What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
Instructional designers use their knowledge of instructional theory and design principles to create engaging and effective learning experiences. As learning designers and developers, they create, develop, and deliver online courses, training programs, and educational materials for a variety of audiences and settings.
Learning objectives are identified, content outline is developed, and learning outcomes are evaluated by instructional designers in conjunction with subject matter experts (SMEs). They create effective learning experiences that meet learners’ needs by applying instructional design models and theories, such as ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation). By combining their expertise in instructional design and technology, instructional designers can create engaging and effective learning experiences that meet the needs of a wide range of learners.
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National Average Salary
Instructional designer salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Instructional Designer is:
Instructional Designer Job Descriptions
It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring an instructional designer. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.
We are hiring a full-time instructional designer to work on our learning management system. Duties include developing online courses and maintaining coursework in an e-learning environment. The required skills for this position include a bachelor’s degree in education or instructional design, and ability to create engaging experiences for students with various learning styles, and familiarity with interactive media tools. The instructional designer will be responsible for the overall design of the learning experience and will create all necessary materials. They must be able to think creatively and have a strong understanding of how people learn. The ideal candidate will be able to work independently and be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Develop instructional materials, including curricula, learning modules, and other training materials
- Collaborate with educators, trainers, and managers to develop learning objectives
- Evaluate the effectiveness of instructional materials and learning experiences
- Update or create new courses as needed
- Create online learning environments, including learning management systems and/or portals
- Ensure the availability of all materials needed for training or coursework
Education and experience
- Bachelor’s degree in education, instructional design, or a related field
- Experience with e-learning software and tools
- Knowledge of best practices for course design and instructional development
- Experience with content management systems or other web tools
Required skills and qualifications
- Exceptional creative problem-solving skills
- A strong understanding of how people learn and how they engage with different types of media
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Familiarity with learning theories and instructional design principles
- Ability to work independently and take ownership of projects
- Understanding of the organization’s goals and its unique approach to learning
- Master’s degree in education, instructional design, or a related field
- Experience working with multicultural populations
- A portfolio of completed projects demonstrating strong written and verbal communication skills
- Expertise in interactive media design
- Experience working with adult populations or specific industry sectors, such as healthcare or government agencies
- Training in instructional design or work experience in another related field, including journalism, technical writing, writing for marketing purposes, graphic design, or training and development
Under the direction of the Manager, Education, and Workforce Development, the Instructional Designer will achieve the following objectives:
- Works with key stakeholders and Education team to define scope of learning experiences, clarify learning objectives, and identify subject matter experts, timeline and projected outcomes
- Designs and develops learning solutions, leveraging tested instructional design theories, practices, and methods to create learning activities that are engaging, activity-based, and results-oriented
- Creates solutions that satisfy the needs of a diverse set of learners (e.g. eLearning, webinars, videos, quick reference guides, etc.)
- Implements tools to track the results of learning experiences (i.e. assessments, quizzes, rubrics, evaluation strategies, etc.). Makes recommendations based on these measurements to improve quality of training programs
- Update and refresh legacy courses into a more engaging, micro learning, and dynamic format
- Develops online learning for professional development organizations, corporate learning, continuing education or university environments
- Works with experts to determine what is to be learned
- Ensures content matches established goals
- Reshapes content for changing needs
- Structures content and activities for optimizing learning
- Collaborates with internal departments (Academy, marketing, web, IT, Customer Service, sales) to ensure completion of milestones
- Supports the technical implementation of learning technologies (LMS, SCORMcloud, Articulate Storyline, etc.)
- Ensures educational content quality and the alignment of content to established learning goals
- Ability to communicate clearly and professionally, both verbally and in writing
- Experience in project management with demonstrated ability to show initiative, plan timelines, implement projects, and complete milestones
- Demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced environment
- Strong attention to details
- Demonstrated ability to work successfully within a highly collaborative environment
- Ability to leverage career maps and curriculum plans in design
- Adult Learning
- Proficient in MS Office Suite: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Zoom, and Teams
- ADDIE, Gagne, and Bloom’s Taxonomy
- Articulate Suite
- Project Management Tools
- Familiarity with Learning Management Systems (Web CourseWorks)
In this role, you will
- Participate in less complex initiatives and identify opportunity for process improvements within scope of responsibilities
- Analyze performance needs, and design, develop, and assess line of business specific learning solutions that are focused on technical and soft skills
- Create and develop performance and competency based learning and performance support solutions for a variety of technical and functional needs for a Line of Business or specific functional area
- Consult with business partners and Learning and Development professionals utilizing knowledge of instructional design methodology to understand learning needs and address the impact, success, and opportunities for improvement of existing learning solutions
- Partner with more experienced instructional design consultants, and business leaders to develop performance based learning that furthers individual development
- Present recommendations for resolving more complex situations and exercise independent judgment while developing expertise in the function, policies, procedures, and compliance requirements
- Collaborate and consult with colleagues, internal partners, and stakeholders, including internal and external customers
- 2+ years of Learning and Development Design experience, or equivalent demonstrated through one or a combination of the following: work experience, training, military experience, education
- Experience using and authoring in learning content management system (LCMS)-based tools
- Advanced skills in multiple instructional design tools and technology (e.g., such as Captivate or Articulate)
- Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills (technical writing and editing preferred)
- Experience working in financial services or other highly regulated environment
- Ability to execute in a fast-paced, high-demand environment while balancing multiple priorities
- Demonstrated project management experience related to instructional design projects
- Demonstrated ability to deliver results with speed and agility
- Organizes all aspects of in-house, regional, and national meetings and store training
- Assist in creating, maintaining, and updating all department training manuals on a regular basis
- Partner with Line Managers on all aspects of training, i.e., Video, E-learning, and How-To-Guides
- Support HR Department with writing HR compliance policies
- Work with trainers to help coordinate trainings, assemble training course materials and templates.
- Produce weekly training content for our Saturday AM Store Meetings
- Partner with the Talent Acquisition Department on training/promotions
- Manages all aspects of our Corner Stone learning management software
- Manage Learning Management System (LMS) to track training data
- Collaborate with all business units to meet company training objectives
- Facilitate specialized training as requested from Corporate, IT, and HR
- Work with Subject Matter Experts to identify needed digital training assets
- Develop testing and final deliverable training eLearning tools
- Convert training content to custom eLearning training
- Collaborate with training team members
- Support all print and digital training systems with e-learning training tools
- Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience required
- At least 5 years of related experience in designing, delivering, and/or consulting on training preferred
- 4+ years of experience using a Learning Management System
- Ability to design and implement effective training
- Ability to evaluate and research training options and alternatives
- Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite and related program software
- Intermediate or greater level skill with Adobe Captivate and Adobe Creative Suite
- 3+ years experience creating digital training
- 3+ years experience developing in micro-learning platforms/systems
Candidate Certification to Look For
Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) Certification
This certification covers ten Areas of Expertise (AOEs) included in the ATD certification competency model: Training Delivery, Instructional Design, Learning Technologies, Evaluating Learning Impact, Managing Learning Programs, Integrated Talent Management, Coaching, Knowledge Management, Change Management, and Performance Improvement. This will improve an instructional designer’s ability to design and create upper-level curricula and programs.
Sample Interview Questions
- Can you tell me about the latest initiative you worked on?
- What are some of the programs or initiatives you have developed or worked on?
- Can you give me an example of how you created instruction for a specific audience or learner?
- What are some of the challenges you face when designing instruction?
- What do you think is the most important aspect of instructional design?
- What type of learner do you prefer to design instruction for?
- How do you work with subject matter experts?
- What is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had as an instructional designer?
- What are some of the current trends in instructional design? How do you keep up with them?
- What are some of the tools and technologies an instructional designer has to use in their job?
- Can you tell me about the difference between an instructional designer and a technical trainer?