What is an Instructional Designer?

July 4, 2016

So what is Instructional Design?

 

This is a job title that sounds exciting, dynamic and elaborate but does anyone really know what it means when you say it to them? Well, we are here to try and give a basic understanding into this intriguing, yet confusing, job title that has crept into the learning communities vocabulary. 

 

"Instructional design is the practice of creating "instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing." According to  Merrill, M. D.; Drake, L.; Lacy, M. J.; Pratt, J. (1996). "Reclaiming instructional design"

 

Instructional design is the transferring of content into an experience in which the learner will easily absorb the knowledge. Unfortunately bullet pointing all of your content onto a power point presentation doesn't quite count and doesn't require an instructional designer. The responsibility of an instructional designer starts right from getting the content from the content expert, it is about analysing the content and regenerating it into an experience that engages the learner, making it more than just reading and trying to memories information, which is what learning has been for centuries but transforming the content into something that can be relate-able and put into practice. It then is about understanding the learners needs and requirements, what works for them and how they might best understand the knowledge by structuring the content and activities. 

 

It is also about having a graphical eye, and knowing what works well from colours to visual elements that help communicate and support an idea. The visual side of learning is just as important when translating information. Understanding when to leave white space, or when to use a representational image rather than mounds of text is all crucial when trying to get learning right. This goes hand in hand with adding media to your learning. Instructional design is all about again, understanding when a part of the content would work so much better in a video scenario or knowing the bits that might need to be reiterated with an interactive quiz afterwards. 

 

Instructional Designers are there to take the content provided to them - or rewrite and reform face to face training into online learning in a way in which it not only holds the learners attention but also makes the information relevant and usable. It is mostly about understanding the wants and needs of the learner and helping them along the way,

 

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