Instructional Designer

Peyton Manning & Instructional Design

Was never a big football fan. I moved to Denver in 1998. I spent Super Bowl Sunday 1998 when the Broncos won their second Super Bowl on the Ski Train to Winter Park because the tickets were buy one get one free. And no, I don’t ski. However, there is something magical about this town and its love of football that kind of pulls you in after a while, so I just don’t resist it anymore.

I really enjoyed watching the Broncos and Peyton Manning for the last four seasons. I knew and I actually hoped it was coming but I didn’t expect to wake up this morning to the news that Peyton Manning would announce his retirement tomorrow. Isn’t it kind of funny that the world we live that it’s big news that someone is going to announce their retirement TOMORROW? Anyway, given my location, it’s a big deal on the news, on Twitter and on my Facebook feed. I keep reading one thing – Peyton Manning made the people around him better.

Congratulations Peyton, on an incredible career. You changed the game forever and made everyone around you better. It’s been an honor. – Tom Brady, New England Patriots (From Facebook)

So what does Peyton Manning have to do with Instructional Design, Instructional Technology, or eLearning? I’m sure he’s not going to sit down and build an engaging Captivate module about football but he does what we should all be striving to do as professionals – he helps people to become better at their jobs. Tom Brady, perhaps Peyton Manning’s biggest rival over the years, is a better quarterback because of Manning’s influence. Brock Osweiler is a better quarterback because he worked with Peyton Manning. The influence this man has on competitors and his teammates is immeasurable. I don’t think it’s unintentional either. There isn’t anything in his contract that states he has to but he’s the guy who stays late after practice to run extra routes with his receivers. He put in a lot of extra time in the preseason this year – a 39 year-old veteran one of the greatest to play the position in his 18th year in the league. By all means this guy shouldn’t have to do any extra work but he’s driven. This season wasn’t special. This is what Peyton Manning does. You can Google the stories of Manning working with teammates in the off season or after practice, sure it helps Manning to become better but they are all getting better. I hope that Peyton Manning’s next move isn’t to a TV broadcast booth, he has so much knowledge to share.

Our team, our organization and our community are all better because of Peyton Manning. He raised the performance of those around him and raised the level of excellence here at the Broncos. Peyton’s been a first-class ambassador who did things the right way and had such a positive impact on the Broncos. – Joe Ellis, President, Chairman and CEO Denver Broncos from Denver Broncos Press Release

When it gets down to the to the very essence of what we all do in Learning & Development, we strive to improve learner’s job performance by creating engaging behavior changing experiences – essentially we build tools that learners can use to become better at their jobs. I’ve had quite a few days of frustration lately. It seems like this fact gets lost in the walls of text, the brand standard, the Oxford commas. If we aren’t engaging learners and helping them to make the necessary changes to perform their jobs then we have failed as Learning & Development professionals and none of those things I mentioned earlier matter. I feel as if I am fighting an internal battle each day between doing what I feel is right and doing what is required of me. Maybe I’m a little bit (or a lot) of an idealist, but building training to check a box seems like such a waste of resources for the organization. I want to be Peyton Manning but behind the scenes, making an impact on learners and the organization one eLearning module at a time. Yes, I know patience and time. Cruise ships can’t stop on a dime to change direction but if we don’t fight the good fight who will?

There’s not a day that’s gone by since I’ve been in the league, that I haven’t learned something from Peyton. – Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos from Yahoo Sports

He might be the greatest “regular season” quarterback of all time but he’s taken some mediocre Colts teams into the playoffs. His leadership elevates those around him. The other parallel I can draw between Instructional Design and Peyton Manning is to have a Peyton Manning in your life.

Nobody worked harder at the game, and nobody prepared harder than Peyton. His preparation was the best I’ve ever seen with how he went about his business. There was nothing like his work habits. Each and every week, he did everything he could to get ready to play, not only against the defense but against the coordinator. – Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak Denver Broncos Press Release 

What do I mean by “Have a Peyton Manning in your life?” Someone who will go out there with you and run those extra routes after practice. Push you to be a better at what you do or even be an example for you to follow. My Peyton Manning has helped me to be a better Instructional Designer and eLearning Developer. I use him as an example of how to model my career. I see how he’s always expanding his skills and I want to constantly get better because of him. To keep going with the football analogies, he’s also my biggest cheerleader. He’s a great friend and his influence has reached into my personal life as well. I’ve grown as a person because of my relationship with him.

”I get asked a lot about my legacy,” Manning said before the Super Bowl. ”For me, it’s being a good teammate, having the respect of my teammates, having the respect of the coaches and players. That’s important to me. I am not taking this for granted. I just love football.” – Yahoo Sports

When you get the opportunity, pay it forward. One of the most fun things I’ve done professionally is share my Instructional Design knowledge with a coworker. I feel like a Brock Osweiler but there will always be a Trevor Siemian to help. Although I no longer hold that position, I still answer his questions and give him help when he needs it.

I just love Instructional Design and I will miss Sundays with Peyton Manning.

  • Ginger Nichols,
  • March 6, 2016

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