The Role of Instructional Designer
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Author: Travis Jordan
What is Instructional Design?
Instructional design (sometime referred to as ID), is the process by which learning products are designed, developed, and delivered. Below are other terms sometimes used interchangeably to describe instructional design. Although these terms are not necessarily synonymous, they do share a common foundation.
Learning Experience Design (LXD)
Learning and Development (L&D)
Instructional Systems Design (ISD)
"THE DEMAND FOR INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNERS WHO CAN CREATE EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS HAS INCREASED. IN 2018, THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS PROJECTED JOB GROWTH OF 9% IN THIS FIELD DURING THE NEXT 10 YEARS—HIGHER THAN AVERAGE FOR ALL OTHER CAREER FIELDS."
What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
Instructional designers are responsible for designing and developing learning products. They are also commonly responsible for evaluating learning effectiveness. This includes determining whether the learning product led to a behavioral change. In short, Instructional designers (ID's) are the "architects" of the learning experience.
When creating learning products, instructional designers generally apply a systematic methodology (or process) that is deeply rooted in long-standing learning theory, principles, and models. This process is sometimes referred to as instructional systems design (ISD).
"INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNERS ARE THE ARCHITECTS OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE."
Roles of Instructional Designer
Instructional designers are often required to wear many hats and hold various responsibilities. This is often the case with smaller organizations. This requires a great deal of versatility and flexibility from instructional design professionals. See below.
Creator Instructional designers often create learning products including online courses, instructional manuals, instructional media, video tutorials, learning simulations, exams, and assessments.
The Analyst Instructional designers often analyze learning needs and performance gaps and then suggests possible solutions. They also analyze and curate existing learning content. They may also do an audience analysis to better understand the desired learning experience.
The Architect Instructional designers often architect (or design)the learning experience. This may include creating storyboards or mock-ups and designing course curriculum flow or structure.
The Project Manager Instructional designers often plan and manage learning projects. This may include creating project plans, roadmaps, and implementation plans. The Evaluator Instructional designers often evaluate the effectiveness of learning products. This may include creating surveys or other evaluation instruments. It may also include creating a formative or summative evaluation plan. The Marketer Instructional designers often market learning products both internally and externally. This may include creating a communication plan or promotional materials. The Administrator Instructional designers often administer Learning Management Systems (LMS) and other learning platforms. Managing a learning platform may include enrolling new users to learning products, adding, and updating learning products and content, and reviewing and sharing learner results such completion rates and quiz scores. The Consultant Instructional designers often consult (or advise) on learning products. This may include creating a needs analysis or an in-depth learning strategy. This may also include providing instruction on proper learning strategies, models, and methods.
The difference between a GOOD instructional designer and a GREAT instructional designer is ability to solve problems. The ability to identify problems and find a solution is the essence of instructional design. This is "the X Factor", or a quality that has a strong influence and outcome. Instructional design is not just about technology or curriculum design, it is much more. A great instructional designer can quickly dissect a performance problem, and then rapidly implement a learning solution. If you love to solve problems, you might make a great instructional designer!