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.
Free Online Resources
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.
- Articulate has collected a number of posts on Practical Instructional Design Basics for those getting started.
- Of course, blogs by instructional designers can be an excellent resource as well. I have a list of 35+ ID and Elearning blogs to get you started.
- 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.
Books plus an App
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.
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.
Online Courses and Graduate Programs
edX offers an instructional design “micromasters” program. It’s four online courses. You can take them for free or pay for verified credit.
Open Learning has a free online course on instructional design that includes some solid foundation content and a guided process for creating a project. A paid certification is available too (although the certification probably won’t be heavily weighted by employers, you might want it just to have a formal credential).
If you want a graduate certificate or masters degree, Connie Malamed (the eLearning Coach) maintains a list of US instructional design programs. Many of these can be completed completely online.
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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Post last updated 10/17/17