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That's the Flipped Episode!

In this special episode, I hand over the reigns to newcomer Amy Petricek, and let her interview me about my journey from the world of education to instructional design. Amy is a naturally inquisitive person, so I knew she'd make an excellent guest host! We talk about how we first met, how I first got interested in instructional design, the importance of sharing your learning journey, and the secret to success in my career search. SPOILER ALERT: it was people!

You can connect with Amy on LinkedIn, or take a look at her portfolio at


The following transcript was auto-generated and may contain typos or spelling errors.

Leslie Early 0:00

Okay, today I am super excited because I have my friend Amy Petricek here with me. Thanks for joining me, Amy.

Amy Petricek 0:08

Thanks for having me, Leslie. It's such a treat.

Leslie Early 0:11

It is a treat. And it's an extra special treat because we're actually going to do something a little bit different. Today, I'm turning over the reins, you are going to interview me, because that's sort of how we met is that you had your very inquisitive person by nature. And so I thought if anyone's gonna ask the good questions, it's going to be a we so thank you for being here and agreeing to do kind of something a little different today. You're most welcome. So it's kind of funny how I call you my new friend because you're like one of these. You know, 2020s, like the year of virtual friendships. So like,

I thought that you just messaged me, I thought you were just like, I'm a go getter. I'm just gonna, you know, message you on LinkedIn. And you're just going to ask me the questions you need to ask. And I just that's how I remember it. But use You seem to have a different recollection of how we first met.

Amy Petricek 1:05

Yes. So late summer, early fall, we both attended or participated in learner Palooza, which is an online now online virtual conference, but is based out of Seattle, Washington, where I'm located. I was in an event where they were offering information about portfolio samples for instructional designers and how to build a portfolio. And Leslie was one of the participants, or shall I say, leaders?

Leslie Early 1:35

That's like a facilitator. Yeah.

Amy Petricek 1:37

So Tater. There we go of that session, and the session went terribly wrong. Not because Leslie did anything wrong, but because technology just kept falling apart, left and right. was bad. Yeah. And you rolled with the punches. So well, when that session was done, I thought, if someone can roll with the punches, this Well, I need to like get to know this person and learn from them. And so then I did the cold reach out to LinkedIn and wanted to get to know you more. Yeah, that's funny.

Leslie Early 2:08

It feels like so long ago now. But I guess it wasn't really that long ago. Yeah. So that was a for learner Palooza. And we did that with Erica Zimmer. And I did those two. Were you in the morning session? Did you see the one that went? Well?

Amy Petricek 2:20

I did not see that one. Well, I only saw the one that went to.

Leslie Early 2:27

Yeah, though, the morning session went great. And then we were like, super excited about this afternoon session. We had Mike peacock, who is also a guest. On this podcast. He was the one giving, giving the advice. And yeah, it's just everything that could have possibly gone wrong sort of went wrong. Like it started late. Like we weren't even allowed in the room at first got

booted from the meeting like got shut down.

That's true. I forgot. Clearly I blacked all of that. Because I did not even remember and you probably send your message. Oh, I attended the Learn a Palooza, whatever. And I don't remember that at all.

It's understandable that you blocked that moment out.

Yeah, so I probably should back up a little bit, though. So like you reached out to me because you had a lot of questions about the transition from education into instructional design. So I just kind of want to if you if you want to take a couple minutes and talk about sort of where you are in that journey right now or a little bit about you.

Yeah, so I like Leslie was initially a classroom teacher and have been making the transition into instructional design. I'm doing some work right now as a freelance instructional designer and also volunteering with design by humanity. I'm currently expanding my portfolio through classes with the ever awesome Alexander Sallis of elearning launch. And I'm currently taking the AR course through elearning launch with Betty Dan woods, in the gamification course with Alex building lots of really cool portfolio samples.

Yes, and that's the way to do it. So I guess at this point, I'm just gonna turn the reins over to you. And you get to be the host of that's awesome idea today, and and I will try to answer your questions as best I can. But this is new for me because I'm not usually the one answering the question.

I'll start by saying Hi, my name is Amy patristic. And I'm today's host of that's awesome. Id and the guest I have with me here today is b Leslie Early Isley for having it's a pleasure. One thing I'd love to know about you, which I don't actually know, Leslie, is what drew you into the field of instructional design in the first place?

Oh, boy. Um, well, I mean, I was I was a teacher for quite a long time. And I guess the first inkling of when I sort I didn't know what was called instructional design or that something called instructional design existed. But I really enjoyed using technology in my classroom. Like I taught a coding club where I was using scratch from like MIT to teach coding and like So those were like online learning platforms, obviously, geared towards children. But so that was really interesting. And also, I started to integrate Khan Academy a lot into my classroom. Have you? Are you not familiar with Khan Academy? No. So it's con k h, a n. Khan Academy. And it started off as just a YouTube channel, this guy was recording videos of himself explaining math concepts, I think, to one of his nieces. I think that's a story. Okay, don't quote me on that. But that I think that's exactly the story of how it started. So he was recording himself doing lectures about math concepts, so that someone in his family could study math. And then it just sort of his YouTube channel took off, and then they got investors, and they really, they created an entire website that's used internationally now. And they teach everything from math to science, history, you know, grammar, like all kinds of things. And I was really impressed because they have so much data analytics available for teachers or educators or parents, whoever has their students on using Khan Academy. So they, they have the curriculum, and the students go through it. And it's tracking their progress. And it's telling you which benchmarks the student has already mastered, in which ones they need to work on. And it's like recursive and it like will spiral back on itself. And all of that is done with AI. So that it takes a lot of the evaluation, and all of that off of the teacher it's doing a lot of that work for you. So I felt that to be really helpful. For math, I use it specifically for math to reinforce math concepts in my classroom. Because that snapshot, just having my students, you know, 25 students go through the same lessons in Khan Academy, I get automatic data analytics coming back to me telling me, and then that's easier for me to group and make small, because I'm like, certain kids are good at this, and some are not good at fractions. And yet, whatever you whatever the case may be. So it when I was still a teacher, I thought, this is the future of education, this is where it should be going. And the fact that we aren't all doing this in some way, shape, or form is like backwards, you know, because it's impossible for a human being one single teacher to be able to do this. And why would they win? Now we have the AI that can do it in an instant is a very long winded answer, sorry, but that was really when I first started thinking about it. And then I was in that classroom for two years and then moved to Minnesota in 2017. And wasn't entirely sure I wanted to stay in the classroom. I was a little bit burnt out on teaching. So I took a break. I was in a law firm, believe it or not just doing like, administrative job. Yeah, I was like a caseworker like I would help people apply for Social Security disability benefits. So if anyone out there has questions about the United States social security disability program, I can point you in the right direction, or probably answered most of your questions, because that's what I did. But while I was there, I was like, I need to figure out what my next move is. And I, I found the edX, instructional design micro master's program. And I was like, Oh, this sounds sort of like what I was thinking about in the Khan Academy stuff. So I took that first. And it's like, I want to say it's like a nine month program, 10 month program. And when I got through that, I had a little portfolio started. And I had a pretty good solid understanding of what instructional design was, and knew for sure, that's where I needed to go. And that would use like all of my skill sets. And it would be something that I would enjoy doing, maybe for the rest of my life. I don't know, it might change in 10 years. Who knows? Yeah, for right now, it feels like something that I could do for a really long time. Yeah, so that's a very long answer.

Questions I would love just to show growth, but to see that like mini baby portfolio you had before grad school, to the portfolio you have now because you have such an exquisite portfolio in the here and now.

I don't even know if it exists. Still. I may have just started a new one. I may have it actually I think I do have it.

That was funny. Really interesting to look at like Leslie Early instructional designer three years ago versus now.

That's so funny. I have to go check it out. See if I can find it.

Yeah, let's keep going here. I love to know what skills you found that you needed to invest more time and energy into to gain the needed amount or the desired proficiency to become the level of instructional designer that you were wanting. So

I think in that master's program, people ask me about it all the time. If If I thought it was worth it, which is a hard question to answer because worth it is different for every, every person. For me, it was definitely worth it. In that I learned a lot about the process and theory, and I did end up building things, but I would build things in free or low cost resources. Such as is easy, or you know, different things like that. And so I had courses to show. But by the time it was getting close for me to graduate, I didn't have a lot of experience in more practical applications like storyline, Camtasia, or even captivate. Because the program that I was in, let you choose which tools you use, so I think if I had to go back and do it differently, I would have learned those things a lot sooner. But I mean, it all worked out. I mean, that's why it all worked out. matter. Here I am. But um, yeah, I would say the things that will get you hired is showing that you have proficiency. With the process, as well as with the tools, you can't just have one or the other, you have to have both. So yeah,

Amy Petricek 11:46

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think that's a lot of my current work right now is continuing to gain skill sets and a variety of tools and having a portfolio that really showcases a variety of tools and thought processes. So what's, and maybe this piggybacks off of that, but what's one thing you learned in your journey towards instructional design that really made all of the difference for you?

Leslie Early 12:17

So I really do think, again, like, maybe the master's program was like, the bottom of the glacier, I mean, the iceberg, you know, analogies,

Amy Petricek 12:27

I like it,

Leslie Early 12:28

You know, what I mean? Like, they show that like, you know, the bottom 90% is down there. And that's where all your theory and everything is, but I, I will say, when I started taking these classes, like at elearning launch, especially, the first one I took was the Camtasia one, then that's like the surface level, you know, like the little iceberg that's poking out that people can actually see. So once I started posting these videos on LinkedIn, I started getting so much more engagement, like recruiters were reaching out to me different people were, you know, I just got a lot of attention for for creating those videos posting them. And so that, that said to me, okay, it's not enough to just know what you're talking about. You have to be able to display it and show it in some way, and not be afraid to do it. So I think that's really been my biggest takeaway is like, just getting on LinkedIn, showing your process sharing what you're doing. It can be scary. You don't want like criticism, like this one storyline thing that I think Alex posted. I didn't post it myself, but I think Alex posted it to promote his elearning launch Academy and somebody poo pooed on it and was like, like, rolled their eyes at at my first my very first storyline course. And that hurt my feelings. Of course, not gonna like feel bad. So there is always that like, you know, when you post things, there's there could be people out there who are naysayers, but I think at the same time, just sharing, sharing what you're making, sharing your process is going to get you visibility, for sure. It's going to build your personal brand, and is also maybe going to help other people who like to see the examples because I know that was one of my biggest struggles going through this whole process is like, I don't I haven't seen any example or I don't see enough examples of what good elearning looks like what a good portfolio looks like. What a good storyline interaction looks like, like, it's hard to get access to these things because so much of it is behind the NDA wall. You know what I mean? That it's it's really frustrating. So I think the more that people share their process on their own personal All projects, you know, that is not behind non disclosure agreement. Right? The Richard is for the community at large. But that's my soapbox.

I wholeheartedly agree like that has been some of my process in the last really month, month and a half has been to really put myself and my work out on LinkedIn more, I tend to want to really, like, give accolades to other people who are doing amazing in the field. And the reality is I'm making some amazing strides as well need to put those things out there for the world to see. So I'm, I'm right there with you. It is a little vulnerable and scary at times. And I've seen some great fruit from from that labor.

Yeah, and, and maybe not everything we have to put out has to be super polished or like has to be amazing. It's I think it's just even just sharing like, you know, this is just where I am right now is still valuable. Because there there's always this is something I talked about with Cheryl Cooper too, when she was on our show is that like, there's always going to be people who are ahead of you on the path. And there's always going to be people who are behind you on the path. So right. The people who are just starting out is if all they ever see is like people who've been doing this for 10 years making amazing work and like, then that could be like, Well, how do I get there? You know, but I see people who are just a few steps ahead, that might be a little bit more like, Oh, that's attainable.

I can get there, I can do that. You know, so supporting people, regardless of where you are in your journey. I've got one last question for you today. And that would be what did you find most beneficial in your career search? Maybe it were maybe it was specific tools or resources or even communities?

Oh, boy, most beneficial in my career search? Well, if I'm like being super literal interpretation of your question, okay.

You can take whatever interpretation you'd like.

Yeah, I would have to say people like, like, specifically, individual people are coming to mind. Like, I would not have gotten employed where I am. Without a specific person. I would not have joined designed by humanity, and met so many other people to their without a specific person in my master's degrees. So these people, I don't know why I'm being vague, but like, so Jessica Ward was in my master's program. And she was the one who said, Hey, this thing called designed by humanity is starting and I think you would, you'd be a good fit. So do you want to join me? And I said, Yes, absolutely. And that has been amazing. And through that I've met so many amazing people I've learned so much. And, and met Erica Zimmer, who is in my, my development team, and she's the one who literally recommended me, she was on a job interview, and brought up my name. And then they contacted me for an interview, and I got the job. So like, That's incredible. That's incredible. So like, I don't think in my career search and instructional design, none of this would have been possible on my own for sure. Like if I was just by myself, little island on LinkedIn, applying for jobs through you know, job boards, no way, I never would have gotten to where I am.

Amy Petricek 18:34

I remember you saying even after you got the job that you have now, maybe it was on LinkedIn, maybe it was in a personal conversation, but you just said networking works.

Leslie Early 18:46

Yeah. And it makes sense. Because people want to work with people they know and people they trust. So you know, if someone's vouching for you and saying, you need to talk to this person. It makes sense that people would take that seriously.

Amy Petricek 19:01

I think so.

Leslie Early 19:03

Yeah. I'm super grateful. And that has literally aside from any resources, or tools or classes or theory or anything else, people have gotten me to where I am in my career search.

Amy Petricek 19:16

Well, I will piggyback off that and say, you've been a great inspiration and help in my career search and in my professional development, and so thank you for all of the little ways and bigger ways that you've helped me and my trajectory.

Leslie Early 19:33

Oh, you're welcome. And I want to go back to the very top I know we're sort of out of time but I'm to the very top of our conversation is that me my maybe the reason I remember you is just like reaching out to me on LinkedIn and nothing else before that is because my first impression of you was was very positive. First of all, well, you I could tell you were like straight to business and you were very serious about what you're doing. So I could get that right. away, and then you straight up just asked for a phone call and then went on the phone call. You had so many interesting questions. And you had so much to say that I was like, This girl's going places like this girl. I gotta keep you close because I know you're gonna go places. So I'm happy to I'm happy to help you out. And, and I really don't think that you're going to be. I don't think your search is going to be a long one. I'm sure you're going to find your place soon. So

Amy Petricek 20:29

Thank you, Leslie. That's very kind.

Leslie Early 20:31

You're welcome. You're welcome. She paid me to say this.

Amy Petricek 20:41

I'm gonna try and come up with some smart remark, but I'm out.

Leslie Early 20:46

Well, I mean, I am the longest-winded guest I've ever had on this show.

Amy Petricek 20:50

I will give you a pass and only edit some of you out.

Leslie Early 20:55

Yeah, good thing that I get to edit myself. So. Well, thank you so much, Amy for agreeing to do this kind of flipped. flipped classroom. I want to say that it's not really a classroom but the flipped episode.

Amy Petricek 21:11

Sure, can I because I listened to all of your episodes. So I know this is a thing. And usually the guests or the host asked, you know, how can people get in touch with you? Can I ask myself? Please? How can people get in touch with you? If you'd like to connect with me? There's two ways you can do so. One is LinkedIn. I'm Amy patristic. on LinkedIn, My last name is spelled p e t. Ri ck and I told Leslie today if she forgets how to spell it, it's the word pet the word rice and the letter K. And I also have my portfolio which you can find Patrice ik calm.

Leslie Early 21:51

Awesome. Well, you just saved me like so much effort having to ask the question.

Amy Petricek 21:56

Well, you did a lot of work today. So I wanted to let you take a little break.

Leslie Early 22:01

All right. Well, thank you so much again, Amy.

Amy Petricek 22:03

You're most welcome Leslie. We'll talk soon.

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