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.
- Jane Bozarth’s 10-Minute Instructional Design Degree has some great tips to keep in mind.
- This directory of Instructional Design Models isn’t light reading and perhaps not the best place to start for an absolute beginner. However, it’s one of the most extensive online resources on these models I’ve found.
- My list of bookmarks tagged instructionaldesign contain a wide range of resources. I also have a shorter list of resources for new IDs, including reading lists and information about starting in this field.
For slightly more than free ($2.99), the Instructional Design Guru app for iPhone and Android is essentially a mobile glossary of almost 500 terms related to ID. If you’re constantly looking up jargon while you read up on the field, this will save you time. (Updated 3/2/16)
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.
- My list of 12+ Books for Instructional Designers is the next place I recommend.
- 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. Here’s a couple to get you started.
- Big Dog, Little Dog (Don Clark)
Focused on learning and performance
- 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.
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?
Read all my posts about Instructional Design Careers here.
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