This is post #3 in a series about how to become an instructional designer. Links to the rest of the series can be found at the end of this post.
In my experience, most instructional designers were originally teachers or trainers who changed careers (just like I did). Many of the skills overlap between these fields, so it can be a pretty easy transition. However, just like every other field, instructional design has its own set of jargon and specialized knowledge.
If you’re considering moving into instructional design, I think one of the best things to do is just to start reading about it. Fortunately, many free resources are available online.
- George Siemens wrote a short overview of instructional design in e-learning with a list of instructional design models. This is a good place to start.
- Don Clark has a great introduction to Instructional Systems Design (ISD) and ADDIE, the most common instructional design model. This is actually the site I used when I was first trying to move into instructional design.
- Over 1000 sites have been tagged “instructionaldesign” on delicious. (Update 11/17/09: Although it was only a little over 1000 when I wrote this post in 2007, as of today more than 10,000 sites with this tag. Sites tagged instructionaldesign on Diigo also give you another way to discover good resources. Update 5/20/12: Currently Delicious shows about 6500 links tagged instructional design; the reduced number is probably due to people who didn’t convert their accounts when Delicious changed owners.)
- (Update 6/13/12) Jane Bozarth’s 10-Minute Instructional Design Degree has some great tips to keep in mind.
If you have a little budget, there are some great books available as well.
- Start with Julie Dirksen’s Design for How People Learn, a great foundation and very accessible.
- Cammy Bean’s list of essential reading for instructional designers has lots of good suggestions.
- Tim Curry created an extensive reading list, followed by a his top four choices.
Of course, blogs by instructional designers can be a big resource as well. This is something I have only really started to take advantage of myself in the past 6 months or so, but it does really help to hear what other people in the field are discussing. However, most of my feed subscriptions are from educators or trainers rather than actual instructional designers. Here’s a couple to get you started. Check out my blogroll and my Google Shared items for more related topics.
- Big Dog, Little Dog (Don Clark)
Focused on learning and performance
- Design for Learning (Natalie Kilkenny)
I had the pleasure of working with Natalie at a previous job. She posts sporadically now, but there’s good content in the archives.
- eLearning Technology (Tony Karrer)
Tony is not an instructional designer, but he writes about developing e-learning and does talk about instructional design.
After looking through my list of subscriptions, I realized that I don’t actually have that many purely instructional design blogs. If you have some suggestions, please add them in the comments!
Update 2/26/08: Since I wrote this, I’ve gotten to know several other instructional designers through their blogs. Here’s a few more suggestions:
- Learning Visions (Cammy Bean)
Cammy’s an instructional design manager and reflective practitioner with a lot of great thoughts.
- In The Middle of the Curve (Wendy Wickham)
Wendy does everything from the design to the face-to-face training, and I’ve learned a lot from reading her posts.
- Making Change (Cathy Moore)
Cathy is a terrific writer with great ideas for making instructional design engaging.
Update 8/2/11: Here is a larger list of instructional design and e-learning blogs I read. I’ve expanded my reading horizons quite a bit in the last four years.
Other Posts in this Series
- What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
- Getting Into Instructional Design
- Instructional Design Skills (current post)
- Technology Skills
- Professional Organizations and Career Options
- Is instructional design the right career?
Update: Read all my posts about Instructional Design Careers here.
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