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August 2020
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TD Magazine

Teaching Via Instructional Design

Claire Bradley

Title Instructional Designer

Organization CenterPoint Energy

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Location Houston, Texas

LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/claireebradley

Education Bachelor's degree, geography (Texas Tech University); graduate certificate, adult education (Sam Houston State University)

Favorite Quote "If you're pretty, you're pretty. But the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise it's just ‘congratulations on your face.'" —John Mayer

As a child, Claire Bradley envisioned herself as a teacher. Instead, she began a career in L&D when she accepted a full-time trainer opportunity with CenterPoint Energy. She had previously been working for the company's geographic information system mapping department after college. Today, as an instructional designer for CenterPoint, Bradley is responsible for delivering training to more than 250 customer service agents at three different call centers.

What factors contribute to the ideal learning experience?

I see the most success when students have a clear understanding of the learning objective and the opportunity to self-assess their ability to meet it before moving past the lesson. If a student feels confident that they've learned what they were supposed to, they'll be more receptive to the next bit of information. Asking students to rate their confidence in completing the learning objective before moving on allows both the student and trainer to discover how much learning occurred.

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What impact did COVID-19 have on your training plans and goals for the year?

Prior to COVID-19, our training was 90 percent instructor led and 10 percent e-learning. When all our employees were sent to work from home, I was tasked with modifying the classroom experience to be virtually instructor led. I also took on the role of technical expert as I supported trainers transitioning to the virtual platform. That obviously postponed my planned assignments, affecting my priorities for the rest of the year.

Looking over your career in L&D, what accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?

As a utility company, a lot of our training content is based on regulations from each state's public service commission. The impact of students following those guidelines is huge, and the stakeholders are extremely invested in their success. I recognized a learning gap for an annual training and partnered with the regulatory affairs manager to transform a 100-page manual into an engaging and memorable learning experience. I was happy to receive positive feedback from leaders and hear employees say they felt more confident than ever in their abilities to uphold the service rules.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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