7 Job Requirements for Real Instructional Designers
Real Instructional Designers are teachers. We take knowledge from Subject Matter Experts who don’t have the skills, time, or desire to pass along their expertise effectively. Just because you can use Storyline, Camtasia, or Captivate doesn’t mean you’re an Instructional Designer–even the most anti-social or misanthropic SME can use Powerpoint (and those tools are mostly just overpriced Powerpoint). Grade-schoolers can use Powerpoint and master software more complex and advanced than Storyline faster than you. We intake complex and/or confusing material fast, dissect and analyze it, and output it in ways that are simply constructed and easily assimilated. And we can do that even without software.
Real Instructional Designers are editors. We identify what is essential, throw out the rest, and organize what remains in the order it makes the most sense to the student. Most of what an SME or project champion gives you is unnecessary at best.
Real Instructional Designers are detectives. What the client thinks they need might not be what they actually need. What the client thinks is the problem might not really be the problem. Maybe the end-user (the student) already has all that knowledge and doesn’t use it. The reason or motivation for not using existing knowledge is the problem and the solution. What they think is the only solution might not be the best solution. We help them ask the right questions and find the best answers.
Real Instructional Designers are researchers. Information provided by SMEs, project champions, and/or stakeholders might not be factually correct. We find the answers, not just regurgitate what’s given to us.
Real Instructional Designers are UX/UI designers. We present material in a way that is easy to use and understand. We instinctively know whether audio, images, video, text, simulations, or games are the best way to learn any given bit of knowledge. We find out how the end-users think and works so the students access and achieve everything required of them by following only their intuition. Students know what is expected of them, where they are in the training timeline, and how to navigate the learning process without being told via separate instructions or a tutorial.
Real Instructional Designers are Gamifiers. We make learning not only painless, not merely engaging, but fun. Players (end-users, students) know the objectives, how to play the game, and how to win (perform better, pass an assessment). We make learning active (not passive), challenging, and realistic (practical and relevant with real world examples and application).
Real Instructional Designers are Data Scientists and Data Visualizers. Students understand the purpose (why) of what they’re doing (not “you’ll learn to tie your shoes” objectives or key points) and the method (how) for achieving their objectives. We reshape dry, boring, complex, confusing information and make it not only palatable but appetizing and yummy–students should always want to come back for seconds. We provide concrete evidence for the validity and value of the time they’re investing. We evaluate the situation before designing and developing the material keeping the end in mind and evaluate the results which don’t end when the student takes a lame multiple-choice quiz. We provide the evidence of the need beforehand and the success afterward to the stakeholders in clear, dynamic, inspiring ways.