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What Does an Instructional Designer Do?

10 Ways Instructional Designers Create

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Have you ever wondered where online classes come from? In many cases, online classes are created by e-learning professionals called instructional designers. They work with subject matter experts (like professors, office safety pros, etc.) to help figure out the best way to help students learn. Here’s what they do:

1. Instructional designers innovate.

Student study Students working together on...
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Schools, companies, hospitals, and organizations hire instructional designers to come up with innovative ideas for helping learners understand content, develop skills, and think critically.

2. Instructional designers organize information.

One of the most challenging parts of instructional design is figuring out how to present the necessary information in ways that are accessible to learners and don’t get in the way. Designers are continually organizing, cutting, and editing information to make it palatable to their audience. They work to make learning intuitive.

3. Instructional designers help teachers realize their instructional philosophies.

Some instructional designers work to help teachers figure out how they want to teach their subjects online. Successful designers will often discuss learning theories and practical teaching strategies with instructors who may not have a background in education. Designers help teachers figure out what they believe about teaching and help design the course accordingly.

4. Instructional designers help employers protect their employees.

Some designers have the responsibility of helping employees learn important safety rules, human resource issues, and laws related to their profession. These designers try to help people understand and remember these key concepts without overburdening them by taking up too much time or giving too much unnecessary information.

5. Instructional designers help people become better at what they do.

Whether in academia or in the workplace, instructional designers help people develop their skills such as programming or writing. They design online classes and learning experiences that demonstrate and assess ability rather than just thinking.

6. Instructional designers create communities for learning.

One of the most important things that designers to is set up online spaces in which people may learn in a social setting. This may mean creating discussion boards, allocating chat rooms, designing groups, or tapping into existing social media sources such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

7. Instructional designers conduct research.

Designers don’t create and run. Instead, they create avenues for feedback and change their design to respond to what they learn. They conduct informal research about students’ learning experiences, and are continually adjusting their work to best meet the needs of the learner. Some also conduct formal research, surveying learners, analyzing data, presenting their findings at e-learning conferences and publishing their research in e-learning journals.

8. Instructional designers create media.

Forget about simple PowerPoint slides. Most instructional designers are adept at learning new technologies and creating multimedia learning objects. It’s common for designers to have at least some experience with Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and similar programs. They may know how to do some programming code, graphic design, photography, videography, sound recording, or more. Many also become proficient in e-learning software such as Articulate Storyline, Captivate, Camtasia, and others.

9. Instructional designers read, read, read.

To stay on the top of their fields, instructional designers dedicate a significant amount of time to reading – whether they are browsing through technology magazines, checking out education / e-learning blogs, or studying the latest research in scholarly journals. Not only do they read, but they work to actively use the teaching strategies, pedagogical methods, and technology tricks they learn in their everyday design work.

10. Instructional designers solve problems.

Most importantly, instructional designers help solve problems. Whether they are trying to ignite a lively experience in a virtual course, guide employees struggling to master the skills that will lead them to success, or help students understand difficult concepts, instructional designers draw on their knowledge and experience to create solutions.
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