How to Find the Right Instructional Designers for Your Courses

LMS, News | December 10, 2020

How to Find the Right Instructional Designers for Your Courses

At its core, instructional design (ID) is the creation of instructional materials, however, there is much more to instructional design than this. Sound instructional design examines how users learn and which materials and methods will most effectively allow learners to achieve their goals.

The principles of instructional design consider how educational tools should be designed and delivered to promote maximum learner engagement, retention, and growth.

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design plays an integral client-facing and behind-the-scenes role for organizations offering learning opportunities for their employees, volunteers or customers.

Instructional designers are typically responsible for collecting, processing and analyzing data to determine if client learning objectives are effectively achieved. If an area of training does not meet previously established standards, it is typically an instructional designer’s responsibility to rework course content to ensure learners achieve the desired learning objectives.

Hiring instructional designers is a strategic process. Not all instructional designers bring the same experience to the table. Some may have lots of practice storyboarding for online training while others may have a lot of experience working in a specific industry such as the medical world or perhaps the banking field.

Sharon Casino, a TraCorp Senior Instructional Designer and Project Manager, shared an inside look at the process for hiring instructional designers.

TraCorp’s Emphasis on Top-Notch Instructional Design Skills

TraCorp believes that instructional design is an art and a science. For this reason, they look for instructional designers with a depth of skill on both sides of this equation.

Technical Skills: In addition to a resume, we require prospective instructional designers to provide a variety of examples of their skill sets: paper and animation storyboard experience, as well as writing and layout style as it relates to learning objectives and project requirements.

“This may appear trite, but we look closely at every detail of an instructional designer’s examples, right down to whether they have typos. We pride ourselves in creating documentation and products that are crisp and quality checked. Clean writing from the start is important, and it should be appropriate for the medium. Style of writing differs for storyboards of online training than for a participant guide, for example.”

~ Sharon Casino, TraCorp Senior Instructional Designer and Project Manager

Art and Science: TraCorp pays close attention to an instructional designer’s treatment of content, whether it’s for in-person, virtual or blended learning. Writing skills are essential including the language needed to support facilitators.

“We examine the way an instructional designer can blend excellent writing skills with the creativity they bring to the table. We look at the ways they support the facilitator and how they treat the content. Additionally, we staff projects with instructional designers fit for the work.”  

~ Sharon Casino, TraCorp Senior Instructional Designer and Project Manager

A Peek into TraCorp’s Process

TraCorp is clear about how they apply the instructional design process. Once they acquire a project, the project manager, instructional designer, quality control resource and media development teams work together to provide well-written, clean, effective and engaging content.

“When hiring, we ask instructional design candidates to provide samples of their prior work. We want to see detailed examples of their writing style and how they handle the written objectives of the course. So much hinges on this.”

~ Sharon Casino, TraCorp Senior Instructional Designer and Project Manager

Senior and lead instructional designers are an integral part of TraCorp’s process acting as a key contact for clients. They, along with the project manager, are the primary spokespeople to the client and are responsible for delivering to client expectations. They are also an important liaison between the client and our internal teams.

When Hiring Instructional Designers

TraCorp looks for team players and the ability to engage with clients when hiring instructional designers.

Team size matters. Because TraCorp has its own production group, Instructional designers don’t usually build final components when it comes to online learning.

“We look for team players versus people used to doing it all themselves. We bring in some very large projects and it’s essential that the Instructional Designer has the ability to work cross-functionally both internally and externally.”

~ Sharon Casino, TraCorp Senior Instructional Designer and Project Manager

Writing & learning objectives matter. As stated previously, instructional designers must have clean, crisp, and engaging writing skills, but it does not end there. The ability to work with clients to build learning objectives and sound instruction is also essential.

How Does Instructional Design Benefit Learners?

There is an adage that often used in training, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them”.

Learners want to know what they are going to learn, why, how long it will take and what skills they will acquire as a result. The lead instructional designer leads the team to formulate a design that then becomes the prescription for the materials to be created.

TraCorp’s Collaborative Process

TraCorp’s team includes project managers, instructional designers, media producers, programmers and quality assurance specialists. Your ideas are brought to life with custom designs and courseware. We meld our experience with your knowledge to create the right learning environment for your audience.

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