How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (2023)

When you take an eLearning course or watch an instructional video, who do you think is behind it all? It might not be the coach you see on your screen. A great deal of the course development process rests on an instructional designer’s shoulders.

Going pro doesn’t happen overnight, but if you still have the passion and drive to study and practice, read our complete guide on how to become an instructional designer. We asked eLearning experts to share their insights to point you in the right direction.

Feel free to bookmark this article and come back for more insights. And make sure to download our Instructional Designer’s notebook, acollection of interactive guides, checklists, and tips on instructional design and eLearning.

What Is an Instructional Designer?

If you have friends outside of the eLearning world, they are likely to ask you what on earth an instructional designer is. Here is the answer you can give them: An instructional designer is an eLearning expert who gathers information from subject matter experts and uses instructional theories and models to create engaging and effective learning experiences.

Then your friends might say: “Okay, but what is it exactly that they do?”

What Instructional Designers Do

Instructional design is the art and science of creating learning experiences that help people gain the skills they need. The aim of the instructional designer is to identify knowledge and skill gaps, and find the most powerful ways to close them, whether through online courses, games, or training videos.

Instructional designers need to be experts in both how people learn and how to create content using technologies. They should be able to use authoring tools to create and deliver appealing learning materials and make training faster, easier, and more effective.

The roles and responsibilities of instructional designers are quite varied. They include:

  • Defining clear learning objectives and creating compelling content that aligns with them.
  • Interacting with subject matter experts (SMEs) to collect information based on the learners’ needs.
  • Creating a detailed storyboard of how an e-course should look and which interactions it should include.
  • Making online courses with an authoring tool for learning and skill building, and developing tests and assignments for performing knowledge checks and evaluating training effectiveness.
  • Creating supporting materials that include multimedia, e.g., audio, video, screencasts, and gamification.

If you’re going to become an instructional designer, the specifics of your job will depend on at least these two factors:

  • What field you’ll be working in (corporate, higher education, government, non-profit)
  • Whether you will work full-time, part-time, or freelance

Let’s take a closer look at these factors.

Instructional design specifics in various fields

Nowadays, everyone needs online learning: small companies, large enterprises, universities, and nonprofits. These fields have both similarities and differences. Check out this table to get a general idea of the instructional design specifics for each one:

CorporateHigher educationGovernmentNonprofit
Who your learners will beemployees, partners, customersstudentsgovernment and military personnelboard members, staff, volunteers, donors
What eLearning content you will designonboarding, compliance training, hard skills training, soft skills training, product knowledge trainingmostly in-person courses converted to an online format, academic subject coursesorientation, hard and soft skills training, on fundraising, grant writing, and accounting, governance training, etc.
Average salary$86,327$62,068$85,478$78,025
Main advantage of working in the fieldhigh salarywork-life balanceinteresting projects that affect many peoplechallenging projects steered toward societal good
Main disadvantage of working in the fieldpossibility of overworklimited career opportunitiesbureaucracy and hierarchylimited career opportunity

Full-Time IDs vs. Freelance IDs

Apart from deciding what field you would like to work in, you should also determine how you would like to work. You can either be self-employed or work for a single company full-time (or part-time). Let’s see the specifics of these formats and their pros and cons.

Full-time instructional designer

A full-time job is something many instructional designers look for when they start out in the field. It may be comforting because you’re focused only on providing learning experiences for employees or students, and all other job-related duties lie in other departments.

However, you might find yourself quite limited in terms of choosing eLearning project topics, course development tools, and more.


  • Stability
  • Only instructional design duties
  • eLearning tool expanses lie with the company


  • Inexperienced beginners may receive a lower salary
  • No opportunity to choose projects
  • Strict working hours

Freelance instructional designer

A freelance instructional designer has more freedom in every respect: when and where to work, what projects to accept, which tools to use, and more. Still, any freelance job can be tricky. Although you have full control over your work and can take only the projects you’re excited about, it doesn’t necessarily happen like that – especially for beginners.

There just might not be enough interesting projects for you to earn a decent income from. So, you have to work on something less thrilling than you would prefer, and you have to perform the extra work of running your business (marketing, taxes, management, negotiations, etc.)


  • Freedom of choosing projects, when and where to work, what tools to use, etc.
  • Potentially higher income
  • Independence


  • Extra tasks
  • Instability

How Much an Instructional Designer Gets Paid

According to Glassdoor, the average instructional designer salary in America is $71,070 per year. Devlin Peck, an eLearning expert, provides a different number – $85,466 per year. Of course, ‘average’ means you can earn both much more than and much less. There are 5 major factors that can affect your income:

1. Level of education

According to the survey conducted by Devlin Peck, eLearning specialists with a master’s degree get the highest salary: with a master’s degree, you’ll generally earn $2,000 more than you would with only a bachelor’s degree.

2. Geography

(Video) How to Become an Instructional Designer in 2022

Instructional design incomes vary depending on what country you live in and work in. The highest average salaries are in America ($85,466) and Australia ($89,905), while the lowest are in the UK ($52,012) and India ($11,535).

3. Size of the organization

According to Glassdoor, an average instructional design salary in small companies is $69,750 and $75,024 in large enterprises.

4. Instructional design field

The field you work in has a great influence on how much you get paid. Take a look at Devlin Peck’s data on average salaries in instructional design fields:

  • Corporate: $86,327
  • Government: $85,478
  • Nonprofit: $78,025
  • Higher education: $62,068

5. Professional experience

Glassdoor states that the average salary of an instructional designer with 0-3 years of experience is $63,653, while the wage for those with over 15 years is $84,528. According to Devlin Peck, IDs with 0-3 years of professional experience receive the lowest salary of $71,961, and those with 16-20 years receive the highest average salary of $110,737.

How to Get Instructional Design Experience

Professional experience can be an essential factor during your job interview. You might even get the position without it, but this would definitely have an impact on your salary. So, how can you get course development experience? There are at least 3 ways to do this:

University projects

If you’re getting a master’s degree in instructional design, you have plenty of opportunities to get your first professional experience. You’ll be involved in different eLearning projects for organizations, and your final project is likely to be a course on some topic.


If you’re currently working in a different field, you can volunteer at your workplace to create an eLearning project. That way, you’ll be creating a course about something you know about – which is great – and you’ll get a chance to check whether instructional design is right for you.

Networking and consulting

Find other instructional designers on LinkedIn and follow them. They might post job vacancies from time to time. Or, you could participate in an eLearning project as a consultant. Besides, networking is a crucial part of the eLearning world, so you might want to start doing that right away.

How to Become an Instructional Designer

There are 4 main paths to instructional design: the direct path, transitioning from teaching, transitioning from a position as a school administrator, and getting there from a noneducational sphere. Let’s look at each of them:

Direct path

The direct path is for people who want to get into the eLearning world right after they graduate from university. If you’re currently finishing your bachelor’s degree and thinking about getting a master’s in instructional design, check out the best academic courses listed later in the article.

What’s important to keep in mind is that, unlike teachers, school administrators, and other professionals, you don’t have any professional experience yet. So, it would be great if you could get that while attending university.

Transitioning from teaching

Teachers and university professors have lots of teaching experience, know teaching models, strategies, and much more. But this could be both a great advantage and a limitation. You see, instructional design differs from traditional teaching. You have different learners, different tools, different models, and your role is different too. It’s important that you realize this, acquire new knowledge and skills, and adapt your previous experience and knowledge to your new profession.

Download our comprehensive journey map “Transitioning from Teaching to Instructional Design.” It includes everything you need to start out in your new career: all the basic instructional design theories and models, practical guides, checklists, ID volunteer opportunities, job interview questions, and much more!

Transitioning from a role as a school administrator

School administration might be a great background for instructional design – especially if you’re looking for freelance work. You already have the necessary organizational skills, such as learner management or curriculum design, that some eLearning specialists might find complicated. However, to create online courses, you’ll need to study instructional design theory and upgrade your design skills.

From a noneducational sphere

The fact that you don’t have any prior teaching experience might be your advantage. First of all, you will not mix teaching knowledge and skills up with those of instructional design – you’re like a blank page, and you can fill yourself only with relevant information.

Also, you are likely to have worked somewhere, which makes you an expert in that particular field. So, you can become an instructional designer who specializes in that sphere. Let’s suppose you used to build cars. Imagine how preferable you would look among other learning designers who don’t have such experience and apply for an ID job at Mercedes or Volkswagen. Study ID theory, practice, network, and you’ll be great.

No matter which path you take, following these steps will be of great help:

Step 1: Study ID Models, Theories, and Strategies

Let’s say you’ve realized that your dream is to become an instructional designer and you want to make it come true as quickly as possible. The first thing you need to do is learn the basics of eLearning, study instructional design models, theories, and strategies, and get certifications to prove your competence. There are two basic ways to do that: university programs and nonacademic courses.

The best instructional design university programs

Check out these five university programs. All of them are focused on innovative eLearning approaches and modern technologies, methods, and techniques.

  1. Indiana University Bloomington: Instructional Systems Technology
  2. Florida State University: Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies
  3. University of Georgia: Educational Psychology
  4. Purdue University: Learning Design and Technology
  5. Michigan State University: Educational Psychology and Technology

The best instructional design courses

If you don’t feel like taking a full-fledged master’s program, you can take an online course. We’ve collected five great instructional design courses for you to check out. If you want to learn more about each of them and see some other courses, check our article.

  1. IDOL Courses (Instructional Design Academy)
  2. Instructional Design Certificate – 4 courses (University of Wisconsin-Stout)
  3. Learning Design and Technology Graduate Certificate (Harvard Extension School)
  4. MicroMasters Program in Instructional Design and Technology (University of Maryland)
  5. Learning to Teach Online (Coursera)

Instructional design models

For those who want to study instructional design theory on their own, we’ve prepared the basic info on various ID models. Check them out:


The first handy design tool you should have in your eLearning arsenal is the ADDIE framework.

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (1)

The ADDIE model has been around since the 70s and tackles the five stages each eLearning project goes through (which gives rise to the acronym). They are:

  • Analysis. In the analysis phase, you need to clarify at least two things. Who is your target audience, and what should they know or be able to do after completing the course?
  • Design. Now that it’s clear who you’ll train and what knowledge they should get, you need to understand how. Which instructional methods, activities, textual content, and media assets will you use to create a killer learning experience?
  • Development. Now it’s time to translate all this into reality. You need to storyboard the text, produce graphics and videos, and develop the learning interactions outlined in the design stage. Then, gather all the content and start building a course. This can be a challenging and time-consuming phase, but authoring tools can make your job quicker and easier.
  • Implementation. This is the phase where the course goes live. Since it’s ready now, share it with your learners. For example, you can deliver a course right to the LMS that they use.
  • Evaluation. Since evaluation can help make training even better, it’s crucial to gather learners’ feedback. You need to find out what works, and what should be improved.

Make sure to read about the ADDIE model in more detail.

SAM (Successive Approximations Model)

The SAM model is a more recent instructional design model, created by eLearning pioneer Michael Allen. It’s built to help you design meaningful, memorable, and motivational learning experiences.

The SAM model is an alternative to the ADDIE model and aims to fix some limitations of its predecessor. The main difference is probably that, with the SAM model, there’s more creativity and freedom in the project creation process, while ADDIE has a strict structure that makes you follow each step. Here’s how you’ll create your eLearning project if you choose SAM:

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (2)

  • Preparation Phase

Collect background information on learners’ prior knowledge, weaknesses, strengths, and other factors. Brainstorm ideas on every aspect of your project. By the end of this phase, you are to come up with a potential design for every content area.

(Video) Become an Instructional Designer from Scratch - Beginner Course (2022)

  • Iterative Design Phase

Design and prototype your project and send it to other people for review. Based on the feedback, fix the weaknesses.

  • Iterative Development Phase

Finish your online course and implement it. Collect feedback from your learners, evaluate the training program, and fix issues if necessary by returning to the iterative design phase.

Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction

Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, when used together, form a framework for a successful learning process. The idea is that once you complete each step, your learners are likely to be more engaged in learning and subsequently retain new knowledge and skills. Consider these events when designing an eLearning course:

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (3)

Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model

Don Kirkpatrick suggests 4 levels of training evaluation: Reaction, Learning, Impact, and Results.

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (4)

Here’s what to do if you decide to evaluate your course with this model:

Level 1: Reaction

Collect learners’ feedback on the course.

Level 2: Learning

Measure how much new knowledge learners gained from your course.

Level 3: Impact

Assess how much an employee’s behavior changed after the training program.

Level 4: Results

Analyze quality, efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction ratings to evaluate the overall impact of your course on the organization.

Make sure to learn about this and other training evaluation models.

The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

The original Bloom’s taxonomy included these 6 categories:

  • Knowledge
  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation

However, in 2001, a group of cognitive psychologists and education specialists offered a revision of this taxonomy that proved to be more effective. Instead of nouns used by Benjamin Bloom, they used action words – verbs and gerunds – that describe the learner’s cognitive processes. They also changed the sequence and replaced the “Synthesis” category with the “Create” step. Check it out:

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (5)

1. Remember

Recall facts and basic concepts.

Define, duplicate, list, memorize, repeat, state.

2. Understand

Explain ideas or concepts.

Describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate.

3. Apply

Use information in new situations.

Execute, implement, solve, use, demonstrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch.

4. Analyze

Establish connections among ideas.

Differentiate, organize, relate, compare, contrast, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.

5. Evaluate

Justify a stand or decision.

Appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, critique, weigh.

6. Create

(Video) The complete guide to developing learning | What is instructional design, learning design?

Produce original work.

Design, assemble, construct, conjecture, develop, formulate, author.

Waterfall Model

The Waterfall model is a sequential linear adaptation of the ADDIE model that includes these 6 steps: feasibility, analysis, design, implementation, testing, and maintenance.

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (6)

The model is based on the idea that each following step is easier than the previous one, as is the case with a waterfall: water falls faster and faster until it hits the ground. The course development happens quickly because once you finish a step, you don’t come back to it, so you don’t spend extra time running through content, visuals, and other project components. However, this might affect the overall course quality.

Merrill’s Principles of Instruction

David Merrill suggested 5 instructional design principles that will help you create a truly effective learning experience:

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (7)

Principle 1: Problem-Centered

Engage learners by letting them solve real-world problems:

  • Show an example of the task that learners will perform.
  • Make sure learners understand what they are going to do and are interested in the task.
  • Provide learners with a basic problem, then give them a complex real-life problem to solve.

Principle 2: Activation

Activate learners’ existing knowledge and use it as a foundation for new knowledge. Ask them about their relevant experience and knowledge, and make up examples and tasks that connect both with these experiences and new information.

Principle 3: Demonstration

Learners need to see everything: learning outcomes, new knowledge application examples, etc. Your task is to show it to them using media that will engage them.

Principle 4: Application

Let learners apply what they’ve learned. Provide them with guidance on how to use new knowledge and skills, and give them an opportunity to practice them.

Principle 5: Integration

Help learners integrate new knowledge into their world. In order to do this, let them demonstrate new skills to others, reflect on them, and encourage learners to transfer what they have learned into their lives.


AGILE is another course development model that focuses on one eLearning module at a time. You move to the next one only after you’ve finished the previous one. This results in a higher quality course because you pay more attention to details in each segment.

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (8)

So, here’s what you should do according to the AGILE model:


Set goals and objectives.

Get Set

Plan how you are going to develop your eLearning project.

Iterate and implement

Develop the project following the plan.


Test the module.


Collect feedback, analyze, and assess the module. Fix any issues.

Step 2. Explore the Psychology Behind Learning Behaviors

If you want to deliver good knowledge and skills, and keep your learners engaged and motivated, you need to understand them. Realize how they absorb the information, what drives them to better learning results, and, conversely, what can be a distraction.

If you’re going to promote training in the workplace, start exploring the psychology and behaviors of the average adult learner. Of course, there’s no single learning approach that works for everyone, though there are some generic aspects common to all people that you should know about:

  • Adult learners have a wealth of experience to draw on when learning and they want their voices heard.
  • They learn best when there are opportunities to self-reflect and internalize the learning.
  • They aren’t used to receiving direction in education and want to be respected for their experience. Ideally, they want to contribute their experience and wisdom when in a learning environment, rather than just absorbing content.
  • Adult learners need a purpose or motivation for learning. It might be that learning a framework can make a process more efficient and/or the learning might help them achieve goals – ranging from realizing personal achievements to improving in their current role, or even preparing for a new role.
  • They want their ideas and learning needs to be incorporated into the process; they want to be involved.
  • Many adult learners are self-directed, meaning they like to learn independently in a self-paced environment.
  • They don’t have a lot of extra time in their day or life for learning and prefer chunks/bursts of learning (microlearning) and individualized training. They are more motivated to learn if they have quick wins by completing learning rapidly.

To delve deeper into how adults learn, you can also explore existing adult learning theories, including Transformational, Experiential, and Individualized (Centric) learning, as well as Andragogy.

Step 3. Choose the eLearning Tool for the Current and Specific Use

So, now you’ve got the necessary theoretical ID background. If you’re hoping to move further toward a career as an instructional designer, you need to gain some technical skills. You can start by studying our list of 50+ tools for instructional designers. Of course, you might not need them all, but you’ll be able to choose one or more tools for your current tasks.

For example, you might try iSpring Suite. This is an authoring toolkit that allows you to build interactive courses containing different types of eLearning content quickly and easily. You can enhance slides with tests and drag-and-drop activities, add video and audio narrations, build realistic dialogue simulations, and record and fine-tune screencasts and training videos with the integrated video studio.

(Video) Top Tips for Instructional Designers (2021 Guide) | How to Become an Instructional Designer

Experience this eLearning demo to see what a course created with iSpring Suite looks like:

If this kind of content is exactly what you need, our guide on how to create online eLearning courses and Michael Sheyahshe’s webinars will walk you through the whole process.

Still not sure? Explore some other amazing courses made with iSpring Suite or download a free 14-day trial and test drive all the features right now.

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Step 4. Make eLearning Samples and Create an ID Portfolio

The next important step you need to take is to start practicing. Armed with all the necessary theoretical knowledge and an authoring tool, you can start creating sample e-courses. And why not present some of your samples in your resume?

Having a good ID portfolio is the quickest way to get the job you’re dreaming about. It’ll provide your potential employers with an overview of your skills, educational background, creative abilities, and subject matter expertise. Check out some tips from Christy Tucker, Learning Experience Design Consultant and the owner of Syniad Learning, LLC:

Tips for making eLearning samples

  • Make it short. Most prospective employers won’t sit through a 30-minute module. Just include an interesting snippet that can be reviewed in under 5 minutes. A sample might be just a few slides, or even a single interaction that shows off your skills.
  • Pick a topic you know or can research online. Topics like time management, handling customer objections, or software demos don’t require much specialized knowledge. Topics related to workplace training are more effective as portfolio samples than overly simple topics like “how to make a sandwich.”
  • Don’t focus only on visuals and interactions. Think about the learning objectives and show off your instructional design skills, not just flashy development skills.

Tips for creating an instructional design portfolio

  • Include eLearning samples with descriptions. Describe your process and explain why you chose that approach.
  • Focus on what you want to do. For example, if you love creating software training, include software simulations and quick reference guides.
  • Mention only relevant information. If you can’t stand working with a particular tool, don’t include those samples in your portfolio. Also, those who want to develop in workplace training should avoid examples aimed at children and add samples that are relevant for adults.
  • Create your personal website. Of course, you can use various portfolio website builders, but, in my experience, the ideal solution is a personal website with a custom domain. When you own your own site, you have control over everything: how it looks and what you include.

Check out our step-by-step guide on building an instructional design portfolio. And take a look at these portfolio examples to get ideas on how to create your own personal portfolio.

Step 5. Learn from Other Instructional Designers’ Experiences

Another vastly important piece of this puzzle is the human element. To become a good instructional designer and develop in your profession continuously, you need to learn from those who walked a similar path and came out on top. There are 3 principal ways to do this:

  1. Read instructional design books
  2. Watch instructional design videos
  3. Follow instructional design blogs and websites

We’ve compiled the top lists for each of these resources. They all give insights on how to create better learning experiences, use authoring tools, and manage eLearning projects. Check them out!

Step 6: Prepare for the Job Interview

At some point, you’ll need to go to a job interview, where a hiring manager will decide whether you’re the right fit based on your answers. So, you’ll need to be prepared. Here’s what a hiring manager needs to know about you:

  • If you know instructional design theories, models, and strategies, and can apply them
  • What work experience you have (if any)
  • What tools you can use
  • How well you understand the specifics of the company and its learning needs
  • If you’re a pleasant person to work with (your communication skills, interpersonal skills, and overall EQ – level of emotional intelligence)

If you want to learn more, read our article on 11 instructional design interview questions and how to answer them.

Step 7. Keep apace with Instructional Design and eLearning Trends

An instructional designer should always stay up to date with two things: trends in instructional design and trends in eLearning technology. In fact, it’s hard to separate them, since they are interdependent. However, the first is more about popular approaches to ID like video-based learning or mobile learning, while the second is focused on emergent technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

When keeping updated on ID and eLearning trends, you may look into new areas and skills that you want to upgrade and find new ways to make learning experiences even better.

How to Become an Instructional Designer? The Ultimate Guide (18)

Jeff Dalto, Senior L&D Specialist at Convergence Training

There are four sources of “trendy” knowledge you shouldn’t ignore:

  • The simplest thing you can do is to find experts in the field in social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter, and keep up with what they’re posting about.
  • Join professional organizations such as ATD and eLearning Guild. Follow them on social media and read their websites.
  • Attend conferences in the eLearning and training industry, where you can meet other professionals. Watch their informational presentations and see their product demos.
  • Create a “community of practice” with like-minded coworkers or eLearning professionals in your area. Have regular meetings or webinars to discuss ideas, books, trends, and new products, and help one another keep abreast of what’s what.

You may try all this, but you need to be wary of marketing hype and the seductive qualities of the latest new things. There are a lot of unfounded learning myths out there already, and excitement over the newest trend has a tendency to add to that.

So be open-minded to new trends, but also be skeptical; make sure the claims line up with what you know about how people learn and look for supporting data. Learning researchers like Dr. Will Thalheimer (and others) are great at helping you separate what’s real from what’s snake oil in the learning profession.

A career in instructional design is exciting, but beginnings can be difficult and confusing. We hope our guide will help you start your career and move toward the top of your field, step by step. Rememberto download our Instructional Designer’s notebook, acollection of interactive guides, checklists, and tips you’ll need in your new profession.

Good luck!


  • Learning about different ID models and strategies will serve as the backbone of your online courses and will help you create engaging content.
  • Studying the psychology and behaviors of the adult learner and exploring learning theories will help you provide your audience with the most meaningful and memorable eLearning experiences.
  • Along with a theoretical ID background, you need to gain some technical skills and choose eLearning tools that meet your requirements.
  • Your ID portfolio should ideally be focused on the particular kind of work you want to do, and include eLearning samples with descriptions.
  • Following some of the top instructional designers’ blogs is an effective way to expand your knowledge of ID.
  • When keeping up with ID and eLearning trends, look into new areas and skills that you want to upgrade and find new ways to make learning experiences even better.

Useful Resources

  • Instructional Design: The Art of eLearning Architecture
  • How to Create an Instructional Design Portfolio that Makes You Shine
  • Instructional Designer Salary: 5 Proven Ways to Earn More
  • Top 15 Instructional Design Certificate Programs and Courses
  • 50 Best Instructional Design Tools


What are 3 qualities of the ideal instructional designer? ›

The Most Important Skills To Look For In An Instructional Designer
  • Creativity. Instructional Designers need to be creative; think outside the box. ...
  • Communication Skills. Instructional Designers need to be able to say a lot in few words. ...
  • Research Skills. ...
  • People Skills. ...
  • Time Management Skills. ...
  • Flexibility.
1 Oct 2017

What are the 3 major components of instructional design? ›

When it comes to designing a learning experience, instructional designers must take three main components into account to ensure the learning is effective: learning objectives, learning activities, and assessments. This is known as the “Magic Triangle” of learning.

How can I be the best instructional designer? ›

Instructional Design Best Practices
  1. Identify your objectives and goals. ...
  2. Go beyond a basic introduction. ...
  3. Emphasize communication and your availability. ...
  4. Create an engaging course. ...
  5. Embrace active learning. ...
  6. Keep it concise. ...
  7. Don't overcomplicate navigation. ...
  8. Use engaging graphics and effective audio.

What is the 4 instructional design models? ›

"Many current instructional design models suggest that the most effective learning environments are those that are problem-based and involve the student in four distinct phases of learning: (1) activation of prior experience, (2) demonstration of skills, (3) application of skills, and (4) integration or these skills ...

What are the 5 key stages of instructional design? ›

In this post we'll explore the five stages of the ADDIE model of instructional design—analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation—and how this process can help or hurt your learning evaluation methods.

Is instructional design stressful? ›

While every job comes with its share of stressful situations, being an instructional designer provides you with a relatively relaxed work environment. It doesn't bleed into your personal life and gives you ample time to pursue other hobbies, spend time with family, or simply enjoy life.

What are the 7 types of instructional materials? ›

Types of instructional materials
PrintTextbooks, pamphlets, handouts, study guides, manuals
AudioCassettes, microphone, podcast
VisualCharts, real objects, photographs, transparencies
AudiovisualSlides, tapes, films, filmstrips, television, vedioo, multimedia
Electronic InteractiveComputers, graphing calculators, tablets

What tools do instructional designers use? ›

15 Best Instructional Design Software Tools for Interactive Content Creation in 2023
  • Whatfix. ...
  • Adobe Captivate. ...
  • Articulate Storyline. ...
  • iSpring Suite. ...
  • Lectora Publisher. ...
  • Robohelp. ...
  • Camtasia. ...
  • CloudApp.
2 May 2018

What are the six steps in instructional design? ›

Understanding the 6 Steps of Instructional Design: A behind-the-scenes peek into the multifaceted process of creating online curriculum
  • Project Initiation. ...
  • Product Design. ...
  • Content Development. ...
  • Production. ...
  • Review, Publish, and Evaluate. ...
  • Evaluating Effectiveness.
12 Dec 2019

What is the most popular instructional design model? ›

ADDIE is arguably the most important instructional design model because it provides a universal framework for ID work. All instructional design models follow some variation of a three-step process that includes: Analyzing a situation to determine the instructional need.

Is instructional design difficult? ›

You have to be intuitive, so you can understand your clients' needs. You also have to be insightful and innovative, so you can guide them effectively with practical solutions to tackle their real and pressing problems. Being an instructional designer is a challenging job.

Who is the father of instructional design? ›

Robert Gagné's work has been the foundation of instructional design since the beginning of the 1960s when he conducted research and developed training materials for the military. Among the first to coin the term "instructional design", Gagné developed some of the earliest instructional design models and ideas.

What is Gagne's model of instructional design? ›

Gagne's model of instructional design is based on the information processing model of the mental events that occur when adults are presented with various stimuli and focuses on the learning outcomes and how to arrange specific instructional events to achieve those outcomes.

What is the main goal of instructional design? ›

The goal of instructional design is to make learning as accessible as possible for the learner. The core of the instructional design process is the learning objective. This learning objective is the desired outcome for the learner.

What are the 3 instructional models? ›

  • Behavioral Systems. The focus of the methods associated with this category is on observable skills and behaviors. ...
  • Information-Processing Approaches. ...
  • Personal Development. ...
  • Social Interaction. ...
  • Summary.

Is ADDIE still relevant? ›

The U.S. Military created the ADDIE process model in the 1970s. Despite that, the ADDIE process step approach is still relevant today. It brings about successful, effective, and efficient results when executed correctly.

How do I know if instructional design is for me? ›

So, if you like writing, working with tech, working with people, and helping people learn, then instructional design will likely be a good fit for you. Many instructional designers have great work-life balance, relatively relaxed work environments, and decent salaries.

Where do instructional designers make the most money? ›

As you can see, instructional designers in the USA and Australia top the charts when it comes to total compensation. The average compensation of instructional designers in India is also much lower than that in the other countries.

Is there a future in instructional design? ›

One result of the growing demand for instructional designers is likely to be a re-ordering of the ID labor market. Schools will likely need to offer flexible and remote work options to get the best ID talent. In many ways, the work of an instructional designer is well suited for hybrid and remote work.

Can a teacher teach without an instructional materials? ›

Instructional materials are essential since they help the teacher and learners avoid overemphasis on recitation and rote learning that can easily dominate a lesson. Resource materials allow learners to have practical experiences which help them to develop skills and concepts and to work in a variety of ways.

What are the 9 categories of instructional strategies? ›

  • Identifying Similarities and Differences. ...
  • Summarizing and Note Taking. ...
  • Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition. ...
  • Homework and Practice. ...
  • Nonlinguistic Representations. ...
  • Cooperative Learning. ...
  • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback. ...
  • Generating and Testing Hypotheses.

What degree do most instructional designers have? ›

While a bachelor's degree may qualify you for an entry-level position in this field, most instructional design professionals hold a master's or doctoral degree. This is because an advanced degree is usually required by higher education institutions and also preferred by many government and corporate employers.

Do instructional designers write content? ›

As the title says, an Instructional Designer designs instructions. Yes, they're writers, but they don't just write. They understand learning processes and design the instructions around the medium to be used, and around the learner's perspective and requirement.

Can you freelance as an instructional designer? ›

As a freelance instructional designer, you contract with companies to create resources and content for training courses. You design audio, storyboards, and graphic images and then implement the components into training objectives and materials that help develop the desired skills.

What are the 4 levels of instruction? ›

The levels of instruction: a guide for classroom teachers and teacher aides
  • Modelling.
  • Shared learning.
  • Guided learning.
  • Independent learning.

What are the two functions of instructional designers? ›

What does an instructional designer do? An instructional designer is an individual who designs a curriculum for the learners and develops the methodology and delivery systems for presenting the course. Instructional designers create and deliver educational and training materials to learners.

Is there demand for instructional designers? ›

œObviously the demand for experienced IDs is greater than for freshers, as this is a new-age industry requiring a combination of academic and ICT skills.

What should instructional designers know? ›

Top 10 Instructional Designer Skills That Today's Instructional Design Candidates Should Have
  • Deep Level Of Understanding Of Learning Models. ...
  • Learning Technology Experience. ...
  • Presentation Technology Knowledge. ...
  • Project Management Skills. ...
  • Visual And Artistic Talents. ...
  • Assessment Development. ...
  • Understanding Of Virtual Reality.
22 Jul 2017

Do teachers make good instructional designers? ›

The best thing about choosing instructional design as a career is that, as a teacher, you already possess most of the skills required to succeed in this field. So, by developing some additional skills, learning several tools, and following the right course of action, you can easily make a smooth and easy transition.

What challenges do instructional designers face? ›

Top 7 E-Learning Challenges for Instructional Designers
  • Creating engaging content for learners. ...
  • Accommodating the busy schedules of learners. ...
  • Overcoming technical challenges among learners. ...
  • Keeping up with emerging instructional tools and technology. ...
  • Choosing the right e-learning platform. ...
  • Designing for broad audiences.
10 Jun 2021

Do instructional designers work from home? ›

Though some of the courses instructional designers work on may be taught in person, many are online.

What does an instructional designer do day to day? ›

They train people not only in how to use educational technologies, but why and when to use them to maximize the teaching and learning experience. Instructional designers often work in higher education, elementary or secondary education, government, or companies providing educational support services.

Do instructional designers use Canva? ›

And graphic design skills are showing up as a job requirement for many instructional design and eLearning positions. This means learning to use Canva will help your learners AND your career.

What is the difference between instructional design and learning design? ›

We began our internal conversation: Instructional Design versus Learning Design. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't much of a debate. While “instruction” focuses on the teacher, what they do, and how they convey material, “learning” focuses on the student, what they do, and how they acquire knowledge.

Are instructional designers educators? ›

Many start by working as educators or trainers, and then move into instructional design, after building their skills in curriculum design and assessment. Educators can also enhance their instructional design skills through online courses that add to their classroom or training experience.

How is the instructional designer different than a teacher? ›

As a teacher, you get to know your students and may customize lessons to meet individual student needs. By contrast, instructional designers are creating learning opportunities that support students in a particular audience or demographic. They may not know learners personally.

What are Gagne's 9 skills? ›

Gagne's Nine Events of Instruction model helps trainers, educators, and instructional designers structure their training sessions. The model is a systematic process that helps them develop strategies and create activities for instructional classes. The nine events provide a framework for an effective learning process.

What are the 9 events of instruction? ›

Gagné's Nine Events of Instruction
  • Gain attention of the students. ...
  • Inform students of the objectives. ...
  • Stimulate recall of prior learning. ...
  • Present the content. ...
  • Provide learning guidance. ...
  • Elicit performance (practice) ...
  • Provide feedback. ...
  • Assess performance.

Which is the simplest form of learning according to Gagne? ›

Types of Gagne's Hierarchical Structure of Learning:
  • Signal Learning – Signal learning is the simplest form of learning. ...
  • Stimulus-Response Learning (S-R Learning): This is a sophisticated form of learning, which is also known as Operant conditioning originally developed by Skinner.

What are instructional design techniques? ›

An instructional design method refers to the approach a designer takes when developing a new system of instruction. Though the designer's approach may vary from case to case, many of the established methods of instructional design are similar in their fundamental nature.

What are the four main qualities of good learning design? ›

According to Laurillard (2013), the properties required for an operational learning design are:
  • Learning outcome, sequence of activities, and assessment. These must be aligned for effective pedagogy.
  • The sequence of TLAs. ...
  • The time for each TLA. ...
  • The tools and resources required by the learners. ...
  • The designer's reflection.
25 Mar 2019

What are instructional qualities? ›

Instructional characteristics included learner support, course design and organization, content design and delivery, interactivity (student-instructor and student-student), and assessment and evaluation.

What are the qualities of an effective instructional leader? ›

Characteristics of Instructional Leadership Team Members
  • A continuous learner.
  • Effective working with adult learners.
  • An effective communicator.
  • Collaborative.
  • Knowledgeable of content and pedagogy.
  • Knowledge of assessment and data.
  • A systems thinker.

What are the characteristics of high quality instruction? ›

High Quality Instruction means curricula, teaching practices, and learning environments are standards-based, evidence-based, engaging, differentiated, culturally responsive, and data-driven.

What are the 4 C's of learning skills? ›

According to the report, the cornerstone of becoming a successful learner at any age comes down to the four C's: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication.

What does an instructional designer need to know? ›

Instructional Designers must know how to think creatively and solve problems. In most cases, the answer to any problems that may arise cannot be found a textbook. Learning how to think creatively will require the designer to use their communication skills while designing the project.

What are the 7 instructional materials? ›

Traditional resources: Textbooks, reference books, lesson plans, workbooks, flashcards, charts and supplemental reading materials.

How can I improve my instructional skills? ›

Below are the eight ways you can advance your teaching skills:
  1. Embrace technology. ...
  2. Identify instructional objectives. ...
  3. Use co-operative learning. ...
  4. Ask about students' experience. ...
  5. Meet other teachers. ...
  6. Learn to handle unruly behaviours. ...
  7. Take courses. ...
  8. Use of portfolios.

What are the 17 principles of effective instruction? ›

What does the research say and what resources can a teacher use?
  • Review the last lesson. ...
  • Present new material. ...
  • Ask a large number of questions. ...
  • Provide models. ...
  • Guide student practice. ...
  • Check for student understanding. ...
  • Obtain a high success rate. ...
  • Provide scaffolds.
21 Oct 2018

What are the 10 strategies to improve instructional leadership? ›

10 Strategies to Improve Instructional Leadership
  • Get in Classrooms More. This seems so easy, yet it remains a constant struggle. ...
  • Streamline Expectations and Eliminate Ineffective Practices. ...
  • Be a Scholar. ...
  • Model. ...
  • Teach a Class. ...
  • Grow Professionally. ...
  • Write in Order to Reflect. ...
  • Integrate Portfolios.
7 Aug 2019

Which are the four stages of instructional leadership? ›

The Instructional Leadership Inquiry Cycle has four phases: analyze evidence, determine a focus, implement and support and analyze impact.

What are the 3 models of instruction? ›

Basic teaching models include direct instruction, lecture and inquiry-based learning. Inquiry-based learning is a teaching model that works especially well in mathematics and science classes.

What are the 5 principles of instruction? ›

In his study of instructional design theories and models, educational researcher David Merrill identified and focused on these five principles: problem-centric, activation, demonstration, application, and integration.

What are the 5 components of authentic instruction? ›

Figure 1. Five Standards of Authentic Instruction
  • Higher-Order Thinking.
  • Depth of Knowledge.
  • Connectedness to the World Beyond the Classroom.
  • Substantive Conversation.
  • Social Support for Student Achievement.


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