Instructional Designers


Exploring this Job

While in high school, you can get firsthand experience in instructional design by designing an imaginary class or converting one of your face-to-face classes to an online format. Visit for an introduction to the field. Take an instructional design class in college to learn more and gauge your interest in pursuing a career as a designer. Talk to instructional designers about educational requirements, typical job duties, the pros and cons of the job, and other topics. Your school counselor can help arrange an information interview. Finally, check out the following resources to learn more about instructional design:    

  • Rapid eLearning:
  • E-Learning Heroes:
  • TechTrends:
  • MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching:
  • Journal of Online Learning Research:
  • Quality Matters:

The Job

There are a wide range of opinions on what the job duties of instructional designers actually entail. In fact, instructional designers wear many hats depending on their employer, their skill set, educational and professional background, and other factors. In most instances, instructional designers analyze the backgrounds of learners and their instructional needs, as well as the educational goals of the organization, to determine the best course design and presentation approach. They also work to ensure that course materials meet accessibility and quality assurance standards. Instructional designers then use instructional design theories, practices, and methods to design new or redevelop old courses and instructional materials (e.g., customer or employee training sessions, teaching manuals, student guides, and/or the entire curricula) for digital delivery (although some may also develop face-to-face classes). They create videos, podcasts, audio, and other multimedia, and use their digital design skills (or work with digital designers) to develop engaging visual interfaces for online courses.

Instructional designers work with teachers, subject-matter experts, administrators, and others to improve student or employee learning, and they provide suggestions on how technology can be used to promote better learning outcomes. They teach educators and corporate trainers how to use technology, especially as it relates to pedagogy. Instructional designers also provide support to teachers when they encounter technical problems (issues with closed-captions, graphics, etc.) or instructional challenges

Throughout the process, instructional designers evaluate the effectiveness of material by developing user surveys, assessments, and validations—and implement feedback from user reviews.