The usual suspect, this label is most commonly given to a person who designs and develops an eCourse through and through. As we'll see in these MEET and GREET series he is a vital part of a bigger ecosystem. Usually his role starts with:
Working with the SME (Subject Matter Expert)
First and foremost, the Instructional designer must familiarize himself as much as possible with the matter that is about to be taught. Often enough this means understanding a whole new field or problem inside out. The closer the Instructional designer becomes to an expert at the matter in hand, the more relevant his contraptions will be and more fruitful his meetings with the SME. Usually the SME's time is a valuable resource that is a good idea to use in actually identifying what needs to be learned. Respect her expertise and utilize meetings to the fullest.
Next comes the developing of the objectives for the learner and ensuring the content matches these objectives. The ID defines the skills and knowledge the learner is expected to acquire at the end of the training, which guides him in developing appropriate learning experiences and lay the foundation for learner assessment. He develops objectives that should be specific, outcome-based, measurable, and describe the learner behavior. Then he refines objectives usually via the Bloom's Taxonomy framework.
Revise and rewrite content
It is equally important to distil, organize and simplify the bulk of information and wisdom that will be collected. Oftentimes instructional materials created in one format need to be adapted to another. Diving into a whole new matter is daunting and overwhelming, but extracting the most relevant chunks brings the ID halfway to victory. Sometimes he even rewrites some of the content, which is best integrity checked by the SME.
Structure content and activities
In this next step all the information and ideas start to take shape. The ID creates the structure of the eCourse and lays out the activities that the learner would go through. He takes into consideration different learning styles and uses the most appropriate instructional model amongst ADDIE, SAM and the likes.
Once the content and activities are structured it's time to assess the performance goals. It can be done in various ways, but it is a good idea to space them out and vary them as much as possible so they don't feel like a chore. This way they serve a double role – give you an idea of the result of your training and reinforce the learning.
Join us next time when we take a peek at the UX designer role and storyboarding.
Read about the first role - the one of the Front End Analyst.