Free eBook - How to become an Instructional Designer

What are the most effective uses/tips to become an Instructional Designer?

I definitely did not have a linear path to instructional design, having been at different times, a molecular biologist, intellectual property attorney, and writer. But all of these experiences, including my instructional design work, have taught me a few things...

Chance favors the connected mind
Surround yourself with eclectic friends and online connections who keep you aware of how wide the world is. Keep up with blogs and posts on social media, not just in your field, but in other fields as well. I draw inspiration for learning designs from game designers, transmedia storytellers, and interaction designers. It’s a source of wonder and a useful way to solve design challenges.

See the system and see the people in the system
I’ve been lucky enough to work in a field where my colleagues include human factors engineers and people who apply design thinking to innovation in health care. It’s made me realize the importance of systems thinking when designing learning programs and the need to empathize with your learners. Bottom line: When you focus on what you want people to do, don’t lose sight of how they feel.

The tools of your trade
To a large extent, good design is platform and tool agnostic. That being said, a nimble designer is aware of many tools and their affordances. And, from a competitive standpoint, it does help to be really good at using at least some of these tools. Even more important than embracing your geek side? Developing a sense of visual design and an understanding how that connects to learning.

Saving the world through eLearning
You may not be able to save the world, but if you keep your compass pointed at people’s hearts and minds, stay connected as a partner to your teams and organizational leaders, you can have an impact. Along the way, remember not to take yourself too seriously. You’ll always be able to ground yourself by looking at all of the great talent of your colleagues in this field!

Dianne Rees

Dianne Rees

Position: Senior Instructional Designer

Company: Johns Hopkins Medicine, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

Short Bio

Dianne is an Instructional Designer and eLearning developer who currently designs and develops learning experiences relating to patient safety. Her online Patient Safety Certificate Program has been recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and can be used by physicians to meet ABMS Maintenance of Certification requirements. The board game she designed for Johns Hopkins’ Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP) is now being used In Johns Hopkins’ CUSP workshops throughout the country.

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