Instructional designers study the ways people learn and teach, and use technology and multimedia tools to design effective and efficient learning environments and activities.
Instructional designers work on development teams that may include editors, technical writers, programmers, subject matter experts, copyright officers, digital media technologists, graphic designers and other instructional designers. For more information, see the Editor, Graphic Designer, Technical Writer and Web Designer occupational profiles.
Instructional design (also known as Instructional Systems Design) is often based on 5 phases of development known as the ADDIE model: analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate. Other models may be used, depending on the instructional environment.
Duties may vary depending on whether instructional designers work for an educational or other type of organization. But in general, instructional designers:
- Work with subject matter experts (SMEs) or content experts to identify learning goals, content and assessments
- Develop instructional objectives and ensure that content, learning activities and assessments match those objectives
- Identify the type and level of learning and select appropriate instructional strategies to elicit and support learning
- Structure content and activities for student learning
- Identify sequencing strategies
- Identify and select media to support learning (for example, visual aids for face-to-face learners, video conferencing and online discussion forums for distance learners)
- Develop learner assessments and evaluate course materials
- Adapt instructional materials created for one format to another format (for example, adapt materials developed for face-to-face learning to online learning)