4 answers

What are three qualities that a successful instructional designer must have?

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I aspire to become an instructional designer.
#instructional-design #education

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4 answers

Ken’s Answer

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Congratulations on being interested in becoming an instructional designer. It takes a special person to enter this field and meet the demands which this career area presents. The first step is to get to know yourself to see if you share the personality traits which make instructional designers successful. The next step is doing networking to meet and talk to and possibly shadow instructional designers to see if this is something that you really want to do, as a career area could look much different on the inside than it looks from the outside.  

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Kaydie’s Answer

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The three qualities I believe that you should should cultivate if you want to be a successful instructional designer include: respect, curiosity and flexibility.


In your job as an instructional designer you are going to be working with people front line personnel, supervisors, and executives. Often your job requires you to pull them away from their jobs. Respect them. Respect their time. Respect their perspective. Respect their expertise. Even when a subject matter expert is difficult to deal with respect the fact that they may have reason to be that way. It won't always be easy but it does make a difference. People do not always remember how they treated you but they rarely forget how you treated them. Building trust is critical to you success and that does not happen without respect.


The second quality is curiosity. Never turn down the opportunity to learn something new. Be curious about your field. Be curious about your tools and resources. Be curious about people and systems. Soak up everything you can and stay hungry for more. Take a genuine interest in whatever crosses your path. You never know when that experience, that tidbit of information or understanding is going to come in handy. Collect information, keep information, share information. Become a trusted source and an ace detective. Cultivate your curiosity and it will help you do great things.


Finally, this is one they don't tell you about in school... flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. The only thing you can really control in this work is you. Everything else is at the mercy of budget, schedules, priorities and business decision that at best you will limited input in guiding. You may be in the middle of building the greatest training program that ever existed and the whole project may be pulled out from under you and suddenly you are working with the most difficult SME in the world on the most boring topic you've ever encountered. If you cannot be flexible and adapt the sudden changes, to the frustrations of spending hours creating a perfect training plan and then having and exec you have never met wipe it out in with one phone call, you will not survive in the training industry. If you get attached to projects and lose it when you aren't able to do them your way, the way you are convince is "right" you will be miserable and your work will suffer.


Good written and verbal communication skills matter. Creativity and a the ability to understand and adult learning principle... you can't do with out those things. But if you want to be great at this, if you want to be the person people go to again and again cultivate respect, stay curious, and be flexible. That's excellence.

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George Mitchell’s Answer

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In my experience, the top 3 skills needs are:

  1. Learner Empathy - The sense that you understand where learners are coming from and that you understand what it will take to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  2. Digital Literacy - The ability to navigate technology effectively, use the internet as a tool (and not just an endless playground), and learn new software and digital skills - often by learning by doing.
  3. Communication - This is very broad, but you will need to communicate between people, translate ideas into action, and share the results of your work in ways that all involved parties will understand.

In addition to this shortlist, I encourage you read into the endless lists of skills that Instructional Designers need that are published to this website, among the other relevant articles and insights that it puts together regularly: https://elearningindustry.com/?s=instructional+design+skills


Lastly, no instructional designer has it ALL. I would encourage you take a hard look at what skills (soft and hard) that you already have and identify your strengths in comparison to the acronym ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation). If you already excel in one of these areas, leverage it toward your first job, learn by doing, and promise yourself to build your weaker skills over time.

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Fabiola’s Answer

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Ability to see other point of views, talents and limitations.

Be a quick learner.

A good translator of ideas.

A good catalyst for all members of the team - Subject Matter experts, project managers and the client.


Be humble: I worked with many Instructional Designers who could not be humble while talking to a Expert and that caused a lot of problem on the team. Experts will be protective of the material and if you show respect for that, you will go far


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