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An Instructional Designer’s Philosophy

the_thinkerI’ve previously wrote about Being an Instructional Designer and Instructional Design Defined.

I once read, and wholeheartedly agree, “Instructional Designers create easy-to-understand educational materials for training and development purposes. They understand the process of learning and use graphics & creative strategies to make the material effective and interesting.”

As I think about who I am and what I do, I decided to share my thoughts about my career passion. As an Instructional Designer, I have a philosophy to designing effective instruction.

My instructional design philosophy can be summed in a few points:

  1. Learning should be about connecting to the content and then sharing your knowledge and interests with others.
    • An instructional designer curates knowledge. We provide learners with valuable connections to subject matter experts and information.
    • Learners should be able to explain or repeat the lesson to a partner.
    • Learners should be able to share the knowledge with a group of people.
  2. Adults need to know why they need to learn something and how it benefits them. Making this transparent is the start to good Instructional Design
    • Learners should be able to discuss how they use the information, how it benefits them, and any issues they have with the information.
    • A good instructional designer facilitates this discussion and provides recommendations, best practices and suggestions for mitigating the issues.
    • Learners should establish goals. If learners are not driven to set goals for themselves, instructional designers must aid in the development of these goals. Once learning goals are set, instructional designers must create and facilitate instruction that helps accomplish these goals.
  3. Good instructional design allows users to experience and interact with the content.
    • It’s okay to learn by doing and learn by making mistakes.

    Instructional Designers don many hats, including that of producer, coordinator, and facilitator. Read more about these roles here.

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Producer, Coordinator, Facilitator: the Instructional Designer

Driving home after a long and worthwhile week at work I was meditating on why I love being an Instructional Designer. I decided to share the reasons in a short article:

Instructional Designers Produce– We create instructional materials. We make videos, we make guides, we produce training sessions and workshops. We bring content and learning materials to the audience as their needs require. If we don’t have the skills to do these things ourselves, we work with very skilled people to accomplish our design goals.

Instructional Designers Coordinate– We connect people with the right content. We might not know everything, but we work with Subject Matter Experts and work hard at finding information that is needed to make instruction successful. Connecting people to their needs is exciting!

Instructional Designers Facilitate– We share ideas and instruction to make things easier for our learners. We facilitate learning so our audience can do their work better.

learningAdults need to know why they need to learn something and how it benefits them. Making this transparent is the start to good Instructional Design.

Learning should be about connecting to the content and then sharing your knowledge and interests with others.

Adults learners need to interact with the content, demonstrate their use of the content, and share the content with others to help retain the learning.  Designing instruction for hands-on practice and collaboration makes for intriguing and exciting training.

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