7 Steps To Lead You To A Successful Instructional Designer Career
Choosing to become an Instructional Designer can lead to a truly rewarding career path. Not only do you get the chance to earn a living by doing what you are passionate about, but you also have the opportunity to give others the gift of knowledge. Keep in mind that an effectively designed eLearning course or training module can make a world of difference in someone's personal or professional life. With that being said, knowing which steps to take in order to become an Instructional Designer may be crucial for your career.
Step #1. Determine your primary objective and/or specialty
The first thing you'll want to think about is what niche you'd like to specialize in and/or your primary objective of becoming an Instructional Designer. Is there a specific skill that you feel needs to be taught and may be currently undervalued? Are you planning on specializing in the educational sector or the corporate sector? Are you an expert in a particular field and want to share your knowledge with others? Determining your primary goal will allow you to begin narrowing down what content you will offer and which learning materials you will use.
Step #2. Gain invaluable experience in your niche
If you aren't already familiar with the subject you are going to be specializing in, then you will need to learn as much as possible about its core ideas, principles, and concepts. Similarly, you will also have to gain experience in Instructional Design, in general. If there's an eLearning course that your organization suggests that it needs to be fine tuned, then offer to improve it. If an organization is in need of a new eLearning course, let them know that you'll do it free of charge, in order to gain that invaluable experience. On the other hand, if you prefer testing the waters before actually working for an organization, then why not simply design an eLearning course based upon a hobby or a point of interest that you may have, such as music theory or gardening, in order to try out the eLearning tools and practical applications.
Step #3. Study the Instructional Design models and theories
After you've begun gathering all-important experience, you may want to consider learning about the theories and models behind Instructional Design. These theories will often serve as the backbone or the structure of your eLearning courses, and will help you to create eLearning courses that engage and motivate the learner to acquire and retain the information you are offering. For example, cognitive load theory suggests that learning should be presented in “bite sized” modules or lessons that allow the learner to fully acquire the information, rather than overloading them with an abundance of information at once. Read up on the various theories and models that are involved in Instructional Design and figure out which ones will help you to create meaningful and effective eLearning courses.
Step #4. Consider Instructional Design training (such as certificate programs or training courses)
There is a variety of Instructional Design programs and degrees that offer you the chance to gain an in depth understanding of the core concepts and principles of Instructional Design. When trying to select the right program, you may want to opt for one that offers real-world experience, rather than just basic knowledge of Instructional Design theories. This will allow you to learn from other eLearning design professionals and gain on-the-job practical training. You may find valuable the How to Choose the Right Online Instructional Design Certificate Program article.
Step #5. Learn about eLearning tools, design principles, and multimedia aids
Get familiar with eLearning authoring tools, Learning Management Systems, principles, and multimedia aids that are available to you as an Instructional Designer. These will be your “tools of the trade” that you are going to use once you develop your eLearning course design strategy. If you'd like to learn more about the best eLearning authoring tools and cloud-based lms, this article features a list of HTML5 eLearning authoring tools and here is a list of Cloud-Based Learning Management Systems that you may want to consider.
Step #6. Begin developing an Instructional Design portfolio
Your portfolio is going to be your first impression as an Instructional Designer. Employers and clients will get a glimpse of your past work, regardless of whether it was paid or volunteer, and their hiring decisions will be based upon what they see. So, developing a solid portfolio should be a top priority. Be sure to include explanations for each project that you include in your portfolio, such as your design strategy or the primary goal of the project.
Step #7. Stay up-to-date with the latest eLearning technology
The world of eLearning and Instructional Design is always changing and evolving. Educational technologies that are cutting edge today may give way to bigger and better methods and tools tomorrow. As such, it's essential to stay on top of the latest eLearning course design technology, so that you have the opportunity to provide your learners with the best possible eLearning experience possible. Not to mention that this also allows you to improve your eLearning course designs while simplifying the development process, thanks to the fact that emerging technologies tend to offer a wide range of time (and resource) saving benefits.
Relevant Articles for Instructional Designers
If you'd like to learn more about the Instructional Design field, you may find valuable the following articles:
- How To Get A Job As An Instructional Designer
Getting into instructional design is a very desirable career choice at present, and so many people want to get into it but are often not sure where to start. What skills do Instructional Designers need? What will the hiring manager or interviewer be looking for?
- What Does An Instructional Designer Do? Infographic
Several professionals are involved in the instructional design field. However, do you know the full range of what an instructional designer does? A large group of ASU Instructional Designers and Technologists were asked to tell about the work they do!
- What an Instructional Designer Does? 3 Myths Revealed
At the following post I will give my perspective concerning "What Instructional Design really is?" "What Instructional Designers Do?", and I will talk about "3 Instructional Design Myths". You constructive feedback will be highly appreciated!
- Is it necessary for an Instructional Designer to be a Subject Matter Expert?
Should their roles be autonomous, identical or interconnected? Experiences vary, but let’s see at what level they actually coincide.
- The Role of an Instructional Designer as Project Manager
Managing e-Learning Projects is extremely important for successful e-Learning course design. This article is the second in a series about e-Learning Project Management. Check it out and learn about the role of an instructional designer as project manager.
Last, but certainly not least, you can access the free eBook “How to Become an eLearning Professional”, which includes eLearning tips, insider advice, and invaluable information that will help you become a top-notch eLearning professional.