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28 March 2024

Instructional Designer? What Is It?

Most of the time, people don’t know what an instructional designer is or does. The short answer is that they design training courses for a variety of companies. Usually, this answer is enough, but perhaps it would be useful to explain in greater detail. So, in case you too are wondering, here it is…

Instructional Designer? What Is It?

Where andragogy, company training needs and technology meet.

Instructional design and andragogy have many areas of expertise and action in common, not least of which is the optimization of adult learning.

Let’s say you need to train your staff on how best to deliver outstanding customer service in your establishment. Many reasons have led you to decide e-learning was the preferred method of training delivery.

Identifying training needs

The specific role of an instructional designer is to accompany you throughout this project.

He or she will ask you many questions about what your company does, its values, and what concrete results are expected at the end of the training.

He or she will also work with you to capture the learners’ driving characteristics: who they are, what they know, what they’re lacking, what they think, what motivates them, whether they have accessibility needs, and so on.

The instructional designer completes the preliminary analysis with an in-depth understanding of the learning context of the learners: how much time they have to complete the training, what devices they use to access it, what resources are available, etc.?

Targeting learning outcomes

The instructional designer then ensures that the objectives are clear, solidly built, observable and measurable.

It must be clear what people will be able to do at the end of the training.

As the work context is not that of a school, the learning outcomes differ from those used in the school system. The focus is on actions and behaviors, although attitudinal objectives can also be used.

For example, in the case of your company, one of the objective would be: employees adapt their interactions to customer type depending on the circumstances.

Choosing the approach and activities

Depending on the project’s scope and budget, the instructional designer will suggest a pedagogical approach that integrates the visual line (provided by fellow UX/UI designers!) and supports the learning experience.

In your case, a photo or video approach to show how it’s done would be most appropriate. Interactive integration, discovery, and situational activities round out the learning experience.

Determining assessment needs

The instructional designer will work with you to determine whether you need to validate skills or knowledge of the techniques acquired at the end of the course, how the assessment should be carried out and what it should cover.

These assessments can take place online, in the form of interactive quizzes or situational activities. They can also be administered in person, by a supervisor who will assess whether a customer’s service experience with the trainee meets your company’s standards.

An optimal learning experience

Whatever options you choose, the instructional designer always has the trainee’s learning experience in mind.

Is it intuitive? Is it effective? Is it clear? Is it engaging and motivating?

Finally, online training is designed to meet the specific needs of all learners, highlighting their individual strengths and challenges. It is therefore essential to place them at the centre of the instructional design to help them perfect their knowledge and skills so they increase their productivity at work.

So, for the next online training course you want to develop, it will be the instructional designer’s pleasure and duty to bring you the best of his or her expertise!

Here is a short demo video of a customer service training that we have designed for Détail Québec, enjoy watching!

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