10 Habits Of Top-Notch eLearning Professionals

What separates the best from the rest? I’m sure that the first word that comes to mind is “talent”. Granted, talent is important; but it is not enough on its own. How often in life haven’t you seen talent being wasted by lack of motivation, focus, and hard work? Unfortunately, or fortunately, talent is not the trait that separates the good from the mediocre. The high achievers of this world share two other characteristics: Determination and will. To stand out from the crowd of eLearning professionals, you need to be determined to succeed. To rise above the rest you need to be in love with what you do, work hard, and really want to make a difference. You also need to start doing what successful professionals do. This is why in this article, I will share 10 habits that separate the successful ones from the mediocre. Building these habits takes time, practicing them over and over again, and figuring out what areas to work hard at without losing focus and faith. But guess what? It is certainly worth the effort.

This is what Top-Notch eLearning Professionals do to stand out from the crowd:

  1. They don’t give up.
    Thomas Edison had famously said “I have not failed; I’ve just found 10.000 ways that won’t work”. Persistence is the key to success; if you are not able to accept that failure is inevitable when working towards your goals, you will not be able to achieve anything more than random successes related to pure luck. Failure comes in many forms, e.g. making mistakes or facing rejection, but not giving up is critical. Failing is always hurtful, but the way you are dealing with it is the deciding factor: Will you allow it to teach you something or prevent you from moving forward? The first choice is what top eLearning professionals go with; they learn from their mistakes, analyze their unpleasant experiences, and use the data to get a little closer to their goals every time. We all make mistakes and we all get rejected at one point or another. Your focus should not be on how to avoid mistakes, but rather on how to use any challenge in your favor, i.e. how to use it to develop your critical thinking and problem solving skills. This is the only way to deal with a mistake: Learn from it.
  2. They respect every project they take on, whether they like it or not.
    Top-notch eLearning professionals
     are not snobbish about eLearning projects. If you’re getting paid for your work, you need to do your best regardless of the job. There are no unimportant projects or unimportant clients; every single task you take on is equally important. Of course there will be difficult clients, impossible Subject Matter Experts, and boring assignments, but what will separate you from the rest of the pack is professional responsibility. If you absolutely hate a project or a client, maybe it’s better to cut ties with them. But if you decide to take on the particular project, you must respect your work and deliver an exceptional product.
  3. They value time.
    High achieving eLearning professionals don’t waste time. They know that constantly taking breaks from what they are doing will not help them achieve success. They highly value their time, because they know that it is their most treasured asset. Valuing time does not mean overdoing it and burning out, because to deliver a professional work you need to have a clear head and a well rested mind. But poor time management skills will lead to missing deadlines, appointments, useful networking opportunities, and, most likely, your professional credibility. So, make a habit of valuing time, yours and others’ around you, and start by developing your time management skills, now.
  4. They do not procrastinate.
    Speaking of “now”, procrastination and success don’t go hand in hand: On the contrary, procrastination slowly, but very effectively, reduces and ultimately kills motivation, which is the fuel of success. Are you the type who waits for the market to get better? Or for their current project to be completed? Or for their kids to finish school? Maybe you should modify your plans and adjust them to your timetable. But don’t waste time: Create smaller goals, more feasible and realistic. Stop slipping further behind week after week. Move towards your goals taking a smaller step; but keep moving.
  5. They are open to feedback.
    Top-notch eLearning professionals value feedback and reflection, simply because it makes perfect sense. When you work in the learning business, you know that feedback is essential to the learning process. Thus, ignoring any feedback related to your personal development is like saying “there is nothing more I need to learn”. Communicating with other professionals, sharing experiences, and knowing how to accept constructive feedback is essential; it is actually a great way to test your ideas, methods, and future plans. On the other hand, being defensive or taking criticism personally will not only deprive you of the opportunity to learn something new or see a different, often refreshing perspective, but will also isolate you from the eLearning community, which, trust me, will be a fatal mistake.
  6. They never say no to networking.
    Being an active member of the eLearning community is critical, as relationships are the catalyst for success; a fact that high achievers know well. People work with those they know, like, and trust, and how else will you know other people and get them to like and trust you unless you get out there and connect with them? Networking not only is the ultimate way to build and cultivate relationships, but also can offer you new career opportunities, accelerate your professional development, and give you a hand when you have any kind of trouble. Also, it is a great way to be positively influenced by people you admire for their achievements, knowledge, and experience. Networking can offer you great advice that Google cannot give you, assistance that your friends are not able to provide you with, and get you back in the game when you haven’t worked for a while. So, go to eLearning conferences, be active on LinkedIn, and build effective networks with other eLearning professionals on Facebook and Twitter. Connect with, and even model successful people who share your goals and values and see the profound impact this will have on your business and personal life.
  7. They embrace collaboration.
    But there is another kind of relationship top-notch eLearning professionals are very interested in: the one they have with their eLearning team. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, you must realize that success is about people. When you are a part of a team, you need to know what to do best and how to use other people’s talents for what you don’t know that well. Effective collaboration cultivates creativity, promotes forward thinking, and boosts performance. Improve your communication skills if you have to, and learn how to relate to project managers, graphic designers, Instructional Designers, Subject Matter Experts, and programmers at all levels. Fostering your relationships with your team will not only increase its performance, but also boost the effectiveness of your eLearning projects.
  8. They always look for opportunities to learn.
    eLearning professionals know that learning is an ongoing process. Top-notch eLearning professionals are thirstier for knowledge than their own learners are. They grab every opportunity to learn; from their audience, their colleagues, books, blogs, social media, websites, you name it. To stand out from the crowd, to separate yourself from the rest of the pack you need to never stop learning. Always keep your eyes open and focus on everything that grabs your attention. Learn as much as you can about Instructional Design, graphic design, programming, writing, project management, communication skills, teaching skills, and so on; be a perpetual learner and never stop looking for new ideas, methods, and tools. No knowledge is ever wasted.
  9. They push themselves out of their comfort zones.
    High achievers are survivors; they face failures without ever losing sight of their goal. Most importantly, they take risks. Have you ever met a top-notch eLearning professional who was simply a follower, who only tried the same things others did before them, who didn’t push themselves out of their comfort zone? Neither have I. Whatever the result of your risk taking, whether it is a total failure or a total success, examining what happened and what can be learnt will develop your big picture thinking skills and help you gain confidence and maintain a positive outlook, which is more than essential. I’m not suggesting you should suddenly quit your job or take on a project which is way out of your potential. I’m only saying: Push yourself to the limits. Push yourself through doubt and fear. Get deadlines, competition, challenges, and your own goals to push you. Get out of your comfort zone. Only this way you will set yourself up for better projects and success.
  10. They really, really, love their job.
    Highly successful eLearning professionals have a true passion for eLearning; under no circumstances they would invest their time, energy, and resources on anything less than their passion. Think about what you do for a living and ask yourself a simple question: “Would you do it for free?”; if the answer is “Yes!”, you are not only a very lucky person, but also very likely to make a difference and separate yourself from the crowd. In fact, having a true passion for eLearning is the only habit of top-notch eLearning professionals that is incredibly difficult to “build”; you are either feeling it or not. If you find true pleasure in your job, that is if it offers you a great sense of achievement and happiness, you have made the biggest and most important step towards success. It means that no failure can discourage you and no mistake can demotivate you, because you have a passion; and passion is just a free and unlimited fuel.

Now that you know what separates top-notch eLearning professionals from the mediocre ones, you may be interested in learning about what makes an eLearning team a high performance eLearning team. Read the article The Top 7 Qualities Of A High Performance eLearning Team and learn everything you need to know about how to ensure that your team is not only a truly great eLearning professional group, but also 100% dedicated to attaining their shared goals.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

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