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What Is an Instructional Designer and How to Become One

Instructional Designer

What Is An Instructional Designer?

An instructional designer is responsible for the design and technical creation of educational systems and learning tools to be used in the classroom, in online courses, or for teacher training. Their job duties include building teaching materials, instructional manuals, training courses, and e-learning environments for teachers and administrators. As an instructional designer, you organize data into a curriculum, taking into account the depths of the materials, the learning process, the age of the target students, and any new technological advances for interactive learning. This is a career that requires various qualifications and a degree that covers design, content, training, and education.

How to Become an Instructional Designer

To become an instructional designer, you will need a background in both education and design. You first need to earn a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field, then complete a master’s program in instructional design. These types of programs provide you with the tools and methodologies to design and implement new learning curriculum. Employers may also hire teachers who have many years of teaching experience but do not have a degree in instructional design. Training can be done in a classroom or online, with courses reflecting the hands-on and theoretical aspects of learning methodology. An aspiring instructional designer can sharpen their skills as they learn by following the blog of a thought leader in the field, or comparing instructional materials found online.

Is Instructional Design a Good Career?

For those who have a desire to help others learn and grow, instructional design is a great career to pursue. You combine your educational training with your imagination to provide teachers and administrators the learning tools to educate their students. Depending on how many teachers utilize your curriculum, you may reach hundreds of students a day. Those with master’s degrees that focus on curriculum design and instructional methods of learning can find job prospects in private and public education, corporate training, or in the government. Instructional designers need to pay strict attention to detail and must be able to analyze, evaluate, and organize data.

Instructional Designer Job Description Sample

With this Instructional Designer job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Instructional Designer role.

Job Summary

We are looking for an experienced Instructional Designer who can develop and guide the curriculum for our online learning program. You will analyze current curriculum trends and design courses that promote learning in our students. Once the programs are implemented, you will also be responsible for providing technical support when necessary. Our ideal candidate is skilled in using Articulate Storyline and Studio, and can also utilize certain Adobe products for e-learning purposes, including Captivate, Photoshop, and Flash Player. Post-secondary education in curriculum development is highly preferred.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Design or develop educational systems and learning tools
  • Building teaching materials, instruction manuals, training courses, or e-learning environments for teachers and administrators
  • Analyze data to understand curriculum needs
  • Collaborate with educators to understand their needs and limitations
  • Train faculty how to utilize new tools

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in education or a closely related field; master's degree preferred
  • Experience with LMS, or learning management software, is strongly preferred
  • Familiarity with design programs, such as Articulate Storyline, Articulate Studio, and Adobe e-Learning Programs (Captivate, Photoshop, Flash) is a plus
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
  • Excellent communication and graphic design skills