What are the most effective uses/tips to become an Instructional Designer?
By James R. Andersen (Jim)
I was turned down for a job organizing a local community college’s paper curriculum into a MOOC because I didn’t have an Instructional Design Certificate. Told “no”, despite years of secondary education and tech industry experience. My point: if you are just starting out as an Instructional Designer or are changing careers, obtaining a certificate may be useful just to get in the door.
To become really good at Instructional Design, you need a passion for understanding how people learn and how learning styles differ from generation to generation. Never undersell the design part of Instructional Design; both the learning experience and the visual and auditory experience. Often I develop for people I never see, so it’s really important to understand their generational learning style and tailor the learning design, including the visual element, to meet their expectations. How I want them to learn is as important as what they learn.
Continually learn about your design technology. App updates are made all of the time; assess whether they add to your skills or not. Reach out to colleagues when you run into a development/design problem, and crowd source your questions on online forums. If it’s a technical issue, more than likely somebody else has had the problem before and found the solution.
Make what you create useful, easy to consume, and developed with the needs of your audience and your employer always in mind. Balance how cool your solution is with how much it costs; how much time it takes to consume; how much value it adds to the organization; and how much money, time, and effort are required to maintain it.
In my current organization, an L&D PM developed really good, but really technically complex Storyline training. While it’s pretty cool, it’s also difficult and expensive to maintain.