When the United Arab Emirates government recruited me to move overseas and participate in their educational reform, I quickly became aware that many Western expatriate teachers had an identical pain point.
They were struggling to adapt to a totally different society and practice culturally relevant pedagogy. In response to those concerns, I used a learning platform to create a course specifically for them that addressed all of their concerns and offered effective solutions.
Shifting Audience, Shifting Impact
When I repatriated back to the States a few years later I created another course that offered solutions to American teachers desperate to leave the field. In each case, listening deeply to the stated goals of my learners and understanding their challenges increased my empathy. Creating user centric learning experiences for various learners requires me to effectively juggle multiple hats, which in turn enhances them.
Speak to Your Audience
My writing chops became more flexible as I ditched the formal academic tone learned during my postgraduate years. I kicked the passive voice to the curb and invited my active voice out to play!
The acronym KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart – became my new favorite phrase. As a native New Yorker, direct and blunt language is my modus operandi, minus the offensive (to some) cursing. My patience increased as I went through seemingly endless iterations. I developed a sharper eye for visual design and my research skills morphed into Sherlock Holmes levels.
There are so many benefits to those of us passionate about creating user centric experiences that speak directly to the needs of our learners.
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, writing in ways that speak to your learners, and developing solutions to irritating problems shapes how we perceive and engage the world around us.
Our ability to identify with others increases, our communication becomes smoother and we become solution oriented. These are important life skills that help make ourselves and the world around us better. That has certainly been the case for me.