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From Dream Homes to Dream Courses

My Journey to Becoming a Fractional Chief Learning Architect (officer)

⊮ My Journey To Becoming A Fractional Chief Learning Architect ⊾

Back in high school, the prospect of becoming an architect was all-consuming. I was spellbound by the world of design, mesmerized by the very act of bringing imaginations to life on paper. But upon discovering that the path to becoming an architect required a daunting eight years of college, I promptly shelved that dream. Life, as they say, has a sense of humor. Ironically, as a zealous lifelong learner, I’ve since accumulated far more than those intimidating eight years of education. Now, with a doctorate in instructional design for online learning and a slew of certificates under my belt, I’ve come full circle. Instead of drafting blueprints for homes, I craft plans for dream courses as a Fractional Chief Learning Architect.

The Architect in Me

Every great architect understands that beneath the beauty of a structure lies a web of planning, strategy, and engineering. My first foray into this world was in a high school drafting class, where I grasped the symbiotic relationship between creativity and structure. While I was enamored with the idea of constructing homes that would endure generations, I realized that the allure lay in the design process – the magic of metamorphosing a vision into palpable reality.

The Layers of Learning

My academic journey took a turn towards education, and my dissertation introduced me to Andrew Gibbons’ layered approach to instructional design. This was my eureka moment. Gibbons’ philosophy mirrored that foundational lesson from my drafting class: behind every great course is a carefully constructed design.

But it wasn’t just about layering content. It was about understanding the learner’s needs, the objectives of the course, and the best methodologies to deliver it effectively. I was no longer just a dreamer; I was a strategist, dissecting the anatomy of effective learning.

Bridging Two Worlds

As my career evolved, I found myself at the intersection of two pivotal roles: the Chief Learning Officer and the Learning Engineer. One, a visionary, looking at the big picture of organizational learning, and the other, a creator, meticulously crafting the learning experience. And just like that, the Fractional Chief Learning Architect was born.

As a fCLA, I get to wear both hats. I dream up the ‘homes’ – envisioning the larger framework of the course. Then, I roll up my sleeves and delve into the ‘blueprints’ – designing the intricate plans to bring the course to life. It’s the perfect amalgamation of my early passion for architecture and my profound love for education.

Dreaming and Doing

Today, I find unparalleled joy in helping others bring their dream courses to life. Every consultation, every design session, and every strategy meeting is a reminder of that high school drafting class. But instead of homes, I now design learning experiences that stand the test of time.

For those who dream of creating transformative learning experiences, know that it’s a journey of both imagination and meticulous planning. But at the end of the day, just like building a dream home, it’s all worth it.

Share Your Journey!

Every journey, like every course, is unique. Just as I’ve shared my winding path from architectural dreams to becoming a Fractional Chief Learning Architect (officer), I’d love to hear about your own personal journey. 

➡ How have your early dreams or interests shaped your current passions or professions? 

Share your story in the comments below. Let’s celebrate the unexpected twists and turns that make our paths so beautifully unpredictable.

Cheers, Sarah

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