May 12, 2022

Instructional Systems Design Program Prepared Graduate for Dream Job at Salesforce

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (December 3, 2021) — Recently appointed to Apprenticeship 30 Under 30Megan Reynolds is a senior learning experience designer at Salesforce, the powerhouse of customer relationship management.

Graduated from Master’s Program in Instructional Systems Design (ISD) in the University of Kentucky College of Education, Reynolds is pursuing a Ph.D. in science education in the UK.

At Salesforce, Reynolds is developing onboarding training for new account managers. She shared with the UK College of Education more about her career path, her experience in the UK and the future of the learning experience/career field in instructional design.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in instructional design/educational experience design?

Reynolds: I have always been passionate about education and fell in love with learning a long time ago. I began my professional career as an elementary school teacher in Fayette County Public Schools, where I was exposed to rigorous content and curriculum development. As I began to dive deeper into content and program development, I learned that my passion for learning translated into learning design, so my career moved into instructional design.

Why did you choose the program in the UK?

Reynolds: The University of Kentucky was the school for me for several reasons. While near and dear to my heart, he also provided a rigorous, yet personalized learning experience. After contacting the program director, I learned how student-centered the faculty of the program was and how important valuable learning experiences were to them. I am always grateful for my studies in the program because they provided me with a great foundation for my professional career. I found the program to be so helpful and such a great experience that I came back to pursue my PhD in Educational Sciences, with a specialization in Instructional Systems Design (ISD).

How has the program helped you in your career?

Reynolds: I wouldn’t be where I am professionally today without the UK ISD program. I was able to progress faster in my new positions and deepen my understanding of learning theory and strategy through my experience in ISD.

What impact has COVID had on the field of instructional design?

Reynolds: As terrible as COVID-19 has been on the whole world, I think the value of our industry has really shined through the clouds because of it. Companies are rethinking their training and development models, where a trainer stands in front of a classroom full of dozens or hundreds of people to upskill or retrain. Now they send out all-digital online training, comprehensive curricula, and micro-learning experiences. While I think there’s still room for in-person training, when we can get back to that, the days are over where that’s the model for whole programs – I think we’ll see a lot more blended programs or hybrids appear in societies.

Is instructional design a booming career?

Reynolds: I think it’s a booming career. Companies are hiring more diverse candidates than ever before, and this greater diversity provides opportunity for upskilling, retraining, onboarding, and simply maintaining the business status quo. I also think that this career develops as quickly internally as externally; learning theory and teaching practices are changing so rapidly that new jobs continue to be created to capture the essence of the field.

What skills are most needed in this area, and do you think the UK program has helped you develop these skills?

Reynolds: ISD jobs are different from company to company. Some are faster than others, tools differ, etc., but some things remain constant: flexibility, strategic thinking, and confidence in the learning process. The UK program has certainly helped me develop in all three areas and contributed to any success I have in my role. I was able to deepen my understanding of learning theory and cognitive processing, I learned to work with flexibility in mind, and I was always asked to look or dig a little deeper and think strategically.

How about the UK program to someone considering a career change or entry into this field?

Reynolds: Since stepping out of the classroom and into the realm of design, I often get phone calls or LinkedIn messages asking me how I did. I always sing the praises of the UK curriculum to everyone I meet who wants to further their education in the field of ISD. The program offers a great blend of rigor, personalization, and empathy that you won’t find anywhere else. Being a student in the 21st century is difficult as many of us work full time while in the program, have families, and have been particularly impacted by COVID-19. The program in the UK made me feel like more than a number in a program. I felt like a human who mattered, who made all the difference.

Learn more about the Instructional Systems Design Program and Apply Online.