The role of an instructional designer is important to utility industry because students who come to SOS for training, come to learn, according to Trellis Manning, instructional designer at SOS Intl.
"Most students currently work for utilities and they need training to enhance their performance. It’s my job to design and develop relevant training content that allows practice time, exercises, and engagement activities so they can easily retain the information and immediately apply it at work," Manning said.
Manning further shared with Transmission & Distribution World what she has developed for SOS Intl, what is the works and the best things about her job.
Q: How does your current position help you in developing training —and how does your past experience help you in this role?
My current position as an instructional designer for SOS helps me develop industry training that will allow students the opportunity to practice as they learn. By understanding how individuals learn, I’m able to include exercises and activities in the training content that enhances the learning process.
I consult with subject matter experts (SMEs) to identify the information and tasks students need to learn, structure the content, create media, and adapt instructional materials to support the training courses. Having past experience as an educator and technical trainer gives me the foundation to develop successful training courses.
Q: When and why did you decide to go into your particular career field?
I decided to become an educator when I was in elementary school. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in 2003 and gaining a few years of teaching experience, I decided to broaden my knowledge and gain more experience in the Information Technology field. I felt this would help me apply best practices for integrating technology into education. I received a Master’s Degree in Information Technology in 2006, and later in 2015, I received a Master’s degree in Educational Technology with emphasis on instructional design.
Q: What is the best thing about your job right now?
I enjoy instructional design because of the variety of projects I do each day. Every single project presents different challenges, so I’m constantly learning and pushing myself to apply various techniques. I use many skills such as writing, web design, graphics, collaboration, and planning. This allows me to apply the skills I’ve learned in the past and help others learn in the process.
Q: What courses and content have you developed in the past, and what’s coming up?
Prior to SOS, I developed research methodology training courses. While at SOS, I have developed courses for System Operators, including NERC Prep, Compliance Awareness, Distribution System Operations, and client specific courses for a Transmission Engineering Basics Curriculum.
I’m excited to be a designer for SOS’s new online Distribution System Operation courses for Distribution Operators. As the electric industry expands its training needs, our team expands its offerings. And this course is a prime example of meeting the needs of the industry.
I’m also working on a client-specific assessment behavior development project for the Transmission Engineering Basics Curriculum. For this, I will develop a series of criterion tests to measure student learning, as well as a performance-based assessment to measure students’ ability to perform on the job after completing the training.
In addition, I will be assisting with phase two of the Compliance Awareness online training for SOS.
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’ve learned so many things while working as an instructional designer. One of the most important things is that everyone learns differently, however, we learn best when we have the opportunity to apply what we learn. I incorporate real-life experiences and relevant, meaningful activities into the content to help students connect and retain information and tasks needed for their jobs.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to cook, watch movies, and work out. Cooking and watching movies are complete escapes for me. I am a ZUMBA fitness instructor, so I see this as an extension of my career. Since I enjoy music, teaching, and learning, what better way to stay fit while enjoying what you do.
Q: Anything else you would like to add about your training/instructional design philosophy or that would add to your profile?
I am so grateful to be a part of a cohesive team at SOS. Since I first joined the training organization, I noticed a culture of teamwork in order to deliver stellar training and advisory services. I really look forward to the challenges and continuing to learn and grow with the team.