Why is the Demand for Instructional Designers so High?

In today’s fast-paced, digitally connected world, we’re never at a loss for information. In fact, we get way too much of it. We’re bombarded by it at least 16 hours a day, and information overload eats up our time at home and at work.

At home, we can react to the deluge of information however we want to, staying online during the evening or shutting off our computer to go outside for a run.

When we’re on the clock at work, we’re confined to our desks and focused on what our company wants us to do and pay attention to. There are endless emails to read. Essential systems to interact with. Complex data to make sense of. And assorted steps and actions to take throughout our workday.

Parsing all our company’s data and information can be stressful, but we’re obligated to do so because we’re getting a paycheck.

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional designers create educational and training materials used by organizations of all sizes and across every business sector and geographical location — from education to government to financial services to the hospitality industry and more.

Working in instructional design means you’ll take advantage of the latest technologies that organizations use to deliver information online, in team meetings, in company-wide “town halls” and wherever they need to communicate information quickly and creatively to their employees.

If you’re working on creating educational and training materials but want to, you could consider a program like the one we offer at University of Cincinnati Online (UC Online), the Master of Education in Instructional Design and Technology (M.Ed IDT).

Cure for Information Overload?

The headache-inducing volume of information is why more and more companies look for people who can simplify the complex, delivering information in ways that educate, inform and engage — while, at the same time, achieving the company’s goals and objectives.

If you love a good challenge, enjoy communicating and think there’s value in bringing calm to chaos, it could be time to explore the field of instructional design.

What does an Instructional Designer Do?

A quick search on LinkedIn can give you a sense of what today’s instructional designers are doing in the workforce; here’s what we found:

  • “I am an instructional designer focusing on e-learning course development and design, needs analysis, visual training aids, graphic design and video production. I have experience in the corporate world, the non-profit world and the world of live event production. My goal is to improve training materials to make solutions that are engaging, intuitive and instructional.” (This instructional designer is based in Columbus and works for a well-known restaurant chain with locations worldwide.)
  • “I employ sound instructional methodology and adult learning theory to create training programs that solve performance issues, develop skills and build knowledge by connecting learners, customers and business objectives through engaging training.” (A Phoenix-area instructional designer working in healthcare.)
  • “I collaborate with subject matter experts to create new curriculum and create and adapt existing courses for an online environment by clarifying learning objectives, sequencing of instruction, design and testing of course materials. (An instructional designer employed by a New York City-based philanthropic organization.)

Are you starting to get the picture?

Instructional designers work for all types of organizations across the U.S. and beyond — and they’re focused on helping people learn and grow and making it a compelling, enjoyable and memorable experience.

How to Gain Expertise in Instructional Design

Our brief experiment on LinkedIn included a search of open positions titled “instructional designer.” We found 10,415 instructional designer jobs listed. Finding a job in instructional design appears to be easy enough, with so many openings, but you may now be wondering what’s the best way to get experience and training to get hired.

If you’re lucky enough to already have a few instructional design-related responsibilities at work, you’re on a great path to making this area a bigger focus of your career. You could ask your manager for more responsibilities in this area or look outside your company for a position more fully focused on instructional design.

UC Online’s program helps you develop the knowledge and skills you need to be an instructional designer working on education and training programs for all types of organizations. The fully online program has a success rate of 100% job placement upon graduation. If you have an educational background, that’s great! If you don’t, that’s okay too. Our online-study students’ backgrounds are diverse, with experience in communications, general business and human resources, to name a few.

Professor Presenting Online

Explore real-world instructional designer jobs and their average salaries, ranging from $64k to $100k and higher, on UCO’s blog.

Instructional Design and Technology Courses

UC Online’s master’s in instructional design degree focuses on the design, creation, use and evaluation of high-quality instruction materials, with a focus on technology. We designed the 100% online M.Ed IDT for working adults who need a flexible program so they can attend virtual classes wherever and whenever they want — in the evenings, on the weekends or over their work lunch breaks.

In our program, you’ll learn how to create high-quality instruction for numerous industries and enjoy learning from professors who are experts in the areas of design, evaluation and the use of media and technology. (To say our professors enjoy instructional design is almost an understatement!)

You’ll work through 30 credit hours of courses expertly developed for immediate real-world application as an instructional designer, such as:

  • Multimedia Studio – This course covers the essential skills and techniques needed to create powerful multimedia products. You’ll learn fundamental design principles and explore a range of innovative technologies to generate new solutions for visual communication and multimedia representation. You’ll enjoy a dynamic interactive design space where you collaborate with fellow students, gain hands-on experience and exchange constructive feedback.
  • Universal Design for Learning – In this course, you’ll get an overview of how fundamental principles are used to design online and blended learning experiences that meet the needs of diverse learners, including those who are accelerated and those who are struggling, for whatever reason.
  • User Experience Questionnaires – In this course, you’ll learn how to create and distribute online questionnaires, how to analyze results using descriptive statistics and how to report these findings to your organization.

At the end of our master’s degree study program in its “capstone” course, you’ll get the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you gained in the design and development of an instructional design project.  Examples include:

  • Improving Online Instruction Using One-to-One Evaluations
  • Using Heuristic Evaluation to Improve the Design of a Canvas Lesson
  • Using One-to-One Evaluation to Revise a Mobile App Prototype

What’s It Like to Work in Instructional Design?

Remember the 10,000+ positions we found in our LinkedIn experiment? That doesn’t include the job postings on other sites, such as Indeed and Monster. It’s easy to see there’s a growing need for more instructional design professionals.

The abundance of job openings is fueled by several aspects occurring in the workplace. There are new technologies being introduced that make online training, learning and course distribution more accessible and enjoyable. More companies are willing to let employees work — and train and study — remotely. Also, attracting and retaining employees through professional development and training initiatives is a key driver for companies focused on offering in-demand products and services to their customers, delivered by well-trained, knowledgeable staff.

You saw from our LinkedIn research how three instructional designers describe their roles; here are specific projects you might take on when you work in this field:

  • Create material for newly hired employees that explains their company benefits (retirement plan, insurance, etc.).
  • Develop training curriculum for managers who need to improve the way they interview, hire and train new staff.
  • Produce a video course that helps students and their parents get the most from online education.
  • Design a continuing education course for a company’s call center staff to remind them about departmental policies.

Connect With an Enrollment Services Advisor Today

We hope you’re as excited as we are about instructional design and technology. It’s an exploding field and one where our graduates are finding great jobs with great pay.

Whether you set your sights on a job in corporate America or one as distance-learning educator for a school, you’ll find that what you learn in our online M.Ed IDT program will make you more well-versed in instructional design and equip you for long-term success in the field.

Your next step is as easy as a phone call or direct message to our enrollment advisor specialists. Connect online with them today or call 833-556-7600. They’re available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

When you choose UC Online’s Master’s in Instructional Design and Technology degree program, you’re making a smart choice. We’ve been focused on online education for two decades now — way before it was trendy to study online. At UC Online, you’ll be in good hands, and we look forward to meeting you and being part of your career journey in instructional design.

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