Career as an Instructional Designer


Summary

Instructional Designers create targeted materials for corporations and government; design e-learning and online courses; create virtual reality tools; and develop an array of primary, secondary, and postsecondary learning tools. Instructional design gained popularity after its theories were first used by the military during WWII to quickly prepare conscripts in the use of the new, highly complicated weapons systems.

Instructional Designers apply tested theories of learning and cognitive and behavioral psychology to the materials they compose. The advent of distance learning, virtual reality, and social networking have re-defined the once staid job that consisted of simple training manuals. Though the theory remains the same, the focus of most instructional designers today is the computer and the learning efficiency that technology brings.

Instructional Designer conduct a needs assessment and design a curriculum or program. They select, modify, or create a design and development model appropriate for a given project. They apply business skills to managing instructional design and provide for the effective implementation of instructional products and programs.

Responsibilities focus on developing and editing online learning materials and content. They develop and design online materials such as lesson plans, lesson content, learning objectives and assessment tools. They may delegate or oversee the implementation of online learning programs, or train other instructors or students to use online learning programs. Regular evaluation and continuous learning is required to remain effective.

They may interview or observe experts or tasks to learn more about what they are teaching. Surveys, questionnaires, learning aids and visual materials may be continually developed and administered to make sure learning is effective and that learning transfer takes place. Regularly attending meetings and industry-related training is important because instructional designers need to quickly respond to changes.

Work Environment

Most instructional coordinators work in an office, but they also may spend part of their time traveling to schools within their school district to teach professional development classes and monitor the implementation of the curriculum. Instructional coordinators generally work full time. They typically work year-round and do not have summer breaks, unlike teachers. Coordinators may meet with teachers and other administrators before and after classroom hours.

Entry Level Education

A Master's Degree in Instructional Design, Curriculum and Instruction or Educational Technology .

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