What the heck is an instructional designer? – Part 1

Being thrown back into the job hunting market has made me acutely aware of the fact that nobody understands what I do.  Methinks it’s time for an intro to my world and what it is I actually do.  I do not design software.  I do not fix computers.  I do not produce marketing materials.  And I am not restricted to only working in the industry of my last job (healthcare).

I am an instructional designer.  What exactly does that mean?  I get a lot of blank stares and misinterpretations about my profession.  First question posed to me: So, you are like an architect/interior designer?  Half the time it’s architect, the other half it’s interior designer.  Not so much.

On being an ID: A cautionary tale

I am an instructional designer. I am a multimedia developer. I have my Master’s degree in Instructional Design & Technology and have been working in the field for five years. I’ve seen plenty of learning examples, from paper to CBT to rapid e-learning and everything in between. I think I have a pretty good sense of what works stylistically and from a UX point of view. I have a fairly good grasp of the technology and the theory behind instructional design. With that being said, it’s hard sometimes not to be a little smug and sit on top of my Vygotskian throne dispensing wisdom to the inept SMEs who cross my path. “You want to do THAT? Oh, well, {insert choice learning theory here} states you should do THIS…”, or “we tried that approach 4 years ago and they didn’t get it” (as if it is the exact same approach with the exact same learners, tools, time frame, etc.).

NC State Parks Gettin’ Their Tech On

Welcome to North CarolinaI recently came across an August edition of The Steward, a paper publication of the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.  I enjoy hiking and checking out state parks, so I started perusing it.  To my happy surprise I found two great examples of technology implementation.  The first was the addition of Quick Response (QR) codes by the state parks system on all of their park brochures.  When you scan the QR code with your smartphone you are directed to the park system’s website and specific information about that particular park.  How cool is that?  The article also mentioned the future possibilities of including QR codes on wayside exhibits and trail markers as well.