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Some people are inclined towards a career in instructional design directly out of college, while many more stumble in this field completely by chance, after a stint in education or any other relevant field. So, what does it take to become an Instructional Designer?
The good news is that unlike many vocations like doctors and lawyers who need a specific degree to work in their field, there is no specific requirement to become an Instructional Designer, but this does not in any way signal that it is easy to land an instructional designer’s job.
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“New technologies and innovative methodologies have transformed the learning space drastically, thus, making an Instructional Designer’s job quite demanding.”
Must-Have Skills for Instructional Designers
The demand for Instructional Designers has hit the roof, especially with the pandemic Covid19 continuing, but so has the awareness of the field, thus, making it more competitive to land a job. In this scenario, if you are aspiring to make a career out of instructional design, it is essential that you have a clear concept of the skills that are indispensable to succeed in this field.
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#1. Educational Qualification
No specific degree is needed but a good educational qualification, especially in language and education, is undoubtedly helpful in creating first-rate content and its implementation.
#2. Frameworks and Theories
Anyone wanting to make a mark in the field of instructional design must acquire thorough practical knowledge of models like the ADDIE Model, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Merrill and Gagne Model, etc. as these are the guiding foundations for instructional designers. Additionally, understanding cognitive psychology will open up in decoding the theories of behavior, and other specific learning theories.
#3. Wide-ranging Skills
Instructional Designers job is purely skill based, therefore, your success will depend on having writing and communication skills, problem-solving skills, organizational skills, interpersonal skills to work with subject matter experts and manage teams.
#4. Effective Tools
To be able to design and build e-learning experiences Instructional Designers are expected to be proficient in the industry tools like Articulate 360, Adobe Captivate, Lectora, Adobe Creative Cloud, etc.
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#5. Multimedia Design
Instructional Designers must be adept in building digital materials to complement instruction and this can be effectively done by learning web, graphic, and/or multimedia design skills.
#6. Technological Knowhow
Possessing the ability to create, develop, manipulate, and share learning content using a variety of technology, is one of the most in-demand skills for Instructional Designers. The most popular ones continue to be Sharepoint for file sharing, Captivate for creating learning content and a number of other Learning Management Systems.
“There is a higher demand for Instructional Designers, more than ever before, but at the same time there is a Stiff Competition too!”
Make a Future in Instructional Design
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Technological advancements have transformed the learning space drastically, therefore, if you have an inclination and intent to become an Instructional Designer par excellence, you need to put in a lot of effort.
There are numerous bachelors and masters degree programs purely dedicated to instructional design, but there is no conclusive proof to show that it necessarily helped people to get a rewarding job or earn more. In fact, instead if you opt for a short duration certification course that provides practical, hands-on training in instructional design, then it will be more advantageous in this competitive job market. It will help you to adopt the use of all pillars of instructional design, i.e. analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation and moreover, give a solid foundation in learning theory and cognitive science.
“To stand out in the crowd, Instructional Designers must learn to incorporate their own unique experience and know-how in their creations.”
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