What design? Instructional?

Every time I meet new people, I’m curious when and how they’re going to ask me about my job and what reaction they are going to have when they hear my answer. When I started working in the field of instructional design and technology, my default answer to the above question was that – I’m a teacher. Eventually, as I grew more and more attached to what I was doing and felt I could actually explain it to people, I started saying the truth – I’m an Instructional Designer.

And this is when the fun started. Over the years, I’ve been collecting the different questions I got after people heard this answer. Here are just some of them:

So, what do you design?

Does that mean you are a teacher?

I know what interior design is, but what is instructional design about?

So, really, what is instructional design about and do we need it?There is a saying that if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there. I follow it frequently when I’m visiting a new country or meditating near the lake. However, when it comes to creating meaningful and engaging learning materials, this is probably the worst approach to take. What instructional design does is it helps us figure out the right destination as well as the best road to get there. Some people refer to Instructional Design as the science of instruction, since it relies on many theories and methods. Some think it’s an art, because the end product heavily depends on the creative ability of the designer to envision the end product and artistically use the different methods to produce it. In the end, it’s probably both. The moment you have an idea of the course you want to create, instructional design will help you implement it and ensure that your students have a great learning experience.

Why should you be concerned with instructional design? We all remember those courses that we were excited to sign up for, but when we actually came to the classroom, the only thing we wanted to do was leave. Why? The class was poorly designed. Was the material too difficult or too basic? Poor instructional design. Was the instructor/material jumping from one topic to another? Poor instructional design. Was the test in the end of the course too hard or too easy? Poor instructional design. Of course, there are other reasons as well, but poor instructional design is in the root of many of them.

Our Instructional Technology team is comprised of a number of experienced instructional designers. So here are just some ways we could help you make your course more interesting, engaging, and fun.

–       Analyze the existing materials (written or not)

–       Recommend different delivery methods based on the course requirements and logistics

–       Create prototypes and develop actual course materials

–       Create test questions that will not only check students knowledge but also stimulate final sealing of it