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Intro to Instructional Design

One thing about the pandemic - I've never seen so much mention of instructional design in the workplace or in social media circles. Watching teachers consider instructional design as an alternate to post-pandemic teaching has been fascinating as well. This was a jump I made about 15 years ago when I realized teaching wasn't really for me. Even then, I didn't fully leave the field and I reentered it several times over the past decade, but I've kept a pretty steady set of freelance clients over the last decade.

Instructional Design as I See it

One thing I've watched with interest is the evolution of instructional design and e-learning. I see many people learning Storyline and working to get portfolios set up wondering what step I've missed! This is how I've defined ID in the past fifteen years:

  • Intake interview on training or learning needs

  • Review of existing content

  • Interviews with SMEs

  • Developing a training sequence

  • Developing a storyboard for learning

Working in e-Learning Design

After completing ID documents, I almost always turned it over to an e-learning designer to make learning actually come alive! But over the past five or six years, I've dabbled in e-learning design a bit myself. Mostly to keep up with the times! But I have to admit, it's pretty fun to get to work on the end product of learning.

Do you need an instructional designer?

The short answer is yes! An instructional designer can be the difference between beautifully designed training and a comprehensive training program. An instructional designer can work full-scale projects and should continue to work with you after the launch of your training to ensure that it meets your objectives and to refine your program as needed.


Ask any potential instructional designer what data they track to ensure a successful training program.

What to do before meeting with an ID:

  1. Define your training problem

  2. Identify expected outcomes of the training program

  3. Understanding how long of a training you need

Don't worry! If you don't know the answers to these questions, an experience instructional designer should be able to answer them for you! If you let an ID know that you feel that you have training gaps, they should be able to ask the questions needed to develop a project scope and outcomes for you!

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