Keep on keeping on

Bees on a lavender bush

Last week I posted an article on LinkedIn about what I’d been up to recently, while I’ve not had any paid work. I still haven’t got a paid project to work on, but I’ve still been busy and I thought I’d just carry on working out loud, but move things over to the blog on my new website, rather than adding my content to LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn article did, in fact, lead to a few people contacting me, which just shows what online networking and working out loud can do. I had conversations about potential work in the future, so at least I’m known to more people. I believe this is known as a ‘client portfolio’, although my northern England ‘inner-voice’ calls me something rude for using such a phrase.

Client portfolio

I’ve been aware of the need to pay attention to building a more robust client list for some time, but this has mostly just involved bookmarking websites in my browser. As I’ve been working almost exclusively for a single client over the last couple of years, I had neglected this task. This is undoubtedly a rookie error, but I suspect many freelancers are the same. It’s only when suddenly your usual clients don’t have anything for you that you get around to contacting others.

To organise myself, I’ve created a board in Trello using the classic Kanban columns layout to keep tabs on the process with each potential client, i.e. ‘To contact’, ‘Contacted’, ‘Response received’ and then others to organise the cards based on the outcome, e.g. ‘Registered’. I’ve also been in touch with some learning-related recruitment agencies, in the hope they might have something for me in the future.

Screenshot of Trello board
My client portfolio board in Trello

Learning design chat

I had a really useful discussion with a fellow learning designer about a project plan and storyboard she’s put together for a client. The plan and our discussion was informed by Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping framework, so we spent a fair amount of time picking out ways in which the workers could be supported to do their jobs more effectively with a focus on performance support, rather than just providing learning content.

As this was related to some health and safety compliance, it took me back a bit (20 years!) to when I worked in HSE for Transco (gas pipeline infrastructure), dealing with occasionally recalcitrant engineers who weren’t particularly keen on paperwork.

Tech tinkering

In the meantime, I’ve continued my tech tinkering in Canva, Camtasia and Articulate 360, and I’ve also started on a new website in WordPress. I got a domain via NameCheap who I’ve used before. They’ve got a service called EasyWP which helps you get things set up fairly simply and also includes a free security certificate. It’s very much a work in progress at the moment and mostly unpublished content but to make a start I’ve got the blog part going, created a placeholder ‘About‘ page and added a contact form. It’s a start!

Arist: text-message learning

I’m always on the lookout for new authoring tools and different ways of designing digital learning experiences. Arist is a relatively new company I’ve had my eye on for a while.

The other day I also got a trial subscription and I’ve been through a short introduction module – delivered via text, as you’d expect.

I’ve been talking to a local school about trialling a short course for students to remind them of exam procedures. The idea is to walk them through the kind of things that the teachers have to drip feed and nag them about in the weeks leading up to their formal exams.

The course content can be delivered via SMS or WhatsApp and might be just the thing to engage these teenage language learners, meeting them where they spend most of their time!

Inner voice:Spoken like a true middle-aged man.

Wife:And what about you?!

It’s an interesting concept and I’ll share more about this in the future.

Alongside my Arist experiment, next week I’ll be contacting more potential clients, hopefully receiving replies from others, setting up some virtual coffee chats and tinkering with more tech tools.

Digital Discovery

My discovery of the week is the fabulous My Brain is Open website. I highly recommend checking out this site which has been set up by an unnamed Learning Technologist at the University of London. It’s beautifully designed and although brand new, it already contains some fabulous content. In particular, check out the interactive timeline of learning theories.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve got any thoughts on this, I’d love to read them.

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