Title: Instructional Designer

Company: Wyndham Vacation Ownership

Education: Associate degree in digital media and bachelor's degree in digital arts and design, Full Sail University

Before he began his career as an entry-level marketer for Marriott, Hollingsworth was helping his brother, a college professor, create self-paced e-learning courses. Then one day he saw a job opening for an instructional designer. "I thought, wow, I've done something like this before and this sounds like it's right up my alley." Now at Wyndham, Hollingsworth is responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining high-impact learning solutions for more than 3,000 sales representatives.

What has been your biggest personal or professional achievement?

I would say it was digitizing our new-hire training. In the past, a new sales rep would receive a 300-page binder. Last year we rolled out a training application on the iPad, which each sales rep has. It was a huge win because it gave us the ability to deploy content to the field, from Vermont to Hawaii, in a matter of minutes.

What really excites me about that is the training is no longer one-dimensional. We have the ability to incorporate videos, HTML5, interactive learning activities, and even more into it. As far as ROI, the printing savings in the first year exceeded $120,000. Also, it's really given us the ability to help recruit and retain top talent. The tangible savings was more than $2.5 million, based on improved retention. We won a Stevie Award for it, as well as an American Resort Development Association Award.

3 Qualities for Success

First, a technology background. My background is in digital media, digital arts, and design. I know all the Adobe products, the Captivates, the page layout programs, the web design programs. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be in the position I am now.

Second is knowing the business. I had the fortune of starting at an entry-level position with the organization I'm currently designing training for, which has allowed me to look at the training more holistically than from just a design or facilitation standpoint.


Third is networking. I have a great network of trainers and subject matter experts from both my company and my industry. This gives me the ability to bounce ideas or concepts off a wide variety of people.

On the Evolution of L&D

I think everything is going to be more mobile. This year, you're going to have more tablets purchased than desktops and laptops combined. The days of users sitting in front of a computer taking a three-hour e-learning course are gone. Going forward, we're going to have to think mobile-first, and really break it down into bite-sized, on-demand training when we're designing it.

Advice for New Trainers

You need to be a jack-of-all-trades. Often, I will be the project manager, the designer, and the facilitator; I roll out whatever I'm developing and also evaluate the training. With budgets nowadays and the way companies are hiring, you really want one person who can do all that. Companies don't have those separate roles anymore.

Staying Current in the Field

I sign up for free training on something that may not even be relevant, just to look at the design aspect and see what type of technology they're using. I also watched probably more than 100 ATD webinars last year. Sometimes I can't get on all of them live, but I'll go back later that night and watch the recorded session.

I also use LinkedIn; I follow a ton of people on there—for example, Simon Sinek, Marshall Goldsmith, John C. Marshall, and Brian Tracy. I will cruise through LinkedIn just to see what people are doing and what new trends are evolving.