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What are the Traits of a Successful Instructional Designer?

Posted by Rachel Martinez on July 17, 2018

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In this blog series, we’re drawing on the expertise of Skilljar’s very own Customer Success team. They’ve helped countless teams launch successful customer training programs, and have some great insights to share. Stay tuned for new Q&As each month!

So far, we’ve dug into what training teams overlook when launching an LMS, traits you should look for when hiring a customer trainer, and how to surface training goals across the organization. This month, the question is:

"What are the traits of a successful instructional designer?"

One of the biggest roadblocks for training teams can be content creation. It’s a huge initiative, and many teams don’t have the resources they need to build new content themselves. For this reason, they may hire an in-house instructional designer, or outsource some content creation.

Either way, it’s important to consider what success means for someone in that position. Keep the following traits in mind as you search for the right candidate:

1. Focus on user experience

The best instructional designers are subject matter experts. They may have some training experience, or at least have a strong idea of how people typically consume content.

That being said, every audience is different. Collect feedback early and often to ensure you’re teaching students what they need to learn, in the way they need to learn it. This may mean utilizing multiple modalities, including video and text lessons.

2. Effective at content iteration

It can take months to create new content from scratch. Given how time-consuming the process is, successful instructional designers often scale their programs by repurposing or expanding on existing content.

If you haven’t already done so, you may want to create a content map. What content do you already have? What still needs to be built out? Rather than designing one large course, think about how students can progress along a relevant learning path. And remember, their journey may not always be linear. Someone may jump from your knowledge center to training, then leave once they’ve found the answer to a specific question. That’s okay!

3. Understands the big picture

Most instructional designers are used to focusing on the nitty-gritty details of training programs. For instance, they may may consider specific outcomes within a SCORM module.

While this can help you gain insight into how learners absorb small chunks of information, it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture. Does the overall design of your coursework match your organization’s business objectives? How will the success of your program actually be measured? ______________________________________________________________________

In this blog series, we’re drawing on the expertise of Skilljar’s very own Customer Success team. If you have a question you’d like them to answer, let us know in the comments!

Topics: Training

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