With more companies creating courses for training , compliance etc., the attention is shifted to the instructional designer who has the task of putting all the raw material together to come up with a course which is not only engaging but ticks off the boxes for the learning outcomes.
So, what are some qualities an Instructional designer should possess?
I Hit the Bulls Eye, I Know My Target Audience
Knowing the target learner is crucial before anything else. The ID needs to understand what the learner does, what they need to learn and understand the best method of course delivery for this target.
Example 1: Developing a Course for Harassment in the Workplace
- Is the target audience computer literate
- What is their job skills
- Will an interactive course be beneficial
Example 2: Developing a Course on Managing a Team
- Is the target audience older managers or a young team of managers
- Are they fresh graduates or a skilled workforce
In both these examples, the ID would ask different questions to ascertain the suitability for course development for eLearning.
Lets’ have a closer look at Example 1
You ask this question because you want to determine who the target audience is? Whether they are white collar workers, blue collar workers, a mixture etc…
If the scenario is that the target audience is a group of car parts installers working on a factory floor who now have to complete a course for Compliance reasons, then you need to take into account that they may not have much time on a daily basis to have access to a computer. As such, when designing a course, you may want to still include relevant text but based on their experience of handling equipment day in and day out, it may be fun to include games or challenges which still satisfy the learning outcomes but puts the learner in a comfort zone of “ I know this”
Likewise, if this same course was designed only for upper management and senior managers, the ID may take a completely different approach and give the course a more corporate feel whilst still maintaining the learning outcomes.
Lets’ have a closer look at Example 2
You would ask these questions, because if you already have a skilled workforce, the ID may consider creating a quick refresher course to cover basics and then provide new research. However, if this course is targeted for a younger group, then there is a need to include more details in the course with more real life examples as the group may not have had that much experience managing teams.
Full Stop Missing, Yes, It is in the Detail
An Instructional designer has to be a detailed oriented person. They need to constantly review their storyboard and ensure all looks in order before course development. Post course development, before the course is sent for client review, take an extra 15-30 minutes and go through each screen to make sure it all looks good. Most times, an experienced ID will pick up most of the errors (including grammar, spelling, flow, font…) before the client does.
It is almost impossible to have 100% accuracy but if you are detailed from the beginning, then when feedback is received from the client, the turnaround time for changes are generally quicker.
Creativity Vs Over Indulgence
Whilst it is very important to be creative and imaginative and wanting to add two hundred features to the course, an Instructional designer must be able to reign it all in to ensure this is all well within the project specification and scope. Using their analytical skills, a good ID should be able to understand the content, the context of it and how to simplify it to present it in digestible portions.
Yes, I Can Communicate
Articulate, empathetic, good listener, good line of questioning, negotiator, and collaborator are some words to describe an Instructional Designer when it comes to communication. Being able to confidently articulate will allow for misconceptions to clear and create a path for open communication with the client from planning all the way to the delivery of the course.
The list goes on and on but we have highlighted some important qualities which will enable the Instructional designer, plan, develop and deliver a course the client asked for.