There is more to designing training programs than just putting technical information before an audience. Having development software is not enough. That is where Jeff Adin, graphic designer at SOS Intl comes in. He works with instructors and instructional designers to provide visual applications of the theories and practices covered in SOS training. He develops formats and templates for all SOS training, providing a consistent look and feel to emphasize content.
T&D World visited with Adin about his perspective in developing training programs:
Q: How does your current position help you in developing training —and how does your past experience help you in this role?
At SOS, I work with a talented team of trainers, SMEs and Instructional designers. My position bridges the gap between technical execution and visual communication. I work with the team to develop their visual communication vocabulary and tools. It’s easy to put technical information before an audience but helping students absorb and retain information requires cross discipline expertise.
Q: When and why did you decide to go into your particular career field?
I’ve always been visually focused. I fulfilled my high school electives with art classes, and it was a logical extension to apply to colleges with strong art programs. The early part of my career was defined by the New York Times Help Wanted section. Blind ads led to varied opportunities and I eventually landed in the publishing business specializing in direct-to-consumer advertising and marketing.
Q: Best thing about your job right now?
My role at SOS goes beyond training development. I also work with the marketing team to help SOS meet its sales and communications goals. Twenty-plus years as an art director prior to coming to SOS have afforded me many diverse experiences. Being able to work across SOS business units and apply my skills so broadly is rewarding. I believe wearing several hats at SOS gives me a better understanding of the end user in each and every project I work on. Do I understand how a capacitor bank functions? Not really. Do I understand the relationship of NERC to our clients and the importance of system reliability – yes, absolutely!
Q: What courses and content have you developed in the past, and what’s coming up?
There are few training products at SOS I haven’t touched either directly or indirectly. Recently we have had a big push updating our core products. Finding ways to speed up delivery to students while not sacrificing quality has always been a challenge.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your past experience as a graphics designer that you want to communicate to trainers, students or participants?
The field of graphic design is much more than pictures and words on a page. It’s a cross-disciplinary practice with skills drawn from psychology, communication, technology, and fine art. A good art director never loses sight of the audience. Good design communicates and informs first and foremost. If it looks beautiful too, that’s always a plus, but not the primary goal.
Q: Why do you think your job as a graphics designer is important to the industry? How does it help the students and the utilities?
Making sure SOS clients have a positive experience is important to me as an art director. Adding creative visual intelligence is a necessary part of development. My role as a professional connected to the grid goes into everything I develop.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Everywhere I look I take in visual information and file it away for future inspiration. It’s not beyond me to pick up slips of paper off the ground, retrieve discarded print media, screen shot web pages, etc. for their graphic elements. Typography is an amazing stimulus for most art directors. I see at least four movies a month. Watching the titles and credits are a must for their typography and design. I went back to see the move Deadpool a second time, not just because it was a fun movie, but because the titles were amazing. Too much to take in on one visit.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Never forget your students. You are designing for them, not yourself. My advice is to develop visuals to support training content so students can retain information easily, transfer that information to the job site, and recall it when needed.