9 Essential Instructional Designer Skills
So you want to be an instructional designer but you’re not sure the exact qualifications? Well, Today’s Instructional Designer does more than create elearning or live instructor courses, they must wear many hats. This is because IDs have to not only develop, and in some cases deliver content, but they also need to think about this content from the learner’s perspective.
While certainly not an exhaustive list, today’s new and improved instructional designer must play the roles of:
- Writer: In many cases, courses are derived from technical documentation, various word documents, PowerPoint slides, and so on. As an ID, you have to take this content and then transpose (write) it in a manner that is concise and makes sense for the audience.
- Problem Solver: Inevitably there are problems to be solved when creating training. Be it in logistical problems with course delivery (learning management systems in the case of elearning; training facilities in the case of live training), how to make mobile compatible training, sticking to and delivering on timelines, tech issues, sticking to a budget, etc… issues are around every corner and today’s ID needs to be able to solve them.
- Innovator: With so many great tools at the disposal of instructional designers today, there is a great benefit in deploying this innovation to organizations who traditionally don’t do so.
- Facilitator: More often than not, the instructional designer is roped into live training in some capacity or another. This only makes sense given that they are exposed to the content, and over time develop intimate knowledge of the topic. Still, if you don’t have good teaching or facilitating techniques, you have a pretty massive gap in your skillset.
- Researcher: Wouldn’t it be great if all the content was already available for us as instructional designers? Unfortunately, it isn’t, and we often need to get our hands dirty with good, old-fashioned research.
- Developer: Naturally, the ID must be capable in course development – this is the bread and butter!
- Project Manager: Larger training implementations require careful budget and time management. If you have a larger team working on a curriculum, then playing the role of project manager is essential. It’s not just good enough to be capable at your craft; you need to show an ability to manage a project and its resources.
- Media Expert: Online videos, audio, course development software, Microsoft Office Suite, video recording, image selection and creation… today’s ID should feel comfortable in all these areas.
- Editor: Removing your emotional ties to a course you created, and putting your non-bias editor hat on, will go a long way in creating winning training programs.
I’m sure you could think of a good many more traits for today’s modern instructional designer. The point is that we can’t stick to one or two core skills and go from there. We have to be well-rounded and capable of performing many tasks – all critical to a successful training implementation.