How to Break Into Instructional Design

Instructional Design Courses


Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

If you are a business owner or corporate leader, you may think that your business is not running as smoothly as you want, or do you want to change your direction and vision? Well, this is not an easy job, and it may seem daunting at first. A change of direction can require a significant amount of training and reskilling of your employees to achieve the new business direction or vision. They might have grown accustomed to your current business process, and so it can take a really long time to make them switch to new ones.

Perhaps you are an educator or a teacher wanting to jump from education to corporate training.  The first mistake many professional educators make is that thinking that adult learning and corporate training is the same as teaching in a school or higher education institution. 

So, what should you do? Where should you start? Well, if you are a leader or business owner you might start with developing new training programs and courses for your employees so that they can quickly adapt to the change in direction. If you are a teacher or educator you might join a Facebook group with professional educators in your situation. 

Regardless of your current profession, we welcome you to the world of Instructional Design! Read till the end and find out how to break into this world. This guide help while you go through that major change in your business or career. Be sure to turn back to it whenever you’re stuck and not sure how to proceed further.

Why Instructional Design?

There is an ever-growing need for Instructional Designers in the world today, and this is starting to become a very lucrative career on its own. But don’t worry, as you can now become a competent Instructional Designer yourself. Once you develop the required skills, not only can you train your own employees effectively, but you can also provide services to other professionals such as life coaches, entrepreneurs, psychiatrists, real estate coaches, or people who are mentors for others.

Here are some advantages of effective Instructional Design for your business:

  • Effective designs can simplify learning by shortening the learning processes. They may incorporate more visuals and graphics that are imprinted on the minds of the program’s participants. Visuals make it much easier to understand and remember data.
  • Instructional design can improve your overall business metrics. Very few organizations align their learning and development strategies with their business goals. According to the Brandon Hall Group, organizations that align their business goals with their learning strategy are at least 40% more likely to see increases in key business metrics.
  • Effective and engaging training programs can also allow you to foster leaders from within the organization itself. It is much better to hire internally for top positions as your employees are already aware of how our business works.
  • You can save a massive amount of costs as you won’t need to hire expensive external trainers. Becoming an Instructional Designer yourself will be fruitful as you can make use of all your existing resources without being dependent on anyone else.

Where to Start?

Now that you’re fully aware of the benefits of Instructional Design, the next question that comes to your mind is where should I start?

First, understand what Instructional Design is. Instructional Design is the creation of engaging and effective learning processes for various participants and providing them with a complete learning experience. It also involves seeking assistance from other fields such as education, psychology, and content marketing. Key processes from these fields are merged to form face-to-face instructor-led training, virtual learning and eLearning programs.  

You also need to understand the difference between a teaching or facilitation and an Instructional Designer. Well, that’s easy. Consider a stage drama. The actors are the teachers/facilitators who interact with their students/participants directly. While an Instructional designer primarily works backstage to provide the teachers, facilitators and corporate trainers with effective material and programs to deliver.

Here are three key steps to take to kickstart your journey into Instructional Design:

1.      Learn the Instructional Design Theories

Without the knowledge of adult learning principles and theories, you will limit your potential to create workshops, virtual training programs and courses that work. There are a few Instructional Design theories that you might know in order to break into the field. We are mentioning a few here, but it is always advisable to go to ID9 Intelligent Design’s website and complete a course in Instructional Design, so you know the theories thoroughly.

Firstly some ancient, and perhaps considered for many, outdated theories which include:

  • The ADDIE Model – It covers all aspects of Instructional Design. These include Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. This model was developed in the 1960s and no longer meets the needs of the modern learner.
  • Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction – This theory of Instructional Intervention was again developed in the 1960s. It’s still taught at some universities but like ADDIE provides some indication of ‘what to do’ rather than ‘how to do it’
  • Kirkpatrick’s Model of Evaluation – Suggests four levels of determining the effectiveness of a training program, Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results. Donald Kirkpatrick (1924-2014) was a giant in the workplace learning and development field, widely known for creating the four-level model of learning evaluation. Evidence however contradicts this creation myth and points to Raymond Katzell, a distinguished industrial-organizational psychologist, as the true originator. Many corporate training functions are now moving to data-driving learning analytics systems powered by AI and machine learning.

Some of the more recent research that is particularly powerful and useful for modern corporate training and learning and development professionals includes:

  • Constructivism. Originated by Dewey, Paiget and Vgotsky this approach has stood the test of time since the 1960s and 1970s and is as relevant today as it was when they published it.  Based on solid neural brain research, Constructivism recognizes that learning participants construct new knowledge and understanding based on what they already know.  This is an essential theory for all instructional designers and learning professionals to apply to their learning design.
  • Mattiske’s High Performance Learning Model focused on learning motivation and learning support as the key drivers to learning application. By incorporating learning motivators, before, during and after the workshop or training course and by including internal and external key stakeholders to support the participants learning pathway, high-performance learning application will result.
  • ID9 Intelligent Design. A Learning Design System (LDS) that meets you at any stage of your individual or organizational learning designer needs. ID9 is the result of deep and thorough research, combined with practical know-how. The ID9 system’s unique approach to training design maximizes high-performance learning, while its tools and processes will transform the way learning experiences are created.
  • Mayer’s Principles of Multimedia Learning – These mainly focus on eLearning through multimedia technology. This is an essential check-list for all involved with eLearning development. Learn more about these principles here.


2.      Gather the Technical Skills

After you study the Instructional Design theories, you need to gather some technical skills too. You cannot expect to do everything manually using a pen and paper in this modern age of technology. There is a growing need for learning various tools and software. The same is the case with Instructional Design Technologies. There are plenty of options of software for you to learn. There are basic ones such as Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Google Suite, but they won’t allow you to improve your training programs and are in no way a toolkit of ready-to-use instructional design templates and AI-Driven or Learning Analytics software. Learn technology that’s effective and will revolutionize your corporate learning programs.

Visit our website id9intelligentdesign.com and browse through our exclusive products that will cater to your Instructional Design needs.

3.      Join a professional association

Working alone is too hard!  Join an international network of learning and development professionals, corporate trainers, professional speakers, facilitators, coaches and mentors who can collaborate with you to create and deliver training and learning programs that deliver results.

These associations serve diverse topics within the corporate training industry, including instructional design, performance improvement, and learning and development. Most focus on furthering the skills and knowledge of professionals or improving an organization’s position in the industry.

Our suggestions for membership based professional training associations across the world include:

American Management AssociationAMAUSA
Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD)ATDUSA
Federal Government Distance Learning AssociationFGDLAUSA
International Association for Continuing Education and TrainingIACETUSA
International Society for Performance ImprovementISPIUSA
ISA-The Assoication for Learning ProvidersISAUSA
LTEN – Life Sciences Trainers and Educators NetworkLTENUSA
National Staff Development Training AssociationNSDTAUSA
Society for Human Resource ManagementSHRMUSA
The eLearning Guild USA
United States Distance Learning AssociationUSDLAUSA
Institute of Training and Occupational LearningiTOLUnited Kingdom
Chinese Training and Development AssociationCSTDTaiwan, R.O.C.
Philippine Society of Training and DevelopmentPSTDPhilippines
Pakistan Society for Training & DevelopmentPSTDPakistan
Indian Society For Training And DevelopmentISTDIndia
European Association of Development Research and Training InstitutesEADIGermany
Canadian Society for Training and DevelopmentCSTDCanada
European Transport Training AssociationEuroTraBelgium
Bangladesh Society for Training & Development BSTDBangladesh
Bahrain Society for Training & Development Bahrain
Australian Institute of Training and Development AITDAustralia

3.      Take Action

All the adult learning theories, technology and software, and professional associations are of no use if you just learn them and don’t take any action after that. Implement them in your organization and use a quality instructional design system to make engaging workshops, training programs and courses using the best technology out there!

The Bottom Line

Now you know how to break into the field of Instructional Design. The ID9 Intelligent Design system incorporates 50+ adult learning theories and the ID9 toolkit is more than 80 tools, templates and forms to help you to create winning training programs.  

Check it out on our website and also look at the rest of our solutions