Career Development

What Does an Instructional Designer Do?

Find out what an instructional designer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an instructional designer.

Instructional designers are responsible for creating and implementing the curriculum used in a variety of settings, including schools, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They work with subject matter experts to develop engaging, effective lessons that teach specific skills or knowledge.

Instructional designers use a wide range of tools and techniques to create their curricula. These may include storyboarding software, 3D modeling software, virtual reality technology, etc.

Instructional Designer Job Duties

Instructional designers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing learning materials such as e-learning courses, online training programs, classroom instruction materials, and instructor guides
  • Developing a learning plan that meets the company’s objectives and covers all relevant topics
  • Reviewing existing learning materials to identify areas for improvement or new development
  • Preparing course outlines and sequencing content to ensure learning objectives are met
  • Conducting needs assessments to determine training requirements
  • Designing training programs or instructional materials for specific audiences such as employees, customers, or students
  • Conducting one-on-one or group training sessions with participants to provide instruction on how to use new software or equipment
  • Creating graphic designs for training materials such as PowerPoint presentations, illustrations, diagrams, or flowcharts
  • Conducting research on topics related to the course content to ensure it is up to date and relevant to the audience

Instructional Designer Salary & Outlook

Instructional designer salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $82,500 ($39.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of instructional designers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the continued demand for online and digital training, which requires instructional designers to create engaging and effective e-learning programs. However, some traditional organizations may continue to hire instructional designers to provide in-person training as they transition some training activities to online platforms.

Related: In-Depth Instructional Designer Salary Guide

Instructional Designer Job Requirements

Instructional designers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Instructional designers need at least a bachelor’s degree. However, many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in instructional design or a related field.

Some of the most common fields of study for instructional designers are computer science, education and psychology.

Training & Experience: Instructional designers typically receive on-the-job training in the form of a period of shadowing an experienced instructional designer. This training period allows the instructional designer to learn the specific software and processes used by the company.

Certifications & Licenses: While not required, many employers offer certification programs that can demonstrate a candidate’s abilities and dedication to the field.

Instructional Designer Skills

Instructional designers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Creativity: Instructional designers use creativity to develop engaging learning experiences for their audience. Creativity is important for instructional designers because they often create learning experiences from scratch. They use their creativity to develop engaging learning activities, create engaging learning environments and develop engaging learning experiences.

Communication: Instructional designers communicate with many different people throughout the course of their work. They may need to communicate with clients, team members and subject-matter experts. Effective communication is key to ensuring everyone understands each other and that the instructional design meets the client’s needs.

Technology: Instructional designers use technology to create and implement their instructional design strategies. They understand the various types of technology and software that are available and can choose the most effective tools for their projects. They also know how to use technology to create engaging learning experiences for their audience.

Critical thinking: Instructional designers need to be able to think critically to develop effective learning experiences. They need to be able to analyze the needs of their audience and the goals of the organization to create engaging learning experiences. They need to be able to think about the different ways they can present information and the different ways they can assess learning.

Collaboration: Instructional designers often work with subject-matter experts, subject-matter experts, graphic designers, marketing teams and other instructional design professionals. They need to be able to collaborate with others to create effective learning experiences. Collaboration skills include active listening, empathy and the ability to compromise.

Instructional Designer Work Environment

Instructional designers typically work in an office environment, although they may travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. They usually work a standard 40-hour week, although they may work longer hours to meet deadlines. Instructional designers need to be able to work independently and as part of a team. They must be able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. They should also be able to use computers and other technology to create instructional materials.

Instructional Designer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how instructional designers work. Instructional designers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Digital Learning

The need for more digital learning is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity among educators. This is because digital learning offers many benefits, such as the ability to customize lessons and provide students with feedback in a timely manner.

As instructional designers, you can capitalize on this trend by developing digital learning materials that are both engaging and effective. You can also help schools and districts implement digital learning programs by providing training and support.

More Focus on Data-Driven Instruction

As data becomes more accessible, it is becoming increasingly important for teachers to use it to make informed decisions about how to best teach their students. This is leading to an increased focus on data-driven instruction, which involves using data to determine what works and what doesn’t work in the classroom.

Instructional designers can utilize this trend by creating curriculum that is based on data-driven principles. This includes using data to create assessments that measure student progress, as well as designing lesson plans that are based on proven methods of teaching.

A Desire for Better Communication Between Teachers and Parents

Parents are increasingly looking for ways to better communicate with their children’s teachers. This is due to a desire to be involved in their child’s education and to ensure that they are receiving the best possible education.

Instructional designers can help meet this demand by creating tools and resources that make it easier for parents to stay connected with their child’s teacher. This could include creating parent-teacher communication portals or developing online courses that allow parents to learn about their child’s schoolwork.

How to Become an Instructional Designer

When starting your career as an instructional designer, it’s important to consider the type of company you want to work for. Do they have a strong focus on learning and development? Are they invested in their employees’ growth? What types of training programs do they offer?

It’s also important to think about what type of work you want to do. Do you want to create e-learning courses or develop classroom training? Would you rather be involved in the design process from start to finish or just provide final approval?

Once you’ve considered these factors, you can begin building your portfolio with examples of your work. This will help you stand out when applying for jobs and give potential employers a better idea of your skills and abilities.

Related: How to Write an Instructional Designer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Instructional designers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, from developing course materials to conducting training sessions. As such, there are many different paths for advancement within the field.

Instructional designers with strong writing and editing skills may move into management positions, where they will oversee the development of instructional materials. Those with experience in training may move into instructional design consulting, where they will work with clients to develop customized training programs. Those with strong technical skills may move into positions developing e-learning courses or other computer-based instructional materials.

Instructional designers with advanced degrees may move into teaching positions at colleges and universities. Those with doctorates may also pursue careers in research, where they will study the effectiveness of instructional materials and methods.

Similar Jobs

Previous

What Does a Unit Clerk Do?

Back to Career Development
Next

What Does a Stock Broker Do?