Instructional Designer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Instructional Designer, or Instructional Developer, is responsible for using computer software and other technologies to streamline education courses for students and professionals. Their duties include consulting with subject experts to determine the efficiency of their course designs, transferring courses into online formats and creating course manuals for Teachers or professionals to use.

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Instructional Designer Duties and Responsibilities

The responsibility of Instructional Designers is to analyze and fix disconnections between learning performance and available tools. As the education system integrates more and more technology and social media tools, they help to make the transition to more interactive programs. Here are some of the duties Instructional Designers can be expected to perform:

  • Define and document learning objectives.
  • Conduct research and collaborate with subject experts.
  • Create instructional material: courses, curriculum, student guides or training manuals.
  • Design content to optimize learning.
  • Generate the layout of the learning supports.
  • Redesign content to ensure it matches the learner’s needs.
  • Create visual, audio and interactive learning tools.

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What Does an Instructional Designer Do?

Instructional Designers typically work for companies, colleges or universities and school districts to develop courses and enhance the curriculum by implementing technology and other learning tools. They work closely with teachers, professors, company executives and members of school boards to come up with interactive tools to aid learning initiatives. Their job is to research new technologies and review current courses to determine the best ways to optimize the learning process. They may also be responsible for tracking the progress of their course designs by visiting classrooms or employee training sessions.

Instructional Designer Skills and Qualifications

The work of Instructional Designers is mostly computer-based and requires knowledge of education and learning. Some skills an Instructional Designer would need on the job might include:

  • Graphic design knowledge
  • Fundamental understanding of HTML
  • Creativity
  • Training and teaching skills
  • Enthusiasm for learning
  • Computer proficiency
  • Knowledge of Photoshop, Microsoft Office software and Dreamweaver
  • Audio and video editing skills

Instructional Designer Salary Expectations

The average salary for an Instructional Designer is $58,920 per year. The salaries usually vary with the size of the company and the experience level of the instructional designer. A bonus of $3000 a year can be granted to employees in the position of an Instructional Designer.

Instructional Designer Education and Training Requirements

Instructional Designers preferably hold a master’s degree in instructional design, a master’s degree in technology or a master’s degree in educational design. Some employers, however, will accept a bachelor’s degree in a related field like communication or education.

Instructional Designer Experience Requirements

Teaching, writing, training or web designing experience can help the Instructional Designer candidates excel in their position. Experience in graphic design can help create visually appealing finished products. A good understanding of learning management systems is beneficial to the position. Instructional Designers can learn most of these skills as they complete a master’s degree in educational design. Therefore, candidates with graduate degrees can often perform well on the job without experience.

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Frequently asked questions about Instructional Designers

 

What is the difference between an Instructional Designer and a Curriculum Developer?

Instructional Designers and Curriculum Developers both play an important part in the creation of training courses or education courses. However, they differ in how they contribute to the process. For example, Curriculum Developers specialize in creating the actual curriculum of a course, including topics covered, lesson plans and activities. They also select curriculum components that align with a particular age group or education level. Because of this, Curriculum Developers usually have a strong background in one or more subjects including history, foreign languages or mathematics. 

In contrast, Instructional Designers focus on how to enhance existing courses by implementing different software programs or technological components. They may also be responsible for helping transfer courses into an online format.

 

What are the daily duties of an Instructional Designer?

On a typical day, an Instructional Designer starts work at an office location. They check their email and voicemail for missed messages and review their schedule for the day. Throughout their work day, Instructional Designers travel to client locations to learn about courses and suggest ways to improve the learning process for students or professionals. They also work in their office to convert in-person courses into an online format using a variety of software applications and tools.

 

What qualities make a good Instructional Designer?

A good Instructional Designer has compassion for others, which motivates them to design course layouts that allow students and professionals to succeed. They have an innovative mindset that enables them to use technology to enhance learning experiences. They also value continued education and look for ways to maximize their curriculum designs by learning about new tools and education methods. Further, a good Instructional Designer has excellent verbal communication, allowing them to speak with educators, students, professionals and business owners to determine the best way to design their courses.

 

Who does an Instructional Designer report to?

An Instructional Designer typically reports to the IT Manager in the IT department when working for colleges or universities. Instructional Designers assisting with employee training programs in corporations usually report to the HR Manager or person in charge of training and onboarding procedures. Freelance Instructional Designers report directly to their clients to receive instructions and feedback.

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