Most of my experience has been in adult learning and performance. Recently I’ve been working with a startup that provides content and tools to teens and is sold through high schools. The first course is fairly well defined and is based on a couple of books/workbooks that have been used offline.
What’s been interesting to me is that it’s been hard to find just the right person to help them with designing interactive exercises and writing content in order to bring this to life online.
Actually, the first interesting question is:
What do you call this role?
When we’ve called it either an instructional designer or writer we often find ourselves talking to people who have a hard time envisioning the online interactions. I’m currently calling it an interactive writer, but I’m sure there’s a common term for this in the industry.
The second challenge has been that we want to find someone who can write for today’s teen audience. The style and voice of the course needs to balance being fresh and hip but not losing sight of the importance of the topic. We’ve talked with writers who have incredible experience in publishing for teens (magazines, books) but they don’t get the instructional and interaction aspects.
So the second question is:
How do you find a really good instructional designer / interactive writer who has experience with teen audiences?
In the past, I’ve always been successful finding good interactive writers because I can use techniques as described in LinkedIn for Finding Expertise and the rest of my LinkedIn Guide for Knowledge Workers. In most of those cases, I can search for instructional design + eLearning + <terms> where the terms are something about the specifics of the audience, industry, topic, etc. It doesn’t always work, but generally is pretty good.
In this case, that has not been effective. I’m sure it’s partly an issue of not knowing the right terms to use in a search.
Of course, all of this is made harder in that it’s a startup with a limited budget, so they are generally looking for people who can work efficiently (read inexpensively). And then there’s the whole availability issue. Still this is a common question, so I’m sure I can learn a lot about how to do this better.
I’m hoping you can help me on several fronts:
- What are the right terms to describe the role and would work for search?
- Where should I be searching?
- How would you attack this problem?
- If you know someone, certainly please connect me.