Resources for Learning Instructional Design Skills

This is post #3 in a series about how to become an instructional designer. In particular, this post is about the instructional design skills needed to break into the field. Note that this post isn’t about technology skills and what software to learn; that’s in a separate post. This post is about free and low cost resources to gain a foundation of skills needed to start an instructional design career. Links to the rest of the series can be found at the end of this post.

I know many instructional designers were originally teachers or trainers who changed careers (just like I did). Many of the skills overlap between these fields, so it can be an easier transition than between many fields. However, just like every other field, instructional design has its own set of jargon and specialized knowledge. Even though many skills are transferable from teaching, you still have to put effort into learning skills specific to instructional design.

Resources for Learning Instructional Design Skills

What to learn about instructional design

First, get an overview of instructional design. The resources below are a good place to start.

Then, review the skills needed for instructional designers. Review job opening to see what employers expect. Check professional standards like the ATD Talent Development Capability Model and the IBSTPI Instructional Designer Competencies as benchmarks. Evaluate your current skills and identify what gaps you need to fill. If you’re learning on your own, seek out resources to address those specific gaps in your own knowledge and skills.

These skills are all useful if you’re looking for entry-level instructional design positions.

  • Instructional design models
  • Basics of learning science (how to use multimedia, create practice and assessment activities, provide feedback, engage learners, etc.)
  • Written communication (a LOT of the job is writing), especially writing for learning
  • Needs assessment
  • Learning objectives
  • Organizing and planning content
  • Storyboarding and script writing
  • Visual design principles
  • Working with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and other stakeholders
  • Project management basics
  • Accessibility

Instructional design basics and overviews

If you’re considering moving into instructional design, I think one of the best things to do is just to start reading about it. Fortunately, many free resources are available online.

Publications, webinars, and other free resources

Books about instructional design

I use affiliate links when I share books and some additional resources. It won’t cost you anything additional, but a small portion of the purchase price comes to me to help defray the cost of hosting my blog.

If you have a little budget, there are some great books available as well.

  • Saul Carliner’s Training Design Basics is a practical, comprehensive starting point. The intended audience is beginners in the field to who want to learn the process of designing workplace training from start to finish. It’s not flashy, just practical.
  • Julie Dirksen’s Design for How People Learn provides a very accessible view of research on the science of learning.
  • Cammy Bean’s The Accidental Instructional Designer is now updated for its second edition. This book is specifically geared for people who don’t have formal training in instructional design.
  • Clark and Mayer’s eLearning and the Science of Instruction is a solid overview of multimedia learning theory and the research on how to use graphics, audio, and other technology to support learning.
  • I compiled a list of 50+ Books for Instructional Designers if you are looking additional reading. That list is grouped by topic to help you find specific recommendations.

Other posts in this series

  1. What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
  2. Getting Into Instructional Design
  3. Resources for Learning Instructional Design Skills (current post)
  4. Technology Skills for Instructional Designers
  5. Professional Organizations for Instructional Designers
  6. Is Instructional Design the Right Career?

Read all my posts about Instructional Design Careers here.

Read a Spanish translation of an earlier version of this post: Habilidades de diseño instruccional

Originally published 5/31/2007 with the title “Instructional Design Skills.” Updated 2/21/2019, 3/6/2022. Revised and republished with the current title 5/2/2023.

Upcoming events

Gathering SME Stories to Craft Relevant and Engaging Scenarios. Tuesday, October 22, 3:00 PM ET.

This webinar will focus on a common sticking point in creating scenario-based learning: working with SMEs. In it, you’ll learn how to ask focused questions and techniques to probe SMEs for additional details such as mistakes and consequences. You’ll learn ways for getting “unstuck” while working with SMEs, and why it’s better to interview SMEs rather than have them write scenarios themselves. You’ll leave this session with tactics to help you get the concrete examples and stories you need from SMEs. Register for this free webinar through Training Mag Network.

BYOD: Mini Is More: Create One-Question Scenarios for Better Assessment. Thursday, November 7, 3:00 PM PST. In this hands-on session, you’ll learn how to create mini-scenarios with just one question. These mini scenarios can be used for more effective, higher-level assessment than traditional multiple-choice questions. One-question mini-scenarios can provide relevant context and measure decision-making rather than simply recall. Plus, they don’t require much additional time, effort, or resources once you learn how to write them. DevLearn, November 6-8, MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas.

BYOD: Mini Is More: Create One-Question Scenarios for Better Assessment Thursday, November 7 Register Now DevLearn 20th Anniversary Christy Tucker Learning Experience Design Consultant Syniad Learning, LLC

64 thoughts on “Resources for Learning Instructional Design Skills”

  1. Thank you for sharing the link to Patti Shank’s (2016) article in your comments. According to Shank (2016), it is important for instructional designers to know about the myths and fads related to the science behind learning. This helps us apply the right methods to our designs and lets us know what information is a waste of our time and our learner’s time.

    On the other hand, cognitive scientific studies have taught us a lot that we can apply to instructional design, so it is important that we understand how it applies to our field. According to Jensen (n.d.), instructional designers can apply the behavior-based cognitive studies to our work by understanding how to engage learners, how to help them retain information, and how to recall that information later. Jensen (n.d.) suggests that even if the cognitive science information is mis-labeled as neuroscience, we can still use the information as a guide to help us understand how to help people learn.

    Jensen, E. P. (n.d.) A Fresh Look at Brain-Based Education. Teachers.Net Gazette. Retrieved from

    Shank, P. (2016). What Do You Know: About Brian Science and Adult Learning. ATD.
    Retrieved from

    1. The Jensen article you cited is from October 2008; you don’t have to use n.d. in your citation when the date is clearly at the top of the page with the volume and issue number (plus, the date is in the URL). As you continue in your master’s program, finding the elements for citations will likely get easier. (How do I know you’re enrolled in a master’s program? Only current graduate students add APA citations in their blog comments.)

      I don’t see where Jensen talks about mis-labeling cognitive science as neuroscience. He puts cognitive science and neuroscience together under a large umbrella of “brain-based education.” One big difference between Jensen and Shank are how they define “brain-based.” Rather than an interdisciplinary umbrella term, Shank identifies “brain” as a synonym for “neuro” and treats it as dealing with the biology and physical structures of the brain. Jensen also sees more blurring between cognitive psychology and “cognitive neuroscience.”

      My own bias is toward psychology because I am currently a Ph.D. student in psychology. But even the term “psychology” is morphing into “cognitive neuroscience” because “psychology” implies a behaviorist orientation and “cognitive neuroscience” suggests a biological underpinning. For me, it’s all about the interdisciplinary nature of understanding the brain, the mind, and education.

      That said, Jensen clearly does feel that there is some role for neuroscience in informing teaching practices (which we might extend to instructional design).

      The neuroscience merely supports other disciplines, but it’s a discipline you can’t see with your naked eyes, so it’s worth reporting. Brain-based advocates should be pointing out how neuroscience parallels, supports, or leads the related sciences. But neuroscience is not a replacement science. Schools are too complex for that.

      The kind of nuance in that quote about using neuroscience in combination with other sciences isn’t what we see out there. I would be OK with it being used that way, where it’s clear what comes from neuroscience and what comes from other fields. But when people use cognitive psychology and label it neuroscience, I’m with Patti Shank: it’s a myth that we should reject.

  2. Hi Christy,

    Great content, I’m really interested in ID. You speak my learning language. I like to join the ID field, what are your thoughts on a transition from Talent Acquisition to ID? What is the best way to develop a portfolio of work? Graduate certificate or ID graduate degree?


    1. For most people, a graduate certificate will usually be enough. If you want to work in higher ed or to be a higher level manager (director of training, VP, CLO, etc.), a masters degree is likely worth the additional time and cost.

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    1. One of my big concerns is the promotion of “neuroscience” as a way to design better learning. Neuroscience is a fun buzz word, but that field hasn’t actually developed to the point where any data based on fMRI scans (actual neuroscience) helps us get better results from designing learning experiences. Any time you see someone advertise “neuroscience” related to learning, you should assume they are trying to trick you into buying something you don’t need. Sometimes what gets labeled as neuroscience is actually real cognitive psychology research, which can actually inform our work. Often what gets called “neuroscience” is just made up fluff. Based on the outline of that course, it’s a combo of pointless fluff plus some real science that the instructor mislabels as “neuroscience.”

      See Patti Shank’s writing on brain science and learning for why I’m so skeptical of this program.

      Other than the quack neuroscience course, the list of courses overall looks fine. The developer sequence is weird–I would put the basics of learning software like Captivate, Storyline, and Camtasia earlier than more advanced skills like gamification.

      My other big concern with the model is that it’s pretty much just passive video lectures. I see that there are supposed to be practice exercises, but you can’t find out anything about them from the preview. Are they just giving you quizzes, or are they giving you assignments where you create realistic products? Even if you do create a realistic product, there’s no interaction with the instructor or way to get feedback. You have to be responsible for evaluating your own work or finding someone else to evaluate it for you. If you have a good mentor to review your practice activities, or a team of people working through the courses together, that would probably work. Without that, you’re going to really have to work hard to figure out how to apply the concepts on your own.

  4. Thank you much for this post series!. I think ill try some of the books next. I tried the online content you recommend, and I find it ironic that I don’t find them very engaging, maybe I am too much of a visual learner, maybe it’s my ADD. Your posts are reader friendly, light and engaging, those sites, not so much. I found it rather painful to read.

    1. Sometimes you need to do long form reading rather than just blog posts. The online sources like Don Clark and George Siemens’ information aren’t designed to be entertaining. If you can’t get through those, you probably can’t get through the books. That also will be an obstacle to performing well as an instructional designer. When you research a topic or convert existing materials from face-to-face to online, you often have to slog through really poorly designed, dense content. You have to learn how to glean important information from sources that aren’t very engaging. If you find that impossibly difficult, I think you really need to do some self-reflection on whether or not instructional design is the right fit.

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  6. Hi there, I loved your post…
    I am an Instructional Designer, just completed my Masters in this. I belong from India. Could you tell me where does Instructional Designer fall in the category of? Like a copywriter would fall in the category of Advertising or PR or Events like a part of Mass Media job. I still can’t categorize where an Instructional Designer falls in?
    Also what all are the other names available for an Instructional designer like they are also called curriculum developer or a content developer. Can you tell me any other names for this profession? Thank You!

    1. It depends on the company. Some companies simply have separate learning and development departments that include IDs, trainers, LMS administrators, multimedia developers, etc. This most often falls under the broad umbrella of HR, although it can be elsewhere.

      Many other names are possible. Sometimes these reflect a different focus (e.g., performance consultant, elearning developer), but sometimes it really is pretty much just an instructional designer. Check out this list with job titles across L&D. Not all of these are IDs, but many of them are.

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  8. I am loving your Instructional Design series of blog posts…I have a degree in Communication Design (BFA) and have worked in tech support…I’m leaning towards Instructional Design as a combination of the two. Thank you for your information! Even if I’m reading it years later it all still feels so relevant.

    1. This series of posts is still very popular, even 8+ years later. It’s a great field to work in, and I think many people from various backgrounds explore it as a way to use some of the skills they gained in previous careers.

  9. Hi Christy,

    I have read numerous ID related blog posts within the last several months and this by far has the most comprehensive list of useful information and recommended reading materials for an aspiring instructional designer. I am currently a stay-at-home mom and have been for the past year. Prior to my decision to stay at home I was in the Learning & Development department at a major hospitality company here in Las Vegas and I enjoyed very much what I was doing but lacked the proper guidance at work to develop the professional skills in instructional design. I most recently decided on going back to school to obtain a MS in Instructional Design to continue to build this career path. There are two schools that I have looked into that fit my budget. I would like your feedbacks on them since you had hired IDs before. I need to know what hiring managers look at when they see someone with a degrees from these schools or does that even matter in the ID industry? The two schools are Boise State”s Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning and the second school is University of North Dakota’s Instructional Design and Technology.

    Also, how do I make my resume more appealing to a hiring manager if majority of my resume is hospitality focused? I have been a trainer in my organization for about 5 years however I did not officially obtain the title of a Learning & Development Specialist until my last year with the company, therefore on paper it looks like I’ve only been in this line of work for 1 year.

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply.


    1. The Boise State program is definitely the more well known of the two options. I’d never heard of the ND program until your comment, but I’ve heard multiple people talk about being happy with the Boise State program. Name recognition isn’t everything though; it’s more important to get a good fit. The Boise State program is perhaps more focused on management, so if you’re interested in that side of the field it’s a good choice.

      Do either or both of those programs help you create a portfolio? That’s one of the factors I recommend considering. Regardless of your degree, if you don’t have a portfolio showing what you can do, it doesn’t matter much. A program that helps you do realistic projects–or better yet, connects you with actual clients–is the most beneficial.

      The resume question is more complicated than I can answer here in a comment. In general, I would say you focus on describing the actual training-related work and accomplishments, regardless of the job title. It’s possible to reframe it so it’s clear that you have been working as a trainer for 5 years.

      Especially for career changers, I like the approach explained by Liz Ryan at her Human Workplace site. Many of her ebooks and services aren’t free, but you can read enough of her free articles to see if the approach fits your style. The basic idea is that your resume should tell your personal story and how you got from hospitality to training. She explains how to reframe your past experience in terms of what you learned and how it moved you forward on your journey.

      1. Christy,

        Thank you for the speedy reply. The program at Boise State definitely helps with building a portfolio, but I’m not sure about the one in ND. I have spoken to the advisor for the Boise State program and have been told that a total of at least 4 projects will be completed to add to the portfolio by the end of the program and depending on the elective courses that is chosen there could be more. I’m not looking at management immediately following graduation although I wouldn’t turn it down either if I’m recruited for it. I am currently more interested in obtaining an ID position to acquire more experience and to pay for my degree at the same time :-).

        I will read though Liz Ryan’s articles to get some insights. I value your opinion and look forward to reading more of your articles!


  10. I would LOVE to get into instructional design! I am a former teacher and at my school we had to come up with our curriculum all from scratch, so I am used to planning my own thing. Do you have any advice when it comes to sending out a resume and cover letter for a position? I want to make them seriously consider me for the position!

    1. Revise your resume to focus more on the curriculum development and less on the teaching aspect. If you’ve done any collaborative curriculum development, be sure to include that on your resume. Anything you’ve created where you weren’t the subject matter expert and had to work with someone else who was is great to highlight as well.

      If you can talk about how you’re a quick learner and give examples of how you’ve learned software on your own in the past, that can help as well.

      Beyond that, a portfolio is your best bet to demonstrate that your skills from teaching will transfer to instructional design.

      If you haven’t read my post on interview questions for teachers changing to this field, you might find that helpful as well. That points in the direction for changes to your resume and cover letter too.

  11. Christy, I am very glad that I got an opportunity to interact with you, but you absolutely misunderstood my previous post. And being professional I just wanted some valuable suggestions from the masters like you which might help me to improve my career.

  12. Thanks once again for your comments, i was going through some of the web resources online and what i have come across is “Michael Allen”. Since his books are not available in India, i need to have a PDF link to read his experience in eLearning (if you can help me on this). And for writing skills, i would be glad if you can suggest me some open website where i can directly enroll and train myself.

    1. Abir, as I stated above, I don’t know what’s available for you. I’ve suggested online courses and contacts in India. If you’re not going to read my advice, there’s really nothing more I can do for you. You’re going to have to do some of this work on your own; I can’t hold your hand every step of the way. It’s time for you to take the initiative and find these resources yourself.

      1. Christy, I am really very sorry if i have bothered you much, but the whole in office today i was going through the blogs and sites recommended by you. I am very glad and i appreciate that you responded to each one of my posts. Thank you.

        1. So you used your office resources to publicly ask me to do something illegal (provide you with a pirated copy of a book)? Maybe that’s part of why you’re having problems with your career, if you don’t understand why that might not be a great idea. It’s bad enough to do so at home with your own resources, but requesting illegal copies using your company’s resources puts them at risk too.

          I think at this point your best bet is to stop responding here and cut your losses. If you continue to respond, you’ll likely only make yourself look less professional.

  13. Thanks Christy, for your diagnostic feedback. As you recommended, I tried signing up but none of the sites belongs to India. So, i need some resources which i can access from India as well or you can suggest me any book which i can purchase and practice as a daily activity.

    Since i came from a non-writing background, i really want some effective suggestions on this to improve myself. I can understand where i stand and what i am doing. I am currently working in finance company and we create courses on loan products.

    What I wanted to explain you was I can write what is required for the product but I want to improve the quality of my writing. I really need help to bridge the gaps because i don’t want leave an impression on them that i am a GD transformed an ID.

  14. Hi,

    Christy, i started off my career as a graphic designer in a designing firm but after working a year i got an opportunity and shifted my role into instructional design. I worked as an ID for about 2 years and still working. I feel certain blockage in my work which i really need to overcome. Would request you to suggest me on the below mentioned points.

    1. I do take care of my projects sincerely and complete it as per the Org requirements, but somehow my senior ask gives me feedback of improving writings skills. Being into this ID field what can a good measure to improve on writing skills and other related stuffs?

    2. I sincerely try to concentrate on my work and always try to provide new ways of approach. But somehow i am getting satisfied with the feedback i get from my seniors. Do i really need to work on specific things. If yes, then how?

    1. Hi Abir,

      I agree with your manager that your writing skills need improvement. Based on the numerous errors in your comment above, I wouldn’t hire you as an ID (or I would plan to have someone with better writing skills review everything you wrote before any client ever saw it).

      I’m not sure where you’re located, so I don’t know what courses or educational opportunities are available to you. In the US, we have community colleges that usually offer business writing courses or remedial writing courses for fairly reasonable tuition. You might look for online writing courses via Open Sesame or ed2go. Based on your current low writing skill, I do recommend you sign up for a formal course with an actual person who can review your writing and give you feedback to help you improve.

      You may have other specific areas to work on besides writing, but focusing on the writing first is probably your best bet. The writing underlies everything else you do as an ID.

  15. Thanks for this blog. As previous commenters have said, information is clear, easy to find and really helpful. I really like the tone of your writing too – really friendly and direct. I am just starting to look at transitioning to instructional design from a writing, media and education background and this has been really informative. Thanks so much.

  16. This an amazing blog. Christy you are direct and provide valuable info unlike some blogs. i am a software trainer looking for a certificate in ID; am in Toronto, Ontario. I will keep reading ur past blogs. However if u’ve a link or institute that i could check out please inform…am looking to start course few months. Thank you!! Raz

    1. The only program I’m aware of in Canada is Athabasca University. Obviously that’s on the other side of the country from you, but they have online options.

      Some of the online certification or certificate programs in the US might also work for you. Here’s a few lists for you to review:

      Note that “certification” and “certificate” are not the same thing–certificate usually means “graduate certificate” or about half a masters degree. Certification is usually a short program, maybe a few days or weeks, through a professional organization rather than a university.

      1. Hi Christy,

        When you were hiring, especially teachers turned ID, did you prefer the certification or the certificate?

        I have earned Bachelor in psychology, 10 yrs teaching exp, 1 yr graphics/web design experience as a designer, am finishing a certificate in Adult Training, but have no experience in ID per say. I am considering a way to get my first ID job, do you have any suggestions as to whether i should get an e-learning certificate at a university, or take software Certifications if you we’re doing the hiring?

      2. Hi Vivian,

        When I was hiring, we had a firm requirement that everyone had to have a minimum bachelor’s degree in something. It didn’t matter what; we had a pretty eclectic combination of degrees in that team. Very few people we hired had any formal training in ID at all. I don’t recall anyone having a certificate or certification. Personally, I have a CTT+ certification (Certified Technical Trainer) that half the time I don’t even bother to put on my resume since no one cares.

        From more recent conversations with others in the field, I would say that graduate certificates are much more valued than short-term certifications like from Langevin or ASTD. I once in a while see people with software certifications on LinkedIn, although I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone who had one. I think most people care more about your portfolio as demonstrating your expertise using software than any certification. Actually, in general, there are plenty of people who care more about the portfolio than any formal credentials. I’d probably hire someone with no degree or certificate with a great portfolio over someone with a masters degree and several software certifications with no portfolio.

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  18. When I decided to pursue an MS in Instructional Design and Technology at Walden University, my motivation was to be able to work directly with the Teaching and Learning Technologies Coordinator (TLTC) in my school to design a needs-based training program for the staff in particular. I knew I would definitely learn new things but I am beginning to see that I underestimated what I would find.

    As I high school teacher who plans and delivers instruction, there are some useful transferable skills, however, within the last (10) weeks, I have learnt so much. I never really paid much attention to the dynamics of an organization and now with an imminent transition, which I lead from one School Management System to another, I fully appreciate the implication of change to members of the organization and I am fully aware of possible resistors. I see this so clearly implied in your post “Five Moments of Need” although not explicitly stated. Quite often, change leaders tend to forget to involve those affected by the change in the entire process and I realize that one reason why the TLTC has had challenges is the generic approach to designing training programs rather than taking it to a Subject Expert Level.

    One thing I am passionate about is differentiation in Instructional design. Looking at the different learning theories – behaviorism, constructivism and cognitivism together with some background knowledge of how the brain learns leaves me even more convinced about how this knowledge and understanding should have bearing on the work of an Instructional Designer. One thought I am still reflecting on is how best an understanding of how different age groups learn can be harnessed when designing instruction for a tertiary institution for example, where teenagers are in class with a for example 40year olds. Bates (2010) echoes my thoughts “Although we don’t have good designs or models yet for the use of web 2.0 or hybrid learning, we do have theories of learning. Why are we not applying theory more rigorously to these areas and coming up with new models based on theory that can be tested?”

    Another question that I have wondered about is whether in spite of the need to be technology proficient, it is the Instructional Designer who makes a decision or recommendations on the choice of a learning platform.

    Thank you for the wealth of information you provide. I have already connected with a few of your suggestions. One resource I have enjoyed reading is

    Ayeshat Addison
    MS IDT – Walden University

    Bates, T. (2010, June 8). The future of instructional design – or my heart belongs to ADDIE. Retrieved July 7, 2012, from

    1. I admit that I don’t personally find a whole lot of value in looking at age groups for designing. A lot of the millennial or “net gen” literature is just based on guesses and has no research support. There are cultural differences in generations, of course, but if you have a solid basis in research and theory, you don’t need the age-based snake oil. Too much of the net gen info assumes that everyone over the age of 50 learns best when sitting passively in a blank classroom being talked at endlessly–as if 50-year-olds like boring learning!

      The choice of a learning platform depends largely on the organization. Sometimes the instructional designer makes the recommendation, sometimes the final decision, and sometimes you’re just stuck with whatever the Powers That Be have chosen.

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  20. I don’t know about you, but I am overwhelmed with the amount of information on simply one subject. “Instructional Design”. It beyond comprehension the amount of information we have at our fingertips.
    Happy reading to all. If only there was a way to absorb at an incredibly faster rate……


  21. Christy,

    Thank you for your blog. I am just beginning with Instructional Design and was happy to find your site. This blog makes information easy to find and to read. I am studying ID through Walden University and was forced into the on-line world of blogging which I admit I was reluctant to do. I have worked with technology most of my adult life but the new world of technology is scary. Everything is so public and immediate that it is so easy for someone to be misunderstood. Hopefully people take time to think about what they are “saying” before actually putting their words out on these types of sites.

    In my limited knowledge of this field I do have some insights that I would like to share and get your thoughts. Part of the reason for me being scared of this technology is that people will stop interacting face to face. Human interactions are so important in our daily lives. As I was reading articles this week, one important article I read spoke about The Learning Process and that learning occurs continuously throughout a person’s lifetime. I believe this statement and in that belief I fear that since we are continuously learning what are we taking away from this technology world we live in?

    Yes it is great that we can communicate with people thousands of miles away – even “face to face” via skype and video conferencing but what about the people we are close to physically? How many of us know our neighbors? Where have all the block parties gone? Small talk has turned into no-talk. These are the things I am concerned for because we have so much to learn from each other and much of it is learned just by interactions.

    I am not saying that we should go without the technology, but somewhere we need to get away from the machines and be the human race. Human interaction is happening less and less. One area that I do see some light is when there are situations of great human tragedy. Unfortunately it takes a great disaster, like 9/11, the Haiti earthquake and now the Japan earthquake to have people get away from their technology lives and lend a hand. We have to find a way to do this without the tragedies.


  22. Thanks for all of the helpful info. about getting into ID. I have been trying to update my skills set. I am a Spec. ed teacher with a Master’s in Instructional Tech/Design. Trying to make that transition. I am a proud Cheesehead!

  23. I am interested in the field of instructional design. I am glad I found your blog. I have been trying to think of ways to transition to this career in the next four to five years. The information you posted has been helpful.

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  25. Christy (and others),
    If you had to recommend one book on ID, which would it be?
    Thank you,
    ps does wanting something as archaic as a book indicate that I am too old to move into ID? 🙂

    1. No, wanting a book doesn’t mean you’re too old for ID. There wouldn’t be so many “ID reading lists” out there if there wasn’t a need for it.

      eLearning and the Science of Instruction is one of my all-time favorite books, even if it is more about e-learning and multimedia research than purely instructional design.

      Check out Cammy Bean’s Essential Reading for Instructional Design and Gina Minks’ master’s degree reading list for more suggestions.

  26. Hi Christy,

    Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us. I am a recent graduate of a design program in Visual Communication in Sydney and I have always been inclined toward psychology and education through design. I am applying for a grad position in online training and instructional design.

    How much is this field embracing the creative thinking and visual semantics of design as a discipline?

    1. I think most instructional designers recognize the value of visuals for learning, but unfortunately don’t believe they can communicate effectively with images because “they’re not artists” or “don’t get design.” (See this #lrnchat discussion starting at about 9:30 for some examples of opinions on both sides of the argument. (My quote at 9:31:17 sums up my opinion: “I think visual literacy can be taught and improved, like other skills. You don’t have to be Picasso to communicate with visuals.”)

      Connie Malamed, the eLearning Coach has some good information on visuals. I also really like Christine Martell’s blog, including her series on Are your visuals saying what you want?

      I wish I could tell you that visual design is universally valued and respected, and that everyone invests time and effort into learning how to improve their visual skills. But I’d be lying, and you know that. But if you can combine the two, I think you’ll be bringing great expertise to the field.

      1. This is a very interesting subject. We continue to evolve the way that we work with visuals in instructional design to meet learner needs and trends in elearning. The following article is pretty insightful and relevant to the subject of your post because it comes from a graphic designer that works with instructional designers and how he has learned how visuals can motivate learners and impact the overall design of modules. Please have a look if you have time and share your thoughts.

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  28. Hi Christi,
    Thanks for your answering my query.

    I tried for few Instructional Designers positions recently, and is disappointed to know that no company is interested in keeping a fresher Instructional Designer.

    Is it because I have no certified course related to ID? Are there any distant learning courses for ID that I can do to make my resume fat?

    Please opine.

  29. Hello Christi,
    Thanks for the post. I’m an English Hons. Graduate and pursuing my MA in English through a correspondence course. I’m working as a content writer since past 1.5 years, and find ID interesting. I have sound writing skills, but no diploma or ID certified course. Can I make a career in ID straight away?

    1. I am a graphic Artist and I have no knowledge about instructional design? Can I make it or is there any way they are related or an advantage to me?

      1. Graphic design correlates closest to e-learning development rather than instructional design. If you can do multimedia development, you can find work in the e-learning field on teams where you collaborate with instructional designers. In that kind of team, instructional designers conduct the needs analysis, plan the course, and create a script or storyboard. Multimedia developers build the course based on the storyboard using Flash, HTML5, or rapid development tools. That’s the easiest connection to your current work.

        If you’re interested in writing courses, I suggest you pursue some training in instructional design, such as a graduate certificate. Although your graphic design and multimedia skills are probably better than the average instructional designer, you’re lacking the background in psychology and learning to design effective courses.

  30. Hello Christy:

    Thank you for posting this information. I am an aspiring instructional designer and found this very helpful. I look forward to future blog posting in the future.

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