Good Advice to Instructional Designers

Here are some of my current thoughts about my beloved profession, instructional design, I want to share with you.

Take it from me, instructional designers are a rare breed. Many are former classroom teachers who now teach in a diverse setting, for example they can speak and interpret learning into business-speak – especially return on investment (ROI).

This profession is just starting to take off, since Internet bandwidth has expanded to home use and many more of workers are telecommuting. So If you are looking for a new career, you could be riding the next economy recovery boom wave and lead with your knowledge. Take advantage of your knowledge and put it to good use.

As an instructional designer, you must be careful when you speak, write reports and do studies. Most folks don’t have a clue as to the importance of all of the elements in the design process. When you are writing reports, use the” local language”, not “training language” to make a point. If you want to do an assessment, say “I am taking a quick survey.” Most folks understand that and are not threatened by your request.

If co-workers don’t understand, don’t try and convert them, smile sweetly, nod and then go about your business doing it the “right way.” If you try and allow non-training people to rule how training is delivered, you are headed on the wrong path. You do not ask your financial advisor for medical advice, therefore if they want to let you do what you were hired to, create instruction that teaches people to solve problems and help your company be more profitable.

And finally, a pig is a pig… nothing more. As you are out in the training world you will be inundated with many new “revolutionary products”. Beware of marketing hyperbole and false “studies” conducted by paid organizations to tout a program. Also beware of “proprietary” systems that do not allow for open platforms. They are easily outdated and do not follow in the bigger picture of making learning universal, rather than exclusionary. If the product is a pig, do not pretend it is anything else and don’t let anyone force you to call it anything else!