From Accidental Trainer to Master Educator

Unexpected turns and transformative experiences in education and training typically fill the path to mastery.

Tina Butcher’s journey from being an accidental trainer to becoming a master educator showcases the power of continuous learning and the impact of structured education.

The Accidental Trainer

The career of Tina Butcher, M.A. ’23, Learning and Performance Technology, spans over 35 years, during which she found herself as a trainer almost serendipitously. As a subject matter expert, she was often called upon to impart her knowledge to others. This common scenario in organizations led Tina to coin the term “accidental trainer,” a label that resonated with many of her peers.

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The Quest for Rigor and Structure

While Tina’s training endeavors garnered positive feedback, she recognized the need for a more structured and rigorous approach to education. She sought a program to provide her with the depth of knowledge and methodology required to elevate her training efforts.

Discovering UMBC’s Learning and Performance Technology Program

The turning point came when Tina discovered UMBC’s Learning and Performance Technology program. Unlike other programs she had explored, UMBC tailors its curriculum not only to K-12 education but also to adult education. This crucial distinction was precisely what Tina had been searching for.

The Power of a Roadmap: Applying the ADDIE Model

The UMBC program offered Tina a roadmap aligned seamlessly with her preferred instructional design model, ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation). Each course focused on a different element of the design process, allowing Tina to build her skills systematically.

Illuminating Aha Moments: Adult Education and Informal Learning

Two significant concepts reshaped Tina’s approach to training. Firstly, the emphasis on adult education highlighted the importance of controlling learners’ learning experience. Secondly, recognizing informal learning as a dominant educational force prompted Tina to find ways to harness this dynamic.

The Impact of Training Needs Analysis

The program underscored the critical role of training needs analysis in effective instructional design. This process determined whether training was the appropriate solution and guided the design to address specific learner needs.

Embracing Collaboration and Diversity

Tina’s experience in the program had extended beyond individual learning. Collaborative projects exposed her to diverse perspectives and projects in various fields, enriching her understanding of the multifaceted nature of instructional design.

Post-Graduation: A New Chapter Begins

Upon graduating and retiring, Tina embarked on a new chapter. She now dedicates her time to training, design, and development, applying the skills she honed at UMBC. Her journey is a testament to the enduring value of education, regardless of one’s career stage.


Tina Butcher’s journey from accidental trainer to master educator exemplifies the potential for growth and transformation through structured education. Her experience at UMBC’s Learning and Performance Technology program serves as an inspiration for all who seek to excel in the field of education and training. It underscores the timeless truth that learning is a lifelong endeavor, and with the proper guidance, one can continue to reach new heights in one’s professional journey.

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1 Comment

  1. JoAnn Klinedinst says:

    What a great personification of #neverstoplearning with #UMBC and beyond!

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