wholesale distribution environment. In that role, Rayburn assisted customers with day-to-day decisions regarding best business practices. 

Her next job landed her in the healthcare industry, making dreams come true for very sick children. In 2013, Rayburn began work with SOS Intl where she eventually began designing NERC certification training.

As an instructional designer at SOS, Rayburn develops training using Articulate: Studio and Storyline. Following an approved training plan, she works to make sure training meets learning objectives and evaluates the final course results.

She also manages the SOS Compliance Tracking Tool, providing her with a unique perspective on the impact of Standards in training. Her ability to incorporate this perspective in training is a benefit to SOS clients.

T&D World discussed NERC Compliance training and stepping out of a monotonous routine with Rayburn:

Q: How does your current position and past experience help you in developing training?

As an Instructional Designer for SOS, I have an opportunity to develop online and instructor-led training based on North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) requirements. I work closely with our customers to develop custom training that fits the needs of their training program.

My career path has ventured from managing business projects and assisting customers with their strategic goals, to managing training projects and assisting clients with their training needs. So, I’ve learned that excellent project management and customer service skills are certainly a must in my current role.

Q: What is one of the best things about your job as an instructional designer?

I feel a great sense of accomplishment when students call and say, “Guess what? I passed the NERC certification exam. I couldn’t have done it without the training your company develops.” I celebrate with them because I know in my heart that I play a small role in their success.

Q: What courses and content have you developed in the past, and what’s coming up?

I focus on developing custom training. In the past, I have developed training for client’s covering specific internal training needs and NERC mandated training including Event Reporting, CIP Requirements, Operator Training, Switching and Tagging, and PER-005.

When I’m not developing custom training, I develop and manage training content for the SOS training library. I recently updated SOS’s Effective Communication course which concentrates on written and verbal communication skills for utilities.

Also, I recently completed a Voltage Control module which covers electric power principles, generators, transmission lines, and voltage and power control equipment.

Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your past experience as an instructional designer that you want to communicate to trainers, students or participants?

I think you’re never too old to learn. I love the quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

As an instructional designer it’s our challenge to develop training that meets all of our students’ needs regardless of their generation. Whether you’re a Baby Boomer, Generation Xer, or Millennial, our job is to develop training that meets our students’ and clients’ needs. Many hours are spent searching for new tools and techniques to enhance content and help with knowledge transfer.

Q: Why do you think your job as an instructional designer is important to the industry? How does it help the students and the utilities?

NERC’s mission is to assure the reliability and security of the bulk power system in North America. Reliability Standards are consistently being added and updated and new training requirements are constantly being considered.  My job as an instructional designer is to ensure our training is accurate, engaging, and fulfills NERC requirements.

Whether the goal of training is to assist companies with their required training needs, help employees receive their NERC certification, or develop training for mandatory CEH’s, instructional designers will always play a crucial role in our industry.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

My passion of quilting is an escape AND an extension of my career. The quilting process starts by selecting pieces of material and following a pattern to bring the material to life as a beautiful piece of art. Following this same idea, the instructional designer selects pieces of content and follows a pattern - the ADDIE process (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation). Content is brought to life through well-developed, engaging training lessons. When I complete my quilt and give it to someone special, I take comfort in knowing that it makes them happy and keeps them warm. Just as when my training lesson is complete and approved by NERC and/or our client, I know a student is one step closer to accomplishing their goals.

Q: Anything else you would like to add about your training/instructional design philosophy?

Training is constantly evolving as we learn more about the brain and how adults learn. As an instructional designer, you have to keep in mind that adults want to be active and engaged. It’s easy to find yourself in a boring routine when developing training. Every now and then you need to step out of that routine and be creative. Perhaps try a new, exciting approach to help learners understand and retain information. It’s okay to enjoy training.

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