In sorting out competencies for an instructional designer I turned to opinion leaders to see what they had to say. Instead of clarifying the picture they muddied it up more!
One of the most influential in the field is the eLearning coach Connie Malamed. She opened a discussion about the 10 qualities that an ID should have on her blog. Here is a list of them:
The successful instructional designer should:
- Conceptually and intuitively understand how people learn.
- Know how to connect with an audience on an emotional level.
- Be capable of imagining oneself as the learner/audience member.
- Be obsessed with learning everything.
- Brainstorm creative treatments and innovative instructional strategies.
- Visualize instructional graphics, the user interface, interactions and the finished product.
- Write effective copy, instructional text, audio scripts and video scripts.
- Meld minds with Subject Matter Experts and team members.
- Know the capabilities of eLearning development tools and software.
- Understand related fields—usability and experience design, information design, communications and new technologies.
Of course this list contains things that aren’t qualities, rather techniques. Such as number 5: Brainstorm creative treatment. It seems more like ideas that flew off the top of her head while blogging.
The ID community responded with a list of 35 areas. Instead of taking up 3 pages with the details, here are the main headings:
- Competently Work with SMEs
- Design and Develop Effective and Creative Content
- Have a Passion for Learning
- Develop Business Savvy
- Strive for Personal Growth
Meanwhile, when we turn to advice from an HR prospective of what to qualities an ID should have to be hired it is a different list that focuses on experience:
- Industry Experience
- Minimum Five Years of
- Industry Accreditation
- Knows of (and Uses) Leading Technology
From another perspective, Sumeet Moghe from Thoughtworks Technologies has a blog The Learning Generalist that takes another view point, passion. He lists the 4 passions that an ID should have in these areas:
- The Passion for Embracing Constraints
- The Passion for Simplicity
- The Passion for Learning
- The Passion for Excellence
- Possess interdisciplinary knowledge, cross-cultural competency, as well as commitment and passion for learning and technology.
- Have a background in education, a critical attitude, and clear learning objectives.
- Conduct thorough research, boast good analytical skillsand the ability to synthesizeinformation from various sources.
- Effectively communicateboth visually and verbally, be a good listener and create measurable objectives, based on the audience’s needs. This requires the successful identification of the learners’ general characteristics.
- Create content with information that can be used and applied in the real worldand especially within the audience’s professional field, always in cooperation with SMEs, professionals and team members.
- Select the right instructional media, and write effective copies, texts, audio and video scripts. This requires thorough media knowledge.
- Focus on the expected outcomes, based on the audience’s prior skills, experience, expectations and needs, and design a course based on the available technology, budget and time.
- Be an effectual project manager, able to develop the right instructional strategyand the appropriate structure, with pre-class activities, presentations, learners participation, practice problems, case studies, and evaluations.
- Be a successful, flexible and resourceful problem solver, able to tackle with any kind of setback and obstacle.
- Be able to create effective and fair assessment methodsthat foster the learners’ development by providing opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of the learning goals.
Of course Justin Ferrimins 9 Essential Instructional Design Skills deals more with the roles that an ID takes:
- Problem Solver
- Project Manager
- Media Expert
Finally, The instructional design teacher Danielle Slatinsky gives her opinion of good personality traits for an ID as:
- Eager to learn.
To sort this out I pasted these lists into Wordle to find the words used most often. What is the result? To be more like Susan!
Oh, this refers to Susan Guest, an ID at Cheveron and frequent blog contributor. I removed her name and set the filter for 30 words and voila:
Conclusion of this experiment: an instructional designer should have passion, be creative, focus on learning, be effective and have experience.
Wow, it does resemble Susan!