A Look At What An Instructional Designer Is About

shutterstock_113010517What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is using specific integrated systems to develop instructional specifications relying upon established theories to ensure the quality of the curricula being developed.

Who is an Instructional Designer?

An instructional designer engages in a theory and research-based process of designing and implementing instruction for enhanced learning. Instructional designers perform a broad scope of tasks; these range from designing training materials, writing manuals and guides, to developing full course materials, or entire curricula. The multimedia formats they use may vary from operational job-aid materials such as simple pamphlets and online tutorials to complex interactive multimedia. The delivery system may also vary from face-to-face classroom instruction to online learning, and/or combined courses for blended learning.

It is imperative for an Instructional Designer to have clear goals to help learners remain focused and going in the right direction. Their primary objective is to provide learners with context and multiple perspectives, drawing attention to small details but always keeping in mind the bigger picture.

Six steps of an instructional design process:

  1. An Instructional Designer should conduct ‘needs’ research, analyzing the needs of the targeted group.
  2. Determine whether those needs can be fulfilled by learning and how that can be done.
  3. Write learning objectives and conduct research to see the outcome.
  4. Assess each trainee’s skills and knowledge upon entry.
  5. Based on the analyses and results, an Instructional Designer then has to choose the instructional strategies, training techniques and select the media formats that work best in the given situation.
  6. After the course is over, the designer needs to follow-up with participants, making sure the course has been helpful and sufficient for both their future personal and professional growth.

To be a good instructional designer an individual needs to:

  • Hypothetically and intuitively understand how people learn.
  • Enjoy learning, themselves.
  • Come up with creative treatments and new instructional strategies.
  • Envision instructional graphics, user interface, interactions and the finished product.
  • Write operative and instructional text, audio / video / interactive media scripts.
  • Combine ideas with subject matter experts and team members
  • Know the abilities of e-learning development tools and software for use
  • Understand usability and experience design, information design, communications and new technologies.

Just a brief look into who and what an Instructional Designer is.

Danielle VanZorn, PMP, SPHR

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