Instructional Designers: Assemblers or Directors?

Instructional designers are not primarily assemblers, although it might be easy to associate instructional designers with some commonly used tools (such as: captivate, storyline, sharepoint, wordpress, fabric, etc) and assume that’s all they do. These tools are great for assembling concepts, multimedia, quizzes, and more into a tangible package, but that is just one piece of an instructional designer’s job.

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Instructional Design Skills on Your Team

Creating a world-class training program, like most other big projects, is not the responsibility of a single person; it takes a team to make something great. Think about all the pieces a learner touches when they go through an effective training program—administrators, instructors, online infrastructure,  multimedia, online resources, live training, assessments, etc. Training programs are complex things made up of multimedia, processes, and design and more that require a wide array of skills.

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Job Roles in the Training Industry

Instructional Designer? LMS Administrator? Trainer? You’ve probably seen these terms in job ads or have even used them to describe yourself. If you’re just beginning in a training related profession (that’s not in a school) or interested in getting started, it can get confusing trying to describe what these different roles are and what they actually DO.

In this brief article, we’ll look at common training positions and what they entail. We’ll relate them back to 4 things a training department  must do to be effective in a modern organization:

  • Communicate knowledge to learners.
    Somebody must understand the knowledge well enough to teach others face-to-face. For most of human history this was as far as a training team department went.
  • Create learning resources.
    It turns out creating and using materials that can be distributed and shared makes training much more efficient. Technology and research have greatly improved the kinds of materials that can now be created.
  • Manage resources and records.
    Record keeping is necessary for training to become integrated with the operations and policies of an organization. The bigger the organization and the more knowledge they have to train, the more complex a task this becomes (which is why electronic Learning Management Systems have become commonplace).
  • Plan the big-picture direction of the team.
    A modern training team might be comprised of unique individuals with unique skills, but they need to be able to work towards common goals inline with the rest of the organization.

Assuming most if not all training departments are trying to accomplish these 4 things, the roles below should now make sense!

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