Instructional Designer

Create the books, guides, and educational materials Teachers need.
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Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$33,000 – $93,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Instructional Designers do?

An Instructional Designer puts together the pieces of learning puzzles so students can more clearly see the final picture (the “pieces” being different lessons, learning aids, and media, and the “final picture” being knowledge). That’s because Instructional Designers understand that teaching a class takes more than just dumping the pieces out on the floor; it requires actually putting them together, too.

As an Instructional Designer, you complete the “final picture” by designing educational materials — including software programs, online learning modules, workbooks, textbooks, etc. — for schools, colleges, software companies, and educational publishers. Although you’re not a Teacher, you play a critical role in the classroom. You decide what to teach and how to teach it, usually relying on an instructional design theory known as the ADDIE — Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate — process.

While Instructional Developers are usually in charge of the second “D,” and Teachers the “IE,” you’re in charge of the “AD.” First, you “analyze” the needs of students and the content that’s being taught, collaborating with Educators and subject matter experts in order to establish realistic learning objectives for students. Then, you “design” instructional materials, outlining what content will be presented, as well as in what order, in what format (for example, lectures, tests, activities), and with what media (for example, text, video, audio). Your goal is to present educational content in such a way that the intended audience will achieve the learning objectives.

Whether you’re designing materials for kindergartners or adult learners, you’re basically an Educational Psychologist, using your knowledge of cognitive functions to create learning that’s absorbed quickly and completely like fuel by a wick!

Should I be an Instructional Designer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • Also known as: Instructional Systems Designer

    How to become an Instructional Designer

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Instructional Designer-related education!
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