Following a career change a couple of years ago (from libraries and resources management in various local authorities), I was offered a post as a trainee instructional designer with eCom Scotland. My friends would ask: ‘What does an instructional designer do?’, and I would reply: ‘I’m not sure yet…. I’ll let you know once I’ve figured it out!’
After a couple of years of learning on the job and picking people’s brains on a regular (and still ongoing!) basis, I can now say with confidence that ‘I design eLearning courses, with a view to engaging the learner and making the acquisition of knowledge and skills effective and enjoyable’.
Designing eLearning courses involves:
- Taking course content from a subject matter expert in a client organisation
- Organising, editing and coming up with ideas for presentation and interactivities to make a course accessible and engaging for the learner
- Making sure the course meets the required learning objectives
- Setting out a visual representation of the course in a storyboard (the specification document for the design and build of a course) for the client to review
- Liaising with the client over revisions until the client is happy to sign it off
- Handing the storyboard over to a multimedia designer to build the course and make it snazzy!
There’s plenty of variety day-to-day – in the course of a week I’ve usually got two or three storyboards on the go, all at different stages: I’ll be starting one from scratch for one client, revising another one following feedback or updates from another client, and putting the final touches by dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s on another before handing it over to be built.
It’s satisfying when a course gets to the build stage - my job is done then, but I do like to see how the multimedia designers take the content and ideas in the storyboard and transform them into an actual course. Being an instructional designer is interesting, stimulating and engages my brain….I enjoy what I do!