Meet a Keypather: Brittany Horton | Instructional Designer
What is your role at Keypath, and what does a day in your life here at work look like?
I am an instructional designer at Keypath Education responsible for developing online courses from start to finish. A part of my work involves blending best practices in adult education with the online user experience to make learning memorable, impactful, and transformative.
On a typical day, I review the content shared by subject matter experts at our partner schools. I work with the various instructional content and media they share. I also try to determine the most appropriate ways to transform the material from subject matter experts into a course that is clear and organized to engage students throughout their learning experience. I use a variety of online tools, such as the university's learning management system (LMS) and other development tools to design and build online lessons. Additionally, you may find me consulting coast-to-coast with faculty members in the United States to help them re-envision the online classroom and provide best practices for teaching online.
What is the most important skill someone in your job needs?
As an instructional designer, I often wear many types of hats. In one instance, I may be a graphic designer creating images in photo editing programs. In another instance, I am a coder manipulating Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) code within an LMS. In other instances, I am an online course consultant for faculty, eLearning experience designer, project manager, researcher, or guru of all things related to online education.
So, one of the most important skills someone in instructional design needs can manage all these hats and roles to continue to grow and develop professionally. It is essential to balance a variety of responsibilities. Also, it is critical not to let those responsibilities dampen creativity. The advice I like to follow is: Move beyond your level of expertise, take on additional challenges, and further leverage your knowledge. Continuing your professional development and learning is an important aspect of the instructional designer role.
Out of Keypath's four core values, which resonates with you most and why? (be inventive, collaborate, be a lifelong learner, and be committed)
The core value that resonates the most with me is being a lifelong learner. Being a lifelong learner is the hallmark of my professional career and personal life. Those who know me would agree that I enjoy learning. It fascinates me by exploring how things work. I'm like a sponge when it comes to absorbing information and processing it. This is what I feel to be my calling as an instructional designer. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with so many subject matter experts from business to nursing. I like to think that as I learn their subject matter, they also learn about learning design from the online course development process.
As people usually say, it's the journey, not the destination. Learning is a lifelong journey for me, so I am proud to say that learning and being a lifelong learner is my hobby. I am glad that Keypath promotes and encourages this as one of their core values.
How has Keypath aided your professional development as a person?
At Keypath, I have access to other online course resources that have aided in my professional development. With access to courses on accessibility, graphic design, video editing, and much more, I can grow as a person because I am continuously striving to learn more content. Because the Learning Design and Development leadership also encourages us to take one hour every week to pursue a professional development interest, it has made me more skilled at using the Adobe Creative Cloud programs. The access to these tools used among the learning design team makes me sometimes feel like a kid in a candy store!
How does your role help our students succeed?
Remember those different hats that instructional designers wear? Well, one of those hats comes with a pair of shoes! As an instructional designer, I also take a figurative walk in the shoes of the online student enrolled in one of the courses I am developing. Whenever I build a new part in a course, I always ask myself, "What are the students doing with this?" and "Is this information clear to students?"
When I think about how students may engage and interact with the course material, sometimes I may have to recreate an item because the first version isn't as clear or as intuitive as it could be. It may not resonate with students or leave a memorable impression. So back to the drawing board!
Critically analyzing the work that I do helps to enhance that content, so it is more accessible for students. Instructional design is an iterative process, but through careful reflection and evaluation, I hope I can transform instructional content to enable students to succeed in their online courses.
What's your favorite thing about working at Keypath?
It goes without saying that our people create the heart of Keypath Education. They are the heartbeat and the pulse of the Keypath culture. What I like is how everyone comes from a place of warmth that they pay forward by helping others. Our team is filled with a variety of resourceful individuals from a range of educational backgrounds who are skilled problem solvers. Throughout my life, I've always tried to surround myself with positive, productive, and powerful people. Here at Keypath, I am grateful to be among such a talented and resourceful group of people!