When I tell people what I do, I find myself first asking, “Have you heard of Instructional Design before?”, and then proceed to explain briefly what it is and how and why I got into it.
The truth is that instructional design existed many years ago, but I found that the term resurfaced in 2020, with the increasing demand for online learning.
So, what is Instructional Design (ID)?
Instructional Design is the process of identifying gaps in knowledge or information, performance, skill, or sometimes even attitude gaps, of a target audience. What happens next generally, is IDs select or suggest learning experiences that are based on instructional design theories and best practices to close these gaps.
In plain language, IDs create training that solves business problems. Training can be for:
· higher education,
· organizations, including both corporate and non-profit.
All industries have some sort of learning and development or training. Think about the new graduates who have skill gaps and have already been hired. Companies can train them.
To break into Instructional Design, I find that you really need to be obsessed with learning and need to care for the learners – that is, to know where they are, meet them there, and help them get to their goals.
A Brief Overview of My Journey into Instructional Design
My years of teaching have taught me the importance of understanding how learning works to create an effective learning environment and experience. Just because ‘anyone’ can teach something does not mean that they are delivering knowledge effectively; similarly, just because anyone can create a course, that doesn’t mean it’s well-designed. Instructional designers need to understand the science behind learning to create effective and engaging training material.
As a then instructor, I was often doing a lot of planning, implementing, facilitating, assessing, and evaluating. I genuinely cared about what, why, when, and how the learners received the knowledge. I was also questioning whether the content being delivered is effective for building and developing their skills. This was particularly crucial for me in the English for Academic Purposes courses that I had taught and the workshops that I ran. Many of these courses focused on writing and teaching clear communication, a skill I continue to work on every day — and in the words of Ernest Hemingway — “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master”.
Today, I work as a Learning Experience Designer (LXD), collaborating and communicating with Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) to design online courses. Every day is a new opportunity to continue building and developing these relationships while managing course projects. I ask myself questions about the content and check if it aligns with the learning objectives. For example, “Is everything I’m designing helping the learners achieve the stated goals?” By caring about the learning process, the learners, and the organization’s success, I can decipher in what ways I can improve the content.
During my teaching years, I was feeling that there was more to teaching that I wanted to do, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. I landed upon both free and paid resources to learn about User-Interface (UI) and User-Experience (UX), but was not yet able to make the connection for myself between the skills I had, and those fields. It was when I found out about IDOL Courses that I learned how to connect my past experiences with Instructional Design, and then learn about its connection to UX and UI.
So, what exactly is IDOL?
What is the IDOL Courses Academy and who is it for?
IDOL stands for “Instructional Design and Online Learning”. The IDOL courses Academy was created for both current and future instructional designers & eLearning developers: anyone who wants to transition into instructional design and online learning. The Academy is also for those that want to upskill in instructional design and online learning or land a better IDOL job.
I learned about IDOL Academy in early 2021 and joined the waitlist immediately. I also participated in the five-day challenge to get a taste of their instructional style and started taking action to build my portfolio. The challenge was free and included daily instructions and access to a community.
How will IDOL help me become an instructional designer and eLearning developer?
IDOL Courses Academy can help you learn all the skills, tools, and processes you need to become a corporate instructional designer and eLearning developer. You will also learn how to build a portfolio out of real projects you complete.
IDOL offers different ways to receive feedback from expert coaches on any and all of your portfolio and job application assets. You can also receive mentorship, weekly, where you can have any of your questions answered and receive advice.
You can even earn credentials to add to your LinkedIn profile. Other perks of joining IDOL are:
· Interview preparation assessments
· Being eligible for getting paid experience after earning the first two levels of credentials
· Making IDOL friends!
If you’re someone who is curious about how people learn and passionate about helping professionals do their jobs better, then instructional design could be satisfying job for you.
Best of all, Instructional Design is a flexible career path, and can be done both in-person and/or remotely! You have the flexibility to work with startups, agencies, large corporations, non-profits, or even on a freelance basis. Check out the IDOL Courses Academy syllabus here!
Let me know if you found this helpful and feel free to reach out if you have any questions or just want to connect.