What is an Instructional Designer?

Over the years, when people hear I am involved in corporate training, they automatically think of me as a standup trainer delivering instruction to a client audience, but that’s not my training job.  Here is how I explain what I do.

I ask, “Do you know the difference between a CPA and a bookkeeper?” A bookkeeper performs a specific set of daily tasks prepared by the CPA who thinks more strategically to create an entire accounting systems.

Just like the CPA, the instructional designer defines and creates training products at a strategic level using a systematic approach to learning. The training is created to be delivered in the classroom by a trainer (or facilitator) or online as eLearning (web-based training).

And the next question is often, “what is an instructional design system”?

Instructional design is NOT a secret formula. It is common sense applied to design, development and delivery of instruction. But all too often when an organization needs to train a bunch of people quickly they panic and instructional methodology along with good basic common sense goes out the window.

The company may be more concerned about using a new technology delivery platform or getting something done within a ridiculous timeframe and don’t want to take time or listen to sound educational reasoning.

It is incumbent upon the instructional designer to get the team to stop…. relax, and think about the fundamentals of why you are developing instruction in the first place…to teach someone how to do something new. It is that simple. Here are some time proven tips:

Don’t make it more complex than it has to be. Keep it simple!
Don’t use a lot of technical jargon, keep the dialog open to all involved.
Help others to find the beauty of simplicity of just doing what you say you are going to do, not over-promise nor agree to unreasonable expectations.
Look for the easiest, fastest, simplest solution.
I have actually been in a situation where the training steering committee was were battling over which vendor to choose to develop a CBT system (costing $5 – 10K) when we “discovered” that a well-planned printed checklist distributed by email might be more useful. Common sense prevailed before the corporate dollars were committed… you can affect the bottom line at work! Looking for new ways to deliver instruction? Consult with a Design2Train instructional designer and make it happen.