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Instructional Designers: The Secret Agents Behind eLearning Programs

With the constant evolution of technology, one’s expectations of education adapt as well. How do educational institutions keep up with the demands of change? Hidden among teams of creative thinkers, the analyzing instructional designers (ID) take the lead. A combination of education, psychology, and communications; IDs must create the most effective teaching plans to encompass both the audience’s attention and learning objectives.

Instructional designers are the integral part of curriculum development, conferring with content experts (CE) for a wealth of knowledge on all subjects. From there, instructional designers are able to modify lengths of texts and resources into engaging and interactive features for multimedia designers (MMDs) to create. 

So, What is an Instructional Designer’s Process? 

Many instructional designers work with the content expert to plan and develop a course’s learning objectives, goals, and outcomes. Thereon, IDs receive a wealth of content that needs to be organized to the program’s objectives. They must be able to “carefully consider how students learn and what materials and methods will most effectively help individuals achieve their academic goals” (Purdue University, 2020). Keeping the learners in mind, IDs can improve content in a multitude of ways. Utilizing creative outlets, an IDs “prime focus would be on how content is organized: flow of information is sequential and smooth without losing context” (Aggarwal, 2016). They may storyboard a video, create interactive lectures with hotspots and buttons, generate a visual typography, or provide external sources. The key is to develop a curriculum with the most engaging and up to date technology. And while IDs may not create the final product, it is vitally important they know the capabilities and features of multimedia programs. IDs will generate scripts, storyboards, and blueprints for the multimedia designers to follow. 

How Does an Instructional Designer Keep Up with Technology?

Instructional design began in “World War II when hundreds of thousands needed to be taught very specific tasks in a short amount of time”(Purdue University, 2020). With the evolution of technology, IDs have become responsible for researching psychological and communicative benefits for education all while keeping in mind the targeted audience for their programs. Using Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Verbs, developed by Andrew Churches, instructional designers can refine learning objectives and goals. However, the job of an instructional designer stretches far beyond simple organizing and planning. IDs are the integral part between content-dumping to publishing interactive videos and are often asked to wear a multitude of hats including:

Not all instructional designers are asked to be involved in a project from concept to delivery, however, some may remain to the point of facilitating the subject. This multifaceted role plays a large part in the development of both online and in-class education. Yet, instructional designers span beyond education. They construct programs for governments, military, corporations, nonprofits, and more. 

Stepping Beyond the Classroom

In the ever changing world of technology, instructional designers have opportunities to develop micro-learning programs and educational videos beyond the classroom. In government, nonprofit, and corporation programs, instructional designers may be asked to create instruction or training for employee safety, volunteer training, professional development, or soft skills to name a few. The possibilities of subjects are endless and the need for learning remains the same. An important piece is the content expert. As they provide IDs with integral chunks of information, instructional designers must engineer blueprints of interactive lectures, eye-catching videos, and colorful images for multimedia designers to follow. 

In turn, without being the bridge between CEs and MMDs, programs would lack the organized flow of materials instructional designers provide and lead to disengaged audiences.

How Does BCI use Instructional Designers?

Here at Beyond Campus Innovations, IDs receive opportunities for a multitude of subjects. Working as a building bridge between content experts and project management, IDs are given the creative freedom in the construction of interactives. Prior to curriculum development, IDs attend meetings between project managers, content experts, and clients to fully capture the project’s expected outcomes and goals. By elevating content to engaging and interactive features, learners walk-away with higher memory retention. Without the precarious planning and organizing, instructional designers would have difficulties turning content into works of art.

For more information on how our instructional designers can take your program to the next level, contact us here.


Aggarwal, B. (2018, April 11). What Is the role of the instructional designer? ELearning Industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/what-role-of-the-instructional-designer

Purdue University Online. (n.d.). What do instructional designers do? Retrieved from https://online.purdue.edu/blog/what-do-instructional-designers-do

Purdue University Online. (n.d.). What is instructional design? Retrieved from https://online.purdue.edu/blog/what-is-instructional-design

Published 3/2/2020

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