Anyone that has an interest in the elearning and mobile learning fields will soon discover that there are university programs specifically for this industry. In most cases they are degrees in Instructional Design.
Recently I have received a few messages on LinkedIn from individuals that were interested in getting into the elearning field. While each had their own questions there was one that they both asked:
Is a degree in Instructional Design necessary?
Short answer: no.
Now, having a degree in instructional design may better prepare you in the short-term. It could even be a great way to differentiate when you are looking for an instructional designer position. However, it is absolutely not a requirement. I would know as I have worked on large elearning projects for years without a formal instructional design degree.
People hate hearing this but the most relevant factor in this field (well, in most fields) is experience. Which I know presents a catch-22 scenario. If you are just starting out, how do you get experience?
If you are a new graduate then hopefully you had the opportunity to find an internship in the field – that can certainly help. That said, when you apply to jobs for entry level positions employers are well-aware that you will not have a vast background of experience. Hence the reason the position is “entry level”.
Is it a good idea to get an instructional degree if you want to get into this industry. Yes, of course! But if you don’t have the opportunity to get one (for example, if you already have graduated with a degree in something else) then you shouldn’t worry. Focus on getting experience and then you can supplement that experience with relevant certifications.