5 Tips To Improve Your Instructional Design Skills In 30 Days

How To Improve Your Instructional Design Skills In 30 Days

There are some Instructional Design talents and abilities that can only be acquired through experience. There are other skills, however, that Instructional Designers can drastically improve within a matter of weeks. With determination, focus, and some helpful tips, you have the opportunity to create more effective, interactive, and immersive eLearning courses by fine tuning your core Instructional Design skills set. Better still, this can all be done in less than 30 days.

  1. Assign yourself a micro-course on a weekly basis.
    Choose a topic and start a sample storyboard that highlights every aspect of your eLearning micro-course, even if you aren’t currently working on an eLearning project. Decide what you will include, what can be left out, the goals and objectives of the eLearning micro-course, and how you are going to convey the necessary information to your fictional target audience. Once you’ve finished, edit and revise the eLearning project as you normally would and analyze its strengths and weaknesses. As a bonus, these "test" eLearning micro-courses also make ideal additions to your Instructional Design portfolio, especially if you have a variety of different client projects that cannot be included. This skill development technique is particularly useful because it gives you the opportunity to improve virtually every skill you use on-the-job. From online content creation to graphic design, you can fine tune all of the abilities that you need, to design amazing eLearning courses.
  2. Read up on the latest trends and technologies.
    Human beings are naturally curious, but Instructional Designers take it to a whole new level. We inherently have a thirst for knowledge, which means that we enjoy staying up-to-date with the latest trends and tech tools in the eLearning industry. During the next month make a point to read at least one eLearning article, book chapter, or Instructional Design blog post per day. Focus on a new topic each day and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to absorb and retain the information. You can also listen to podcasts, watch online videos, and click through slideshows to learn about new theories, ideas, or technologies. Social media is a great tool for Instructional Designers, as it allows you to reach out to like-minded Instructional Designers and join online networking groups. Even if you can’t attend eLearning conferences or webinars, you can still log into to Facebook or LinkedIn and expand your Instructional Design skills.
  3. Try a new authoring tool every day.
    I’m not suggesting that you go out and purchase a new authoring tool each day for the next month, as that might get a bit out of hand. However, there is a variety of free or low-cost authoring tools that you can try, as well as paid solutions that offer free trials. Pick a new tool every day, whether it be an eLearning authoring tool or a simple audio editing tool that allows you to use eLearning templates to create interactive scenarios. Explore the interface at length and take your time examining all of the features that it has to offer. If it’s ideally suited for your eLearning projects, then add it to your Instructional Designer toolbox. If it isn’t a good fit for you, then at least you’ve given it a fair chance before setting it aside. Worst-case scenario; you’ve learned more about the features that are available and have narrowed down the functions that you are looking for. It has also given you the chance to improve your Instructional Design skills in the process.
  4. Collect feedback from your target audience.
    This tip may seem out of place, but you can actually learn a lot about Instructional Design by asking your learners for their opinion. They can offer you a clear idea of the strengths of your current eLearning courses, as well as areas that may need some improvement. You can then use that information to determine which skills you may want to focus on. Focus groups, surveys, and interviews are all great ways to collect data. Make sure that you get the eLearning feedback you need, however, by asking the right questions and concentrating on key points. For example, if you have a suspicion that you may need to focus on your graphic design skills, ask your learners about that particular aspect of the eLearning course. Feedback is a priceless tool that enables you to learn more about your eLearning course in order to improve your next eLearning deliverable.
  5. Become an online learner yourself.
    If you want to work on a particular skill set intensively, then you may want to think about taking an online course yourself. Search through eLearning or MOOC course catalogs and find a topic that interests you. There is a variety of free online courses available, which means that you won’t have to pay a dime out of pocket to enroll and build your Instructional Design Skills. Becoming an online learner can also give you the chance to walk in the shoes of your eLearning audience. You can get a firsthand look at what works, what doesn’t, and what motivates you to actively participate. If the online course you attend falls short of expectations, then you have the opportunity to avoid its pitfalls when creating your eLearning course. Likewise, if it is truly effective and leaves a lasting impression, then you can integrate its winning elements into your next eLearning course.

Ongoing skill development is essential for Instructional Designers, as trends and technologies in eLearning are constantly evolving and changing. Use these tips to improve your Instructional Design skills and offer your online learners a memorable eLearning experience.

Visual design is an essential skill for Instructional Designers. Read the article 10 Tips To Improve Your Visual Design Skills For Non-Designers to discover valuable information that can help you create aesthetically pleasing and highly effective online courses.

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