So, you’ve decided to become an Instructional Designer. Congratulations! You’re on your way to one of the most satisfying, high-paid, and ever-growing industry.
Owlguru mentions that 73% of Instructional Designers they interviewed said they were satisfied with their job, and 73% said they find that their job makes the world a better place.
However, being an ID does not happen overnight; you need to learn, unlearn, and relearn the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in this industry.
Here are three essential things you need to know to become an Instructional Designer.
- The first thing you need to know if you want to become an Instructional Designer is the theories, designs, and methodologies.
- These theories will help you design excellent online courses that address your learners’ needs.
- As an Instructional Designer, it is not enough for you to know how to write good lesson plans.
- It would be best to learn the tools and technology to produce and publish the final eLearning material.
1. Instructional Design Theories, Designs, and Methodologies
The first thing you need to know if you want to become an Instructional Designer is the theories, designs, and methodologies. These theories will help you design excellent online courses that address your learners’ needs.
The ADDIE model is one of the best ID approaches that online course creators are commonly using. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. If you understand this Instructional Design principle, then you’re likely to get a great start to become an instructional designer.
2. Backward Design
The principle of the Backward Design is to plan with the end in mind. First, identify the learning goals. What do you want the participants to achieve at the end of the course? When crafting the learning goals, be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). Write the learning goals after analyzing learning gaps.
Second, decide on the learning evidence. How will you measure your participants’ achievements? Are you going to use assignments, quizzes, worksheets, or projects? These pieces of learning evidence should measure their learning goals.
Lastly, decide what method/strategy and materials you will use to help the learners achieve the learning goals.
3. Thorndike’s 3 Principles of Learning
You can’t force someone to learn; that’s why you need to condition your learners’ minds to absorb what’s in store for them. Do this by activating their prior knowledge, giving clear objectives, providing a general overview of the lessons, and presenting the course’s importance to their contexts.
Doing something more often automates the action. It becomes a habit and creates a higher retention rate in the learners’ minds. This principle of learning is the reason why teachers use drills and exercises in the teaching-learning process.
Using this law of learning helps your learners acquire knowledge or skill by giving them multiple repetitions and practice. Since adult learners sometimes do not buy rote learning, add repetitive parts like discussions, summaries, and worksheets when creating online courses for organizations.
Make the learning process enjoyable since the Law of Effect states that a satisfying and enjoyable experience creates a more positive learning outcome.
The beginning of the lesson decides whether the learner will continue with the course or not. As an instructional designer, be sure to present the lessons interestingly. Connect the subject matter with what they already know and present it in a logical order.
Since learners learn in different ways, make your lessons as interesting as you can. Include audios, videos, gamification, worksheets, discussions, quizzes, and other learning materials to facilitate learning in different ways.
End your lessons with a bang. They may forget all the other parts of the lesson, but the conclusion will stick to their minds. So, make it brief but powerful.
Instructional Design Tools and Technology
As an Instructional Designer, it is not enough for you to know how to write good lesson plans. It would be best to learn the tools and technology to produce and publish the final eLearning material.
There are many available tools for Instructional Designers, but here are five of the most essential tool or technology you need to learn.
Articulate Storyline is an excellent tool if you want to create unconventional course formats. It is similar to PowerPoint in terms of the interface but has more functionality in publishing HTML5 webpages.
You can use Articulate Storyline for screen recordings, simulations, quizzes, and other interactive activities.
Camtasia is a screen recorder and video editing tool. It is user friendly, and you do not need to buy a tutorial to learn how to use it. Download the free trial, which runs for 60 days, and navigate the software until you familiarize yourself with its features.
You can do many things to create an engaging course with Adobe Captivate. It has ready-to-use slides. You can just replace texts, images, and videos, preview your project, and publish it for your target users.
Adobe Illustrator offers many ways to create a wide variety of digital and printed materials that you can use for your ID projects. Using this tool, you create logos, diagrams, cartoons, charts, and other illustrations. It is also a great tool to manipulate texts and create visual designs, which need to use both text and images.
Learning Management System
The last tool you need to familiarize yourself with is LMS or Learning Management System. When you’re working as a full-time in-house Instructional Designer, you manage the course and users using an LMS.
Margaret Rouse defines LMS as a software application or web-based technology used to design, implement, and assess learning processes.
It is an essential tool for eLearning projects. It enables the instructor to do three things: deliver content, monitor learners’ progress, and assess learning outcomes.
Design and Composition
As I have said, it is not enough for an Instructional Designer to know how to write the content. Designing is also an essential skill in online course creation.
The 7 principles of design, according to Meg Reid are:
- Emphasis – Have a clear idea.
- Balance and Alignment – Know when to use the symmetrical and asymmetrical balance.
- Contrast – Decide on the main subject and make it pop out.
- Repetition – Let your brand identity stands out; it can be colors, typefaces, or logos.
- Proportion – Know to place each piece of the puzzle in your design.
- Movement – Lead the eye of your audience.
Before embarking on your journey as an Instructional Designer, you need to know and learn these three essential things. Don’t stop learning; don’t stop designing.