73 - William Minton: Learning ID with the CEO of Canopy
William Minton: Learning ID

73 – William Minton: Learning ID with the CEO of Canopy

TeacherCareerCoach

Today we’re learning about ID (Instructional Design) positions with William Minton, a lifelong educator and the founder of Canopy, a new learning platform for engaging self-paced courses. He has also been a teacher, coach, consultant, instructional designer, and non-profit leader. In this episode, we talk about his background and dive into becoming an instructional designer. 

Listen to the episode in the podcast player below, or find it on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

Learning ID with the CEO of Canopy

Daphne Gomez:
Hi William, thank you so much for being here today.

William Minton:
Excellent. Thanks for having me.

Daphne Gomez:
We have connected on LinkedIn. We’ve had some personal conversations. You are very well known when it comes to the teacher transitions circle community on LinkedIn of people who are interested in becoming instructional designers or people who are just looking to connect with those who are thought leaders in EdTech, but for anyone who has not heard of you, do you mind just giving us a couple sentences about who you are?

William Minton:
Yeah, of course. My name is William Minton first and foremost, I’m an educator. I’m now the founder CEO of Canopy Ed, which is a platform that seeks to simplify learning design, it’s the Canva of the learning design world. But before getting into EdTech, I was in education for 15 years, starting out as a eighth grade math teacher through Teach For America, founded and ran these development organizations, was an instructional coach then I spent a year traveling around the world and visiting top rank schools across five different continents and writing about that experience, which was really illuminating and then I used that to start a consulting shop in 2016, which is evolved into the EdTech company that I run today.

The Path from Teaching to CEO

Daphne Gomez:
Let’s talk a little bit about your experience as a classroom teacher and I think this is how we connected on LinkedIn. I think I might have sent you a cheesy message that just said like, Hey, you’re a CEO and you are a former teacher, I’d love to connect with anyone who shares that same path. What was it about teaching that made you ultimately step out of the classroom?

William Minton:
So, I think relevant to your audience here, I’ve entered and left the classroom three different times. So, I entered the classroom because I was recruited by Teach For America as a social justice mission I wanted to be a part of empowering people to live the lives that they wanted to live, but very quickly got an education myself in what inequity in the United States really looks like. I was teaching at the lowest performing school in the South Bronx. My class was the lowest level class in the eighth grade and just got to see how the brilliance of my students was not given opportunities to flourish by the systems that they were forced into. And there was really soul shattering and after two years of that, I needed to recuperate and I did serve by moving and helping to start up a nonprofit focus on supporting high potential teens in low performing schools.

But these were all teens again, who were high potential amazing lights in their community, but they didn’t have that positive peer community that they needed to really thrive and so we created a nonprofit to help them with that. After a few years, I began to notice that a lot of our work with these teens was about their school grades and the importance of school and while we were doing great work, we had grown that nonprofit to the point where we could hand it off and I decided to go back into the classroom to be part of that other part. I’d seen the students we were working with being not served well by their teachers, the teachers weren’t bringing out the best of them and so I decided to go back to the classroom. Did that for a couple years and then didn’t see the career pathways that I wanted.

Didn’t see the opportunity to use my skill sets and have the type of career journey that I wanted to have in the classroom teaching space and so I left again and became an instructional coach. I did that trip around the world and when I came back from that, I thought I wanted to be a principal and so I went back to the classroom again with this joint teaching admin role and ended up being at a school that was not with reputation suggested it was a mess and at Thanksgiving I was like, I can’t do this. I never thought I would leave the classroom in Thanksgiving, but going into Thanksgiving break, I told my students that I wouldn’t be back and I started my own consulting shop instead.

Looking for Opportunities for Growth Outside the Classroom

Daphne Gomez:
I think that there’s a lot of similarities in our own path where it came from, not even a place of disliking teaching as a profession, but just environmental circumstances. And I think also the more you probably left the classroom dipped your toes into different opportunities, different types of roles, you started to realize you might have been that type of person that really thrives for constant growth and change and creative freedom it sounds. I think the entrepreneur journey creating own nonprofit, creating your own business shows that you’re the type of person that just wants constant growth and teaching can at times just feel like a stagnant career once you’re good at it, there’s always ways that you can adapt and make really innovative lessons, but you do feel somewhat stuck and in a day to day routine.

William Minton:
And the pace scale is definitely stagnant as well, there’s a very clear cap on that and it’s written into the law of whatever district that you’re in. And I love teaching for the creativity part of it. My second year of teaching, I wrote a whole eighth grade math curriculum from scratch that tripled a number of kids on grade level at my school when I taught US history, I developed my own curriculum from scratch. I learned so much about US history that year. I loved it, it was fantastic. The idea of how do humans learn, what types of experiences cause us to acquire information and then be able to apply that information while also reflecting on who we are in the interpersonal and social, emotional and being able to design experiences that help young people become more full versions of themselves and see their curiosity of the world turn on all of that stuff is incredibly exciting to me.

I enjoy it tremendously, but there are limits to what you can do with that and while I love doing it through my 20s and somewhat in my early thirties. Like if I being in my mid forties doing the same work without having other opportunities, I couldn’t see myself in that position. And so I wanted to chart new paths while I could, and also try to expand the scale of my impact beyond the room that I was in. Right. And while it’s a beautiful thing to have a really profound impact on the room that you’re in. I began to see for my own, the scale of impact that I wanted to have was with people who I’ve never met, which took me to doing policy level and some structural stuff and eventually to technology, which is where I think that you have the biggest potential to scale your impact.

Learning ID and Professional Development Consulting

Daphne Gomez:
So, I know you did instructional design for districts, unions, teacher prep organizations, was that when you were doing that policy level work?

William Minton:
Yeah, that was the beginning of my consulting practice and I was engaged in the community and the school board and district administrators, et cetera and I had these connections and then I began to develop stuff for them for free, I had this idea that teacher professional development should be more differentiated, more self-paced and that districts if they created self-paced what we asynchronous now, professional development they could utilize a flipped model where when you’re in the room with other teachers, you should never just be sitting and listening to a presentation, you should be collaborating and engaging and figuring out how to apply the ideas to your unique circumstances. So, we should shift all of that explanatory stuff to self-based pre-work and then you get together and people are like, here’s the data on what we know that you got from trainings.

And so now you can work together in groups and apply these ideas to your unique circumstances. I had this vision of what professional development should look like and I began to pitch that to the PD leaders that I knew and I offered to do it for free and so I was able to partner with them to shift them to this flipped PD model. And then as I began to get a reputation and exceed expectations for the effectiveness of that, then people started to reach out to me of like, Hey, we have this webinar, but it’s a 90 minute webinar and it’s dull and we want people to be able to move through it in a more self-paced manner on their own time, can you do something?

So, I got into the business of people sending us these 90 minute webinars and then we would turn them into these really dynamic self-paced learning experiences that was these three minute animated videos with engagement activities in between and it led to more meaningful learning, it was more enjoyable for the earners and it was easier for the facilitators because they didn’t have to go around the state doing the same PD over and over and over again, they just sent a link and so every people went on all fronts. That’s how I got into that instructional design work and then when COVID hit that took off. So there’s also programs and PD organizations that were moving their whole program to online and they wanted to make sure that they did it well, they didn’t want to just do these webinars and so they reached out and then helped them out with that.

Working in Professional Development Roles

Daphne Gomez:
That’s something similar to what I was doing with one of my past works when I was working for Microsoft, I was doing the professional development, going from school site to school site or speaking at national conferences, just helping people learn how to use it in their classroom and one thing that I did notice were the sessions where you gave here’s 15 minutes of me explaining what it is, but here’s 45 minutes of you actually being able to work on something during this hour that you can take and then use in your classroom. Teachers are so much more appreciative in those types of if I am stuck sitting in this room for an hour, I’d love to be doing something that I can actually use in my classroom instead of just watching.

There’s a lot more of learning going on in those types of situations so I think that was a really smart way for you to still have your finger on the pulse of education, but be able to do it in your own unique way and still bring value back to teachers to classrooms. For that, did you feel your title was formally instructional designer? And the only reason why I’m asking is a lot of times people do those types of projects and then not realize that what they’re doing is instructional design.

William Minton:
It’s funny you asked that because no, I never thought of myself or talked about myself as an instructional designer. I talked about myself as a public sector consultant – I did this for schools, districts, nonprofits, city government, but what I was doing was instructional design and that’s what they were hiring me to do. I don’t think they ever actually searched for an instructional designer and then found me they had a scope of work that they needed to do done and they had heard about my work or had seen it so they reached out to me directly.

William Minton: Learning ID

Learning Project Management and ID Simultaneously

Daphne Gomez:
That is funny that I didn’t really ever feel I was qualified to be an instructional designer myself. I had already created a couple of e-learning courses and then when I applied to the first instructional design position, they were looking at my resume and they’re like, you have experience and I always felt that same level of imposter syndrome of do I really truly have experience in this particular field, but I think it’s a common misconception is that your job title has to formally say that you were a blank because even with that specific experience, that’s a lot of project management that you were also overseeing at the exact same time as instructional design, not as much as bleeding different teams, but in the same way of the project being itself chunking this into a completely different material. This is a product and I’m turning it a new product, that’s a lot of project management that you were doing also.

William Minton:
Absolutely and I would talk about project management as a service that I could offer, but the projects being managed were these instructional design projects and I had a lot of expertise in the matters that I was writing the scripts for these trainings on, but more often than not, I was working with what we call subject matter experts which is just their staff who created the PowerPoint decks they had beforehand and figured and working with them to make sure what I was creating wasn’t my idea of what it means to be a trauma informed educator, but was I was channeling what they were trying to say and as honest the way that was true to their voices possible. And that experience of collaborating with them which again, in instructional design speak is working with your SES was really valuable.

ID and the Importance of Ongoing Learning

And of course, now I do talk like that because years have gone by and I still do some instructional design work around topics that I’m passionate about, but it’s interesting how they came about. I think it also speaks to the rise of instructional design as a profession and as a category. More and more organizations are realizing how important ongoing learning and development is and they’re having to create pathways for their own people as well as their users or external clients create these really effective pathways to train and develop folks. And as that becomes more important to all organizations across the board, you’re seeing this rise of the instructional design role and I think it’s going to become more prevalent and more important in years to come so that a theoretical version of myself, a few years in the future from the very beginning would obviously know they were doing instructional design because it’s just much more out there in the vocabulary now that it was four or five years ago.

Daphne Gomez:
I think training and development are learning and development departments are so important to the health of a company, but things are moving to be more virtual, to be at your own pace and that’s where instructional design really comes in and is starting to be a really… It’s a growing industry where I feel there’s a lot more demand for it than there was even five years ago probably, but it also is one of the most competitive fields for teachers to get into right now because so many people have that on their radar as the only career choice that they really are looking for is just instructional design work and so it’s making it a little bit more competitive.

ID Roles in a Competitive Market

William Minton:
Absolutely. I think this is the most competitive job market for instructional design roles that there’s ever been. There are many more role roles open than there have ever been before, but I think that is more than canceled out by the number of people applying for those roles has increased even more quickly and more dramatically.

Daphne Gomez:
The advice that I always give people when it comes to standing out in a really competitive job market is making sure that you are showing that you are 100% committed to this particular job. Even if you secretly on the backend are committed to two or three different job paths, making sure that you show the hiring manager I’m so committed to instructional design that here’s the up-scaling that I’ve done about instructional design, here’s my portfolio, here is all the learning I’ve done on my own end so it helps alleviate concerns and you’re marketing yourself to that specific position. You’re not telling the hiring manager I’m open to customer support instructional design or project management, because then they’re never going to see you as the instructional designer at that particular place. What types of things would you add to that list?

William Minton:
Well just on that point, I get messages every day from people that say I’ve been a teacher for this number of years and I’ve gained these skills and I realize that my real passion is instructional design. I really love what you’re doing with (insert company name here) would love to get to together and talk sometime and it’s this pseudo customization because they’ve taken the time to put my name at the top and insert my company name there, but it is so obvious that this is a copy and pasted email that they’re sending out to 100 people and it screams that they’re casting a wide net and maybe that’s successful for people sometimes, you could probably know better than me but I don’t engage with those emails.

The Importance of Networking

William Minton:
However, sometimes people will write and they will say something meaningful about something of mine they’ve seen or something that’s a unique experience that they’ve had with our product and it’s clear that they have actually really customize this message for me. And even though we’re not hiring at the moment, I always give those people a personalized reply because they’ve given me a personalized message and that’s really the only way to actually get notice or taken seriously and I know it takes a lot more time to do that, but I think that the overall payoff will be better especially when it’s so crowded.

Daphne Gomez:
I think that… We call it the spray and pay method of rapid fire sending as many messages as possible, but it’s not something that I’ve ever necessarily recommended. I feel taking that time to do quality over quantity really pays off in the long end and we also were hiring on our end and saw something very similar when we were hiring for a customer support person. We had a job description up and the job description said that we were specifically looking for someone who really enjoys supporting other people. They don’t have to have formal customer support experience, but one of the characteristics is maybe being that person that their friends would always reach out to for support. We made it very clear, this is a position where you have really love people and want to help teachers.

You’re going to be answering a lot of their questions, that’s what’s going to make you great at this position. And so I got hundreds of messages that said I’m going to be a perfect fit for your role at company because I am a teacher and then they sent it. And then there were some that were very clearly articulated. This is the right role for me because I am that person that for the last three years I have gone out of my way to mentor other teachers while I’m even in my own transition process. It’s just something that is so important to me, blah, blah, blah and all of those specific detail really helps them stand out above the rest.

William Minton:
Absolutely.

Daphne Gomez:
When it comes to people reaching out for you, you’re not hiring for anyone right now necessarily, but they’re just reaching out to you as the CEO of this company just to put their foot in the door of maybe potentially becoming an instructional designer for you. Are they asking for any specific feedback at the same time?

William Minton:
It’s funny you say that. I don’t think I’ve ever had somebody who’s asked me to give them feedback in one of those messages. I was generally talking about what I can do for them as in offering them a job. Sometimes what they could do for the company but no, no one has ever asked me… I’m thinking about this, what are some advice that you have going into the field now? I give that advice freely so maybe they’ve seen that and that’s why out to me. Interesting question I had to talk about that.

Daphne Gomez:
I think it is presumptuous to just wrap it, send it to a stranger and say, Hey, give me feedback right now, so it makes sense that they haven’t necessarily asked, but I had to ask just in case there was any tidbits that you’ve been giving. What’s some of your favorite advice that you have shared more widely on LinkedIn for those trying to break into instructional design?

William Minton:
So, a lot of the concepts from instructional design are very similar concepts in teaching, but they have different words. So, the biggest thing in instructional design is the process of ADDIE where you analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate and people know that teachers can implement trainings and you want to explain how you’ve implemented itself successfully, but most teachers it’s assumed that they know how to implement or even to develop the materials of what the training should include. The A and the E, the analyze and evaluate part of it, teachers spent a tremendous amount of time analyzing what reading levels children are on or analyzing the gaps in somebody’s knowledge and then looking at post tests or exit tickets to evaluate effectiveness, and then using that data to inform future instructions. Teachers do that all the time, but because hiring managers never saw their own teachers do that through the 13 years that they were in school, they don’t know that teachers do that.

Their experience with teachers with being a teenager and sitting and watching somebody implement training. And so I think really emphasizing the A and the E in ADDIE, emphasizing your analysis skills, emphasizing your evaluation skills is one of those things that can help differentiate you from all the other resumes that are saying like, I designed and implemented this program. You should have that experience and you should mention it, but if you want to emphasize the A and the E it’ll help yourself stand out a little bit more. Something else that I say just make sure that this is the role that you want and figure out what type of instructional design that you want to do.

Learning ID & Teaching

Instructional design roles are as different as teaching roles. It’s humorous that kindergarten teacher in a rural community has the same job title as a high school teacher in an urban community. Doing those jobs are so completely different and the skill sets are so completely different, but they’re both called teacher and you can think of this similarly for instructional design work. Some instructional designers are just tweaking PowerPoints that are made by other people. Sometimes you’re making original PowerPoints and sending them into a void for other trainers to do. Sometimes you’re going back through an old training and doing this little tweak update to it. But sometimes you are able to work with a subject matter expert and come up with a really dynamic set of experiences and ideas for different tools to use, to implement those experiences.

And it can be this really engaging experience around a topic that you’re really interested in, but sometimes you might have to create instruction on something you’re not that interested in. The experience is small organization versus large organization focused more on straight training of how to do the skill versus development work which is more about mindsets and proactive problem solving all this stuff is just a huge range in the profession. So number one, make sure that you want to be an instructional designer and this is the type of work that you want to do, but then beyond that, do I want to be at a big organization or small organization? An organization that focuses on training an organization that focuses more on development and think through these different angles so that you can target what you’re focused on because what you don’t want is to think, once I’m out of the classroom and I have this job, my life will be so much better and then find yourself six months down the line, you’re like, actually I’m pretty miserable here too.

Creating Learning Resources for ID Job Interviews

Daphne Gomez:
So, much good advice there, there was something that really stuck out to me when you were talking about how they could stand out by demonstrating in their interview, their analysis and one other point that I wanted to add to that is something as simple as just creating one or two learning resources, but geared towards adults to have in your portfolio. And there are so many people who are on a time crunch and if you’re looking for instructional design work, you may be thinking all I have to do is revamp my resume, throw it in there and I should get a response. They understand that as a teacher I can create these learning resources. If you are using anything that you used in the classroom, that’s not geared towards teachers, adults, parents, it is pretty my much a red flag, but I would always lean towards create something totally new and unique for a completely different industry if you’re applying for a different type of industry so that they’re able to see you.

William Minton:
I would build off of that. I would say whenever possible, try to do real work for a real partner. And this is easier than you might think it would be especially if you offer to do it for free. So, this could be at your school so like, Hey we should have a family onboarding training for when families join the school, how do we teach them about what it’s like to be a family member at this school, or a training, a professional development internal to your staff or reach out to a community nonprofit and ask them if they do any training or development work with their own team, or as part of their mission in the community and offer to build them something.

William Minton:
They will most likely be excited that you have offered to do this for them and it should be done for free and then once you’ve done it, you’ll number one have learned a lot because while there is overlap of teaching and instructional design, they are quite different and you will learn what is different by actually doing the work. But then you’ll be able to talk about how you did this real work with a partner in your interviews, which is really powerful and again, I can help differentiate you from folks who might not have that.

Learning about ID Job Responsibilities

Daphne Gomez:
Another thing that I heard you talk about that I want to dive into a little bit more is, depending on the type of company that you were at, job duties are going to be different. First point that I want to talk about is job duties are different from basically every company even. A customer support position at company A and a customer support position at company C you could be far more different than you would really understand and tell you are in those unique atmospheres, but there are completely different things when it comes to large companies versus startup companies. I’ve worked for both and now I own a startup company. What have you seen when it comes to the way that employees actually work at startups? What makes an employee… I guess I’m having a hard time phrasing this, but what would make someone successful wanting to work in a startup company when it comes to their personality versus someone who’s working at a larger company?

William Minton:
Good question and I think that’s important especially if people are trying to leave teaching because it’s too much and just want something a little bit more stable, it’s more dependable and then startup probably isn’t the way to go. Startups are scrappy. There’s always more work to do than time to do it and the work doesn’t neatly fall into people’s job descriptions. We’re looking for people who are really passionate about the mission of what we’re up to and are really excited about building better ways for technology to enhance education and who want to think creatively outside of the managerial meaning we had at the beginning of the week. Here’s what you’re going to do and the items where they think creatively generate ideas, experiment with implementing some of these ideas on their own and really be willing to do everything that’s needed and think creatively. The reward and the upside that you get for that is as an early employee, then you are often able to get actual equity in the company.

William Minton:
You own some amount of the company and so if the company ever goes to IPO or there’s an exit because it gets purchased, then you have the ability to make more than a year salary just from that transaction. And so we’re looking for people who are passionate about building the company because they actually own part of the company and it’s in their interest to do that. Whereas in a much larger organization, they are really looking for someone to just more narrowly do their job description in a competent way or might not be open to creativity and innovative ideas.

Daphne Gomez:
I love that when you said the word scrappy, I think that’s a great word with a startup in my own perspective of owning a startup and seeing what types of people have thrived, working for team Teacher Career Coach, we value autonomy. People are given a lot of control over their day to day actions, how they get things done, but everybody on our team is basically a self starter. If they see a problem, they’re the types of people that like to go out of their way to figure out how to solve that problem even if it’s just okay, this workflow isn’t working for some reason, it’s a little bit clunky now I’m going to learn different types of project management strategies to try and help everybody figure out a workflow that’s better, even if that wasn’t in their job duties.

Daphne Gomez:
It’s just the types of people who are really thriving, where there are people who really do, they want a firm handbook of how everything is supposed to work and if you’re coming from a work environment that you were really mentally drained and you don’t feel like you have the bandwidth to go in somewhere and make all these decisions on your own, you might want to go somewhere for the first year, two years outside to the classroom where there’s that onboarding guide. There’s someone who’s going to walk you through step by step how to do everything, but a startup does come with a lot of perks of you’re going to have probably pretty quickly some impressive duties that you’re able to actually put on your resume should in two years, you’re looking for a different type of position as well.

William Minton:
Being part of a startup definitely allows you to acquire many more skills much more quickly and allows you to have a lot more stories about how you creatively work to solve problems or figure things out. I think the way you put it being a self-starter and a creative thinker is a really good description for a profile of someone who would be good at a startup. I hesitate to talk about personality because when we say personality, you tend to think about how much or little someone talks and then how enthusiastic they are when they talk and I think that has very little to do with it, it has a lot more to do with that ability to think proactively and to-

Daphne Gomez:
That’s a great point. At our team definitely, there’s a couple of us who are mouthy and they’re probably listening and they know who they are that they’re outspoken like me and then some who are more reserved, very shy, but also still have those same characteristics of self-starter love thinking outside the box and doing things for themselves, but the mouthy people know who they are for sure.

William Minton:
Actually, I just emphasize that so that we know that people come in all different containers.

Daphne Gomez:
That’s a great point. I want to talk a little bit more about Canopy Ed, the platform that you built and what you’ve been doing, why you built this platform specifically? Let’s start there.

William Minton:
So, Canopy is a platform for individuals, organizations that want a simpler way to design engaging self-pacing learning experiences. We built it because online learning is at this inflection point. The expectations for the depth of learning in an online format are increasing. We want more out of our online learning strategies, both as facilitators and as learners and the pre COVID tech was not really built for deep, durable learning and development, it was built to do these compliance driven.

William Minton:
I went through this training, it’s a single use disposable training, it’s complete now and I’m done with it and we can say that I did the training or you want to create something really dynamic and so you need to have 12 different apps open and 12 different browsers, I’m going to bring in this activity from this app and this activity from this app, and I’m going to make sure that people are engaging in all these different ways, but then number one, it’s stress on timing to put together. And number two, the learner experience is distract and fragmented because even though you’ve done these nice engaging tools, they’re still jumping around from different tabs and they end up thinking as much about the tech as they do about the content and that’s distracting.

William Minton:
So, you have either this self-contained compliance, driven training modules, or you have this fragmented array of external platforms and you do this browser acrobatics to go through a training. We thought that you could create a more holistic vision for how technology can enhance education.

We developed Canopy to help realize the promise of technology for what it could do for education. Technology is a lot more to offer education than what’s been seen so far. And I’m afraid that a lot of the experience with technology and education the last couple years has led people to be like it doesn’t work, we tried that it was stressful, it wasn’t sustainable where you’re going to go back to what we knew beforehand. And I just wrote something about this earlier today if you go to 1888 and you’re like, research has shown that automobiles are less reliable and not as fast as cars, you could have said that, the research would’ve shown that, but that doesn’t take into account the future innovation.

I think that a lot of the reason people have had this experience of learning online, not being sustainable and being too stressful is because they were limited by the technology. They didn’t have a tool like Canopy when the pandemic started, but now they do and the people that were using it are seeing that their lives are just a lot simpler and more joyous when they create these learning experiences and go through them.

Daphne Gomez:
I think there’s a lot of tech frustration and I think that there’s also a good amount of trauma of being thrown into you have to learn all these things really quickly and there’s a lot at stake to learn all these different platforms. And so people are hesitant to learn new platforms, but when you look at what you did learn, what you did use, what you did implement, how it worked and how it was impactful and what you didn’t like about it and then start to tweak it and find new platforms that actually can do all of the things, that’s something that I’m really geeky and passionate about is I go down the rabbit hole and I just keep learning more and more platforms to find the ones that do exactly what I want them to do.

Learning about Canopy and ID Roles

Daphne Gomez:
So, I know that there are people who are going to… Even the tech resistant start to look at the platforms that are actually doing all the things that they didn’t have the time and the space to actually evaluate two years ago and I think Canopy is definitely one of those types of platforms that crosses all the T’s and dots all the I’s.

William Minton:
You shouldn’t need so many different tools, you shouldn’t need every tool for each little thing. So, what we’re trying to do with Canopy is create one platform to replace many. It might not replace 100% of them, but it will replace many of them that simplifies the overall experience. And the other thing I’ll say based off of what you just mentioned, is that we do think of ourselves as a Canva for learning design. So, think about Canva and Adobe. Canva didn’t get people who love Adobe to stop loving Adobe. It didn’t get large organizations that have professional graphic designers to move away from Adobe. What Canva did was it created this whole new category for individuals and small midsize organization so that they could create professional quality graphic design and that’s what we’re doing.

William Minton:
All these small and mid-size organizations are beginning to use Canopy because they can create meaningful learning experiences in a way that they couldn’t before or to do so before they would’ve had to get a full-time system administrator to run their enterprise LMS with all these other apps plugged into it and that person’s that’s their whole job. Whereas with Canopy just like with Canva, the one person who likes doing graphic design can now do that along with everything else they were doing before.

Daphne Gomez:
So, you’re focused on both organizations that are doing learning and development for training and onboarding of new employees potentially for customers, client, resources as well. And then you also have people who are using it inside their classrooms and even for their own instructional design portfolios, right?

William Minton:
Yes. So, we created a flexible learning design platform. So, we have a small and midsize organizations are one of our largest growing groups, we also have a lot of people are using it for professional development and we have a number of people using it in their classroom. But the professional development angle, I think probably because it’s easier for people to use a new product for PD than it is to go through the process of getting something into the classroom, we’re seeing people really enjoy it for PD. And then again, all these small midsize organizations that really wanted to raise the bar for their learning strategies and they didn’t have the right tool to do it. Kajabi, it’s not really built for that then going through getting Canvas or Schoology or something is a bit much and we’re a really good solution for that and allows everybody to raise the bar so they’re not just doing webinars and sending out a webinar recording, they’re able to do something much more interesting and dynamic and get better analytics off it as well.

Learning ID with the CEO of Canopy: In Closing

Daphne Gomez:
This has been such a jam packed episode. I know there are probably so many people who are looking to learn a little bit more, where would be the best place for teachers who are looking to learn a little bit more to find resources?

William Minton:
So, for Canopy specifically, you can check canopyeducation.com. And as far as instructional design, there’s a really great supportive LinkedIn group that you have to ask to be a member of, you’ll be let in no problem it’s called teaching to instructional design something like that, a supportive community of people who are asking these types of questions of each other. Devlin Peck YouTube channel is really great, he has this really strong track record of helping people transition into instructional design roles.

Daphne Gomez:
Is it teaching a path to learning and development or is it a different group?

William Minton:
That sounds right for the group. There’s this great LinkedIn group called teaching a path to learning and development. Let me double check that while we’re on here, I’m in it so teaching a path to L and D.

Daphne Gomez:
Okay, we’re good. And Devlin Peck’s YouTube channel is phenomenal. It has a lot of really great free resources.

William Minton:
You can get everything you need through the free resources there and then he has more in depth courses where he’ll give you actual feedback et cetera, if you want to go through that. But there are a number of resources out there, but the biggest thing I would suggest is finding a partner that you can do real work for probably a community nonprofit or a training that you think that your school could use and actually build that out and have real people go through it.

Daphne Gomez:
Thank you so much, William. It’s been so great to chat with you again, look forward to connecting in the future.

William Minton:
Excellent. Thank you, Daphne.

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