How Much Does an Instructional Designer Earn Yearly?
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An instructional designer is responsible for designing, coordinating, and implementing educational material to learners in a variety of fields. The materials must meet expectations regarding satisfying learning outcomes, but they must also adhere to strict standards put in place by quality assurance boards.
Instructional designers are thought of as the architects and designers of the learning process. They can also be known as instructional technologists, curriculum designers, or learning experience designers. The job requirements change often as more individuals seek to gain knowledge through online capacities, whether through their workplace or through schools and universities.
Regardless of job location, many instructional designers have similar job duties, including consulting, designing learning materials, and recommending new methods.
An instructional designer is most often tasked with designing instructional material or overseeing the design of the material. This means a variety of things and involves many sub-tasks, including consulting with pertinent individuals. For instance, they may design learning materials for a business that needs to train their employees on new protocols.
This may involve speaking with the employees to learn their learning style, finding how much time is available to train the employees, and getting a deeper understanding from the owner of what is required. They may also need to consult additional resources to gain knowledge about a specific topic. In this case, the actual designing will involve input from the owner, employees, and various boards or committees (for instance, a safety board).
The instructional designer must consider all individuals and standards when creating their materials. Importantly, some standards must be strictly adhered to. For instance, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires that employees be trained on a number of safety topics. Instructional designers have designed a number of free materials through videos and other means that businesses can use. However, some businesses will want to consult with other instructional designers in cases where materials are outdated or irrelevant to the current learning objectives.
The actual creation of learning materials usually involves working on a computer with a variety of different programs. Learning materials may take a number of forms, including print, PowerPoint presentation, or video. Experienced instructional designers will pull from their prior resources to create material that is easy to understand and easy to administer.
Creating a presentation may involve training someone to give the presentation or giving them explicit written instructions on what to say. Individuals teaching a motorcycle training course, for example, use standardized teaching methods which need to be learned before administering the program.
Many materials nowadays need to be created for online use. Instructional designers need to be knowledgeable on how people learn online as well as how to create materials for online use. Understanding programming languages and web page creation can help many designers advance their career. For example, instructional designers tasked with creating a university standard for how online courses should be taught need to understand what will make students less likely to click through important information, and not cheat on online exams.
There are many cases where instructional designers are not actually responsible for creating new material. For instance, many teachers and professors will choose how to administer knowledge, using a variety of techniques they have learned. However, they may need assistance in designing their course as a whole, especially to meet standardized testing requirements. They might meet with a school board to recommend new tactics for teaching and provide guidance on how these new materials should be created and distributed.
Additionally, instructional designers may be responsible for assessing current levels of learning effectiveness as well as new learning techniques. This involves creating and administering surveys or observational data and analyzing the data using analytical methods. The feedback gathered from programs helps instructional designers improve their own as well as their client’s approaches to education.
Instructional designers are tasked with the creation, dissemination, and oversight of educational materials that are often given to students and work employees. Technical writers are also tasked with creation of educational materials however they tend to work in industry and generally work with non-educational materials.
Technical writers are responsible for breaking down difficult to understand information into manageable chunks. They may read technical articles and digest these for businesses to understand and implement, or write operation manuals found in consumer products.
Instructional designers may consult with technical writers or use their products in times when they need a better understanding of a topic. They may also work in collaboration on a project, where the technical writer contributes easy to understand content and the instructional designer decides how the information will be distributed.
While the vast majority of instructional designers work full time from an onsite office, there is some opportunity to work from home. As the tasks demanded of an instructional designer involve meetings, teamwork, and presentations, working from home is often not realistic. However, some positions are open that only require instructional designers to create material, which can be done from home.
Designers working at a company full-time may be able to conduct phone calls and work on a computer some days from home. However, designers should not count on the option of being able to work full-time at home.
Instructional design programs focus on teaching students a number of important, practical skills that will help them throughout their career, regardless of where they practice. The following is not an exhaustive list of what students will learn in a program.
A very few instructional designers hold a high school degree or equivalent, but many get at least a Bachelor’s degree. A four-year university program is often taught through the communications department. The program will train students to create content using film, web pages, and presentation software like PowerPoint. Students will learn the ways in which individuals learn best as well as what types of methods are best in which situations. Students may also take courses in psychology to better understand how people think.
As the job market gets more competitive, the majority of instructional designers have chosen to pursue higher education and get a Master’s degree before starting their career. A Master’s degree goes further into depth than a Bachelor’s degree program and allows students to complete larger projects that can be evaluated for feedback.
Master’s degree programs often last two years. Few students go on to receive a PhD in instructional design, however this is a possibility. This higher degree is often pursued by those wishing to teach instructional design, develop ground-breaking materials, or practice in a niche field.
Many instructional designers will not need to gain a license to work, with the exception of those working in public schools. In this case, the licensure requirements differ for each state. Most require instructional designers to gain their professional educator license by submitting an application or taking an examination.
A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university is needed in most states before applying for licensure. In some states like Illinois, it takes several months for applications to be approved so instructional designers should plan early.
Online degree programs are available for students to gain a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree fully online. All courses taught in a traditional classroom will be taught online through videos, reading material, or presentations.
Some programs, particularly Master’s programs, demand a capstone project to demonstrate their knowledge. These programs can sometimes be completed in less time than traditional programs if students choose to take classes full-time, year-round. Online courses can also be taken in hybrid formats where students take some courses online and others face-to-face in a classroom. This often allows students to gain more feedback on their work.
Students looking to teach in certain fields like public schools or universities should note that not all online programs are recognized in every state as being accredited and many do not lead directly to a teaching license. Potential students should take care in selecting a program and should contact the state’s educational board in the state they wish to work in.
Instructional Ddsigners utilize a number of specific tools that help them be successful and grow their career. Some of these tools are optional, and not all potential skills are listed here.
Different programs like PowerPoint or Prezi are crucial for creating presentation material used in education or business settings. Understanding various presentation tools and ways of creating a presentation will allow instructional designers to be flexible in their designs.
Being able to work professional video equipment is something that most instructional designers can do; however, a lack of familiarity is not an issue. Many companies will contract out to videographers to create professional videos.
Whether a laptop or desktop computer, instructional designers spend the majority of their time working behind a screen to create content and figure out how educational programs should be laid out.
While creating graphics is often contracted out to a graphic designer, instructional designers with basic knowledge of Adobe products are more versatile and often more valued within a company.
Since instructional designers are required to meet with a number of different individuals and coordinate tasks, many offices are equipped with special telephones. Instructional designers who work independently may need to utilize special conference software or programs to make this work.
Programs like SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics can be utilized to survey students in order to assess how effective an educational program is. Survey analysis tools are also crucial measurement tools. While these aren’t always necessary, they help ensure programs are meeting standards.
Becoming an instructional designer requires a wide array of knowledge and skills that will be put to the test when creating educational materials, training educators, and assessing methods. Certain personality traits will help designers excel, however many skills can be learned through educational programs.
The following is not a complete list but will give instructional designers an idea of what employers are looking for.
Becoming an instructional designer can lead individuals to gain a number of benefits.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have a category for instructional designers but looking at instructional coordinators can give a good idea of the future of instructional designers. According to BLS, the job field is expected to increase 11% in the next 10 years, which is higher than the 7% average of all occupations.
This increase is due to a number of reasons. The boom in online learning has created a large market for designers to focus their skills on the internet to improve learning modules and online degree and certificate courses. While this major shift took off several years ago, instructional designers are now tasked with evaluating and improving current methods.
Public schools are also still heavily focused on meeting state and nationally-mandated learning objectives. This gives instructional designers opportunities to improve existing teaching methods in order to increase student achievement.
Educators in public schools and universities utilize the services created by instructional designers, but they also create their own. Teachers must follow guidelines put forth by their states’ board of education as well as follow national standards to educate their students. Instructors may be found online and at public and private schools.
These professionals often oversee curriculum designers and are tasked with overseeing the broad picture of education. They may work with teachers and principals at schools to develop curriculum plans, textbooks, and set learning objectives as a whole in order to improve the education of students.
These instructors often teach students certain technical skills that can be learned in technical and certificate-based school programs. They often have different ways of teaching as many skills learned are hard skills and require hands-on learning. They may need to adhere to various standards when teaching skills that require safety considerations like welding or becoming an auto mechanic.
Individuals in this career track are tasked with creating education material that focuses specifically on educating employees through businesses. While an instructional designer may do this job as well, many specialists receive particular training in their area of expertise and hold specific knowledge regarding what standards are required.