Jillian Douglas is a co-founder at IdeaLearning Group, an online adult learning service based in Portland, Ore. She answers today’s employer 5 in 5! with some insight into her industry.
1. How did you get started in the industry? How can someone who is interested in your work get started?
My bachelor’s degree is in hotel management. I worked in that industry for a few years and then began teaching a vocational program in hotel management. From there I worked for an e-learning startup doing instructional design for a super cool customer service simulation. I then spent many years in corporate education before finally starting IdeaLearning Group in 2009.
To get started, I would say that some formal education in instructional design is useful, but being passionate about your work is more important than anything else. Do some work, build a portfolio. When I was first starting out, I would build classes that nobody would ever see, just to practice.
2. What’s the future of your industry or job?
The future is technology. Eventually there will be an affordable and efficient standard tool for bringing video game-like learning to employee development.
3. What do you look for when you hire an intern or entry-level candidate?
Passion, enthusiasm, the ability to communicate effectively, and to help us see things from a fresh perspective. Ask questions, challenge us, and push us. It’s as much a learning experience for us as it is for the intern.
4. What is one thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression? To make a negative impression?
Well to get in the door, please, be articulate – in writing and verbally. Our business is about transferring knowledge. If you can’t educate us on yourself, it’s highly questionable if you can design learning materials. Also, know what you want to learn; I can’t help you if you don’t know that.
Once on the job, I really appreciate a little moxie. Please push us to try things we never would have thought of.
5. Can you share a positive intern story?
We are just wrapping our first intern experience, and it has been great. We’ll be looking for another next season.