What makes a Real Instructional Designer?

Just read an interesting piece, A Reminder of What Makes a Real Writer by Chuck Wendig, and loved the accompanying infographic.

I feel quite the same about being an instructional designer.

When you find yourself wondering whether you are an instructional designer or not, ask yourself the same questions as in the infographic, just replace the term “writer” with “instructional designer” and “writing” with “enabling learning or teaching,” and you’ll find your answer.

All of us are built to be instructional designers. We landed on earth fully equipped to learn and to enable learning in others. We are all wired to teach.  The term “instructional designer” is a recent arrival on the scene of learning, but we’ve heard of awesome (and awful) teachers who existed centuries ago. The awful ones too, I am feel, were exceptional teachers when they taught an audience they knew well (for instance, their own children.) I fear, sloth may have prevented them from understanding a larger audience and leading them to be tagged as awful.

If we’ve helped people learn, we’ve designed instruction. Whether we did it consciously or subconsciously, is another matter altogether. If we’ve been paid for our teaching endeavors with a paycheck, we’ve been professional instructional designers.

But here’s the bitter pill.

Quite the way every writer isn’t a good/great writer, and all professional writers who are paid to write may not produce writing that could make their audience happy, every instructional designer may not be a good/great instructional designer. As writers must hone their writing continuously by learning not only from their mistakes but from the mistakes of others, and then they must develop their own style of writing that would enchant their audience, so must the instructional designers.

So, you see, we must expand our natural abilities to propagate learning, and to do so, we must strengthen them with deliberation and care. Yes, we are all Real Instructional Designers – but we must work upon ourselves to be Real Good Instructional Designers.

That’s all for this morning. Have a Great Day!