Transitioning from Educator to Instructional Designer

Concept map of 52 skills involved in uploading a podcast
Hierarchical Skills Analysis of How to Upload a Podcast

ID encompasses a wide array of research-based or innovative activities to improve human performance and learning, products, processes, and overall return on investments.  Moreover, ID includes the use of research and theory, common sense as practice, which is sometimes better provided from an outside source unfamiliar with the situation.  Instructional designers work closely with organizations and subject matter experts to solve problems, determine needs, improve outcomes, and/or find opportunities through systematic analysis and a model-based approach.

I’ll have to transition from the mindset of education and training as the solution to organizational problems.  It will be a major shift to let go of Teacherrogers.  I’ve already started posting ID graduate student projects onto my blog and included a category.  However, my online moniker as Teacherrogers will have to change.  Otherwise, companies will still look at me as an educator and not a instructional designer, that is of course, if I take a job outside of the educational arena.

Of course, some skills will transfer.  For example, all of the solutions that I created to  make my job easier to teach or share my instruction with other educators are called job aids.  Job aids are used by instructional designers to make employees’ jobs, organizational processes, or outcomes (sells, outreach, training) easier.  Examples are checklists, arrays, FAQs, and integrated smart systems that are available in time of need (or error) like the Microsoft Paperclip guy in MSWord.

Instructional designers work in all types of environments, not just education. Fortunately, I have experience working in the business and nonprofit arenas; therefore, the transition is not too difficult.  I enjoy problem-solving and generally have been the go-to-girl for solutions since my earlier work in the Peace Corps.  Employers have often considered my PC experience as an ability to make  something out of nothing, fire from sticks.  My other strength is in learning the language and culture , and I’m not referring to a foreign one.  I’ve been diligently acquiring the new language and systematic processes that come with ID: problem analysis, needs assessments, human performance technology/improvement, ID theories and models, and job aids.

Author: teacherrogers

Content developer, instructional designer, trainer, and researcher

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