The Most Desired Qualities of an Instructional Designer

Instructional Designer Qualities Required in eLearning

Instructional Designers are indispensable in an eLearning courseware development process. They are involved since the identification of the learning need to the learning solution implementation phase. They understand the problem, develop corresponding solution and devise a plan for its effective implementation.

Qualities-of-an-Instructional-Designer

Let’s discuss what qualities an Instructional Designer should possess to deliver these responsibilities.

An instructional designer should be a…
Quick Learner

As a professional courseware developer, Instructional Designers are ought to develop learning solutions on any concept under the sun. To do this, they must be quick learner with minimal assistances from SMEs.

Creative Explainer

An instructional designer should possess ‘Teacher’s Instinct’. Considering the Content, Learner and the Learning Outcomes; an instructional designer should adopt simple and intuitive explainer models at both, macro level (curriculum designs) and micro level (instructional strategies) of a learning solution.

Expository Writer

Writing has different styles to express your thoughts; but an instructional designer should possess an expository style of writing or developing the learning content. The content must be plain and easy to comprehend in simple efforts. Each piece of content should be put in a pattern that it construct one concept after the other.

Instructional Content Visualizer

Instructional Content incudes text, images, illustrations, videos etc. An instructional designer should represent these elements in an appropriate flow and graphic design sense. It includes the use of colors, symmetrical shapes, arrangement patterns and animation sequence.

Keen Reviewer

An instructional designer should have an eye for detail focus and correct every feature of an effective courseware development. High precision reviewing capability is vital to identify mistakes and loop-holes in content as well as other cosmetic designs. Even a minute element of the course should serve its intended purpose.

Innovator

Every learning need is unique with respect to the desired outcome behavior, learner and the content. An instructional designer must be an innovator to blend different instructional strategies and develop a unique learning solution for the problem. It requires an instructional designer to be well-versed in various instructional models, approaches and technologies.

Researcher

Developing a course requires lot of material to review. Quite often, clients supply content if it is related to organizational policies, specific products and services or in-house developed content (if any) etc. In normal course of work, an instructional designer define and get approve the learning objectives in specific behavioral terms and then develop content through their own research on Internet, Books, Videos etc. They ensure, the final content should help the leaner achieve the desired objectives.

Tech Savvy Developer

Every piece of courseware such as content, visuals, courseware development tools, learner interactive strategies etc. conveys some-meaning to learner; an instructional designer tries to have control on these and ensure learner receives the intended meaning. This require instructional designers to be conversant in learning science as well as in learning technologies such as eLearning authoring tools, sound editing software, image editing software etc.

Conclusion

An ideal instructional designer should possess capabilities to develop an effective eLearning courseware.

Source: http://www.swiftelearningservices.com/the-most-desired-qualities-of-an-instructional-designer/

6 Little-Known Rewards Of An Instructional Design Career

Considering a career in Instructional Design? Here are 6 of the lesser-known benefits of pursuing this exciting career path.little-known-rewards-instructional-design-career

You probably know that Instructional Design is a rewarding career path with a brightly projected outlook. After all, the eLearning industry is growing by leaps and bounds, as organizations begin to realize its cost-saving benefits. However, there are some hidden rewards to this career path that aren’t widely publicized. In fact, some of these lesser-known benefits keep Instructional Designers in the field for years. Read on to find 6 of the best reasons to begin your Instructional Design career.

1. Earn A Solid Income

Instructional Designers have great earning potential based on their knowledge, experience, and years in the field. There is also the flexibility to choose whether you want to take on eLearning projects on a salary or hourly basis. Both options have their benefits. Depending on your lifestyle, you might find taking on Instructional Design projects on an hourly basis to be simpler. This is also a great option if you are just starting out and want to see if it is the career path for you. If you already know that you enjoy the field, then a salaried position might be best. Either way, the field has many options for lucrative positions and exciting work.

2. Interact With New Technology

If you are someone who loves to learn about the latest and greatest tech tools, this field is right for you. eLearning exists in a digital environment and there are always new advancements. You can try out innovative ways to present information and create dynamic eLearning courses. These new digital skillsare also a great way to boost your resume. Learning on the job and improving your skills will help you get even better results and can help you land better and more interesting Instructional Design positions in the future. There are also plenty of opportunities to attend workshops, trade shows, and expos that feature cutting edge tech, such as new eLearning authoring tools that allow you to create even more interactive eLearning courses.

3. Help Increase Digital Accessibility

A lot of people use eLearning as a way to overcome the barriers that traditional learning may present. Learning in a digital space helps people with disabilities and accessibility issues to learn on a level playing field. Many online retailers and prominent websites are already championing the crusade toward universal access online. Getting to be a part of this movement and learning to open up eLearning to a broad audience is an exciting opportunity. However, you must be ready and willing to create eLearning courses that cater to online learners with special needs. By including subtitles for the hearing impaired, for example, or audio narrations for those who are visually impaired. Another key group to consider is individuals who have learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or autism. All-inclusive eLearning courses take time and additional resources but the ability to help every learner achieve their goals is well worth the investment.

4. Indulge Your Thirst For Lifelong Learning

Your job is to find the best way to present eLearning content that people need to know. As you wade through facts and information, you will need to determine which pieces are most important. You will then have to translate those bits of information into interesting and engaging learning opportunities. This also goes back to learning new technology. You will be interpreting eLearning course content into unique knowledge-building online training activities. This will teach not only your online learners, but it will also teach you new things along the way as well. For this reason, Instructional Design is one of the most popular career paths for lifelong learners. You can quench your thirst for knowledge and constantly explore new topics, then pass this newfound knowledge onto your audience.

5. Learn How People Think

If you have ever been interested in the way the human brain works, then you will find Instructional Design fascinating and intriguing. Your goal is to support people in their quest to learn. In order to properly build an eLearning course, you need to understand how people think. Instructional Design is about designing eLearning to meet people’s individual needs. Giving them the tools to succeed is tough but rewarding. You will learn a lot about how people absorb and remember information. In addition, you will continually improve your ability to predict how most people will interact with information. This will help you to give your clients high-quality finished products that their online learners will enjoy. When your online learners are satisfied, you will have happy clients and more repeat customers.

6. Network With Like-Minded ID Professionals

One of the most notable perks of joining the ranks of Instructional Designers is that you become part of their network. You now have the ability to meet with like-minded professionals, who can offer valuable tips and tricks. Not to mention, offer recommendations for the best eLearning authoring tools and LMS platforms. As is the case with all networking opportunities, you need to branch out and be open to social events, such as eLearning workshops and conferences that other Instructional Designers are sure to attend. In addition, you can join online discussions and sign up for webinars to network remotely. Just remember that it’s a give and take. You must be willing to share your own experiences in order to play an active role in the Instructional Design community.

These are just a few of the benefits of embarking on an Instructional Design career. This dynamic field is filled with opportunities to learn and grow. Instructional Design also gives you the opportunity to explore many fields and share newfound knowledge with learners across the globe.


Originally published at elearningindustry.com on August 19, 2017.

5 Instructional Design Books That Every Instructional Designer Should Read

Are you an Instructional Designer looking for inspiration? Here are 5 Instructional Design books you should add to your must-read list.

Top 5 Instructional Design Books For Instructional Design Professionals

The field of Instructional Design is filled with a plethora of theories and practices. Thus, educating yourself on the current thinking and foundational principles is vital to the success of your Instructional Design career. Reading up on the field is important whether you are just starting out or need to refresh your professional knowledge. Here is a list of 6 of the best Instructional Design books, as well as tips to continually expand your own knowledge base.

1. Understanding By Design, 2nd Edition (by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe)

The goal of this book is to help both teachers and students find inspiration in the learning process. Authors Wiggins and McTIghe were driven by feedback on their first edition to expand their original work. They delve deeper into the topic, uncovering more ways for education through design to impact us all.

2. Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2007 to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire (by Cliff Atkinson)

While this book is geared toward Power Point presentations, the principles still apply to broader use. Tips for creating effective presentations can map directly to creating effective eLearning courses. This book helps to meld time-tested storytelling techniques with modern technology to develop impactful presentations.

3. Design For How People Learn (Voices That Matter) (by Julie Dirksen)

We have all run across an eLearning course or presentation that is confusing. While the Instructional Designer may have presented the information clearly, it just doesn’t feel intuitive. This is a common issue, and it is entirely preventable. Author Julie Dirksen walks you through the steps you need to take to present information in a helpful way. She also explains how to ensure that online learners don’t walk away and forget what they learned. Instead, her method helps them remember your teaching and apply it in real-world situations.

4. Michael Allen’s Guide to E-Learning: Building Interactive, Fun, and Effective Learning Programs For Any Company (by Michael W. Allen)

Instructional Design is anything but dull. However, some people associate it with flipping through endless slides of irrelevant information. Creating eLearning courses that make an impact is an art, and one that every Instructional Designer should learn. This text also comes with concrete examples of good eLearning course design. This book will help you learn by example and make eLearning courses that learners will find valuable.

5. Measuring Instructional Results (by Robert F. Mager)

Creating eLearning courses that you think are effective is great, but how well do they really work? Just assuming your Instructional Design efforts are impactful is not enough. You need to test your content and designs and figure out ways to make them even better for online learners. This book helps to guide you through the process of checking your work. You will get specific steps and checklists to make sure you are on the right path. Learning how to improve your work will go a long way to furthering your Instructional Design career.

Additional Tips To Expand Your Instructional Design Knowledge

Aside from books, there are some other tech-centered ways to broaden your knowledge base and brush up on skills. Here are few top tips to become a lifelong Instructional Design learner.

a. Attend Tradeshows And Conferences

These live events are great opportunities to meet other Instructional Designers and try out new technologies. For example, eLearning authoring tools that can help you create even more immersive eLearning courses. Look online for conferences in your area or ask other eLearning professionals for recommendations on shows they’ve attended in the past.

b. Join Social Media Groups And Online Discussions

Social media groups, blogs, and online discussions are great for remote collaborations. You can interact with Instructional Designers from around the world. Everyone has unique insights and experiences to bring to the table. If you can’t find a relevant group, then consider starting your own. Just make sure you are up to the task, as running a group typically requires a commitment of both time and energy.

c. Find A Mentor

There may be an Instructional Designer who is more experienced and willing to offer one-on-one support. This mentor can help you find the right eLearning career niche, create an Instructional Design portfolio, or land your first eLearning project. Ideally, you should find someone who shares similar interests or goals. For example, an eLearning professional who also has a passion for corporate eLearning and task-based training. You must also create clear guidelines so that everyone knows what to expect.

Check out these 5 books for new ideologies and theories to make your Instructional Designs even better. The tips and advice you gain will help you to strengthen your skill sets. You will also gain a fresh perspective that offers a comprehensive overview of the field. As a result, you will have the ability to create better eLearning courses and provide your clients with expert advice. So, pick up a book or two and learn all you can about the fascinating field of Instructional Design.

 

Benefits Of Personalized eLearning – Featuring A Case Study For Instructional Designers

The Impact And Benefits Of Personalized eLearning

Personalized eLearning is customization of eLearning so that it can meet the specific needs of learners.

While the concept of personalization of learning is not new and has been in existence since the 1960s, its adaptation for online training or eLearning is a recent phenomenon. The concept continues to evolve and there is no single definition that is widely accepted. I feel that the United States National Education Technology Plan 2017 defines personalized learning effectively:

Personalized learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs.In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated.”

What Are The Techniques That Can Be Used To Create Personalized eLearning?

Personalization of eLearning is typically done in the following ways:

  1. You could begin the eLearning course by personalization through an avatar-based selection. This could then be followed by customized elements, like themes, fonts, backgrounds, and so on.
  2. Another way to offer customized eLearning is through customization of the format of content deliveryto suit varied learning styles. For instance, options to use audio/video, or otherwise, bring in changes in the degree of interactions, and so on.
  3. The highest degree of customization is at the learning path level that is personalized for each learner through pre-assessments or surveys. For instance,
    • A pre-assessment can help us understand the baseline proficiency, and the learner can be given a personalized learning track that corresponds to the competency gaps.
    • Alternatively, we can use a survey to assess where the learners’ interests lie and then offer a personalized set of recommendations on how to “consume” this module (that is, which parts could be skipped and which should be taken with special attention).

What Are The Approaches That Can Effectively Personalize eLearning?

As I have highlighted, personalized eLearning can be crafted through a variety of measures that can help us customize the learning experience for each learner.

The 2 approaches that are useful in creating an effective personalization are:

Approach 1

Adaptive learning: This approach uses techniques like pre-assessment to offer customized feedback and a specific path to each learner. The advantage of this approach is its ability to match the varied learning proficiencies of learners to the most relevant learning path.

Today, microlearning techniques can be used to provide tremendous granularity to break down the primary eLearning course and offer highly customized or personalized learning paths.

Approach 2

Control to the learner: In this approach, rather than taking control through a pre-assessment, we empower the learner to create their own customized learning path (based on their interests and their own assessment of their proficiency). This approach is increasingly gaining popularity on account of its learner-centricity.

We can integrate checks and balances through assessments to redirect the learners, so that while they get the flexibility, they do not skip the sections they may not be good at.

What Are The Benefits Of Personalized eLearning For The Learners And The Organization?

Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, personalized eLearning uses various approaches to engage the learner more meaningfully, and helps them set and achieve their specific learning goals.

This is not all; personalized eLearning also enables learners to set their own learning paths and gain exactly what they need.

Learners’ perspective: As I have highlighted, personalized eLearning empowers the learners and offers them control through the following measures that allow them to:

  1. Set their own goals.
  2. Set manageable milestones.
  3. Select their own learning path.
  4. Select the device they wish to learn on.
  5. Learn at their own pace.
  6. Select the kind of interaction levels they feel is relevant for them.
  7. Get personalized feedback and use it to assess their progress.
  8. Use the offered recommendations to enrich the learning path.

Organizational perspective: Personalized eLearning provides the following key benefits:

  1. You can use the personalized eLearning approach to promote a culture of learning as a continuum.
  2. You will see better learner commitment and higher completion rates.

What Are The Approaches To Offer Personalized Learning?

At EI Design, over the last two years, we have been adding approaches that focus on crafting learning designs to offer control to learners. Essentially, we want to create learning experiences wherein learners can “pull” what they want rather than be “pushed” into a prescriptive learning journey. The personalization of eLearning is a significant part of this practice.

We have created various approaches to offer personalized eLearning, which map to 4 levels, ranging from simple personalization techniques, including Avatar selection, custom themes, and so on, to highly customized learning paths that offer learners the control to choose the learning interactions that match their interest and learning styles.

Let me share a case study that uses several of these personalization techniques in a training course intended for newly joined Instructional Designers in our team.

  • With personalization, we are now able to scale the usage of our existing training courses to ongoing learning (learning as a continuum).
  • For the learners, personalization provides them the required control to decide on the most effective approach to learn and come back for enrichment.

Case Study

Here’s a short video that showcases a case study on using personalization techniques in a corporate training course to double the impact of learning.

Additionally, I am sharing the highlights of our approach to personalize eLearning.

Before – The Traditional eLearning Approach

Designed to induct and onboard newly joined Instructional Designers into our team at EI Design, we had created a suite of 15 courses. Although, our audience comprised team members with different profiles, the approach mandated that all Instructional Designers needed to go through all the courses. Goes without saying, the approach used the classical “push” model to train rather than enabling the learners to “pull” what they need.

ProductLine - Instructional Design Courses List - EI Design

After – The Personalized eLearning Approach

Using the personalized eLearning approach, we give the control to the learners (new Instructional Designers onboarding with us) who can now craft their own learning path, based on their proficiency.

Personalized eLearning - Instructional Design Courses 2

Highlights Of The Personalized eLearning Approach

  • Create learner-centered goals and objectives.
  • Assess online learners to identify knowledge gaps.
  • Offer timely, personalized eLearning feedback.
  • Provide constant online support.

Features Of The Personalized eLearning Approach At A Glance

  1. Avatar selection/Role selection.
  2. Pre-assessment on topics covered.
  3. Range of educational pathways.
  4. Personalized recommendations/feedback.
  5. Re-directs learners for remediation and for good performance.
  6. Provides resources for further exploration of knowledge.
  7. Learners are informed and empowered.
  8. Assessments are related to meaningful tasks.
  9. Reduces the achievement gap.
  10. Enhanced interaction between individual learners and individual teachers.
  11. Facilitates the “community of learning” approach.
  12. Instead of incorporating a linear navigation map, it offers online learners a clickable guide that features diverse eLearning activities and multimedia.

Personalized eLearning - Instructional Design Courses 1

The Impact

Learners’ perspective: They are fully empowered to design their own personal learning path that works best for them.

Organizational perspective: We can validate their current proficiency and provide support (remediation) as well as personalized feedback. Additional learning resources equip the learners to match the proficiency level that our organization requires. The approach also fosters a strong collaboration (between the peers and with senior managers).

Gains of the personalized eLearning approach for the learners: 

  • Let online learners choose their own eLearning activities and multimedia.
  • Set manageable milestones.
  • Incorporate online resource libraries for asynchronous eLearning.

 

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/benefits-of-personalized-elearning-featuring-case-study-for-instructional-designers/