A lot of confusion exists around the term “Instructional Designer.” In many e-learning organizations, it’s a designation; but thankfully, most understand it to be a role, which it is. And yet, most recruiters aren’t able to differentiate between a content developer, a content writer, or an author. This confusion seems to be acquiring another dimension with the advent of Rapid Authoring or Rapid eLearning Development.
Generically speaking, an instructional designer is someone who uses certain concepts of cognitive psychology and frameworks of learning, to create effective learning experiences.
The confusion that I talked about in the beginning starts with the scope of “Learning Experiences.”
Note that each of the following is designed to be a learning experience:
- A textbook
- A WBT (Web-based Tutorial)
- An m-learning module
- An online course
- A corporate-training program
- An instruction manual
- A coaching session
- An educational class
And so on…
Thus, anyone who uses the concepts of cognitive psychology and the established frameworks of learning, to make any of the above effective, can be said to play the role of an instructional designer.
This also means that a textbook author, a WBT storyboard developer, an m-learning content creator, a trainer, a coach, or a teacher, can all play the role of an instructional designer.