Ho, do you become a successful instructional designer? They have been many articles written the talk about how to be a successful professional in many fields including the e-learning Industry. Specifically in this article we want to look at what it means to be successful in the e-learning Industry, whether are you are talking about working in the corporate sector, business and industry, higher education, K-12 education, government, nonprofit organizations, the military, or any of the other many areas where instructional designers hang their hats.
Okay, let’s talk about what an instructional designer who is successful. What do they do on a daily basis to keep up and be the best in the industry? Let’s begin with at least off seven key things that make you stand out from the rest of the pack.
1. Passion. The instructional designer needs to be passionate about what they do on a daily basis. As the saying goes, “those who enjoy what they do, don’t feel like it is work.” One needs to be able to sustain their interest in the particular topic or projects that they’re working on. If the only driver you have is to make money, then that might not be the best motivating factor. You need to love what you do. It means you need to have a commitment and passion for teaching, learning, research, and current technologies.
2. Connect with learners and the content. Instructional designers need to be able to connect with the student for whom they are designing the instruction. In other words, they need to be able to understand how people learn. For instance if you are working with adult learners, you do need to have an understanding adult learning theories and concepts, often referred to as andragogy.
3. Instructional designers also need to be aware of trends in the industry be there tools software and other e-learning resources. A sound understanding of current technologies will help you connect with learners who also likely keep up with new media social trends web 2.0 tools another software. Further, they need to know the capabilities of these tools and resources and not just use them in what we often refer to as “technology for technology’s sake.”
4. Instructional designers must be competent writers. It’s not unusual to see, in the field, field instructional designers who have a background in areas like communication, technical writing. Others might have a degree in English, Spanish, French, and other languages commonly used in instructional design. This helps in being able to communicate with your learners especially that much content on the screen is text-based.
5. Instructional designers need to know how to be able to work with subject matter experts also known as SMEs, and other team members. It’s very unusual for instructional designers to work individually. This means having good people skills is a great plus for one to be successful in the profession. Besides, this is also a chance to learn something new from these team members.
6. Instructional designers also need not have expertise in all fields, but they must have the knowledge of how to translate that information in ways and terms that intended learners can understand. For example you don’t need to have a degree in banking, but as an effective instructional designer you might be in a situation where you are tasked with creating instructional content for bankers who may be mandated to take a course in new government financial regulations. What this means is that interdisciplinary skills are essential.
7. Something else about instructional designers is that they enjoy learning, and they always keep learning throughout their careers. Learning for them does not stop when their diploma is conferred. Most tend to be self-motivated to keep up with trends in the theory e-learning design. For example, with lots of empirical research being conducted on various learning theories and other related topics like psychology of learning and performance technology, it is to their advantage to keep up with what’s new in the field. They do so by reading classic books and new publications related to the area including journals blogs textbooks etc.
8. Instructional designers also find great value in connecting with others in the profession. They do so by attending conferences, joining online communities, attending seminars and other events where they can share and learn amongst their peers.
9. Being able to conduct research and have excellent analytical skills and ability to synthesize from across many sources is a great skill to have. Often this is learned in graduate school but as they say, experience in the field makes one even more competent over time. If you are in a sector that calls for you to be able to collect data and organize results so that you can synthesize these data and information gathered in a way that makes it easy is to understand the instruction you are designing.
10. Over time, many instructional designers become project managers by virtue all working with teams that include graphic designers, technical writer, subject matter experts, and apples. Effective project managers can deliver projects on time and within budget. Further, being able to be a resourceful problem solver and troubleshooter is important to be an excellent project, manager.
11. A successful instructional designer not only creates useful courses but also works with his or her client to offer suggestions on how to build the best possible outcomes. Cross-cultural or multicultural competency is, therefore, necessary as well.
12. Instructional designers need not be expert graphic designers. However, they need to be able to understand the right media as well as have knowledge of how storyboards and efficiently organize instructional media. They also need to be able to communicate effectively with the instructional design team members who are in charge of media development such as the graphic designer in media content developer.
13. Being able to focus on expected instructional and learning outcomes and creating effective assessments is an important skill to have. As you might recall, learning objectives must also link back Learning outcomes and learning assessments. This means that instructional designer should be able to Think ahead about how to assess and what to determine based on the learner and expected learning outcomes. They balance learning and interactivity will be able to produce courses that meet learning objectives but are also engaging.
Do what you love and love what you do!
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