If you’ve ever had a good teacher, you know the methods of instruction can greatly impact how well you learn. But it’s not just about the teacher. The quality of learning materials and the structure of lessons can play an important role, too. And these days, those materials and lessons often utilize technology.
Global spending on educational technology is expected to reach $252 billion by 2020.1 That’s a lot of educational tech—which means there’s a serious need for tech-savvy instructional designers capable of creating everything from online learning to technology in the classroom. But not everyone has what it takes to start or advance a career in instructional design or instructional technology. If you want to excel, you need certain traits and skills. Here’s what employers are seeking:
There’s room to improve just about everything. That’s doubly true in a field like educational technology, which has been around for a limited time. But before you can improve the technology, you must envision how it can be improved—and that takes some serious creativity.
A Love of Research
You can’t effectively design instructional technology without a deep understanding of what’s been tried before, what’s available now, and what’s technologically feasible in the future. Gaining this knowledge requires conducting plenty of research. In fact, with the rapid way in which the educational technology industry is changing, your research can’t ever stop. That’s why it’s important you enjoy doing it.
An Educational Mindset
Instructional designers don’t often participate directly in the classroom. But if your technology is being used, you are participating indirectly. This is why, to design instructional technology that works, you need the skill sets of a teacher. The more you understand about the ways people learn and how to ignite learning, the better you can design your technology.
Chances are, as an instructional designer, you’ll design lessons and programs for subjects outside your areas of expertise. This means you’ll have to spend time speaking with subject matter experts and conducting thorough research to ensure your design can effectively help teach the subject at hand. The more innately curious you are, the more likely you are to ask the right questions and find the right solutions.
Good Communication Skills
When tasked with designing instructional technology, you’ll want to meet all the goals of your client or employer. But meeting goals requires communicating effectively. If you can’t ask the right questions or provide clear reasons as to why you’ve encountered a problem or why you’ve made a design change, you’ll struggle to satisfy the demands of the people you’re working for.
The Right Degree
When seeking out instructional designers, employers often look for candidates who hold a degree in the field. That’s because instructional designers with the right degree are far more likely to have the right skills, too. So what’s the right degree? For many, it’s an MS in Instructional Design and Technology (MSIDT).
According to Walden University Program Director Dr. Mark Clauburg, “Employers of instructional designers are requiring their employees to have knowledge of specific software applications, including Adobe Creative Cloud and Captivate. We know this because it’s listed in the majority of job descriptions. As a result, Walden now provides students in the MSIDT program with access to the Creative Cloud and Adobe Captivate, and students use this industry-standard software throughout their program.”
When you choose to earn an instructional design master’s from Walden, you can gain the ability to apply theory, research, creativity, and problem-solving skills to a variety of technology applications to help reshape the way information is created, integrated, and delivered.
Unlike at many campus-based universities, online universities offer daily, hands-on exposure to advanced educational technology, giving you the opportunity to experience some of the best technology in education. Plus, online education can be a lot more convenient. When you enroll in a Walden master’s degree online program, you can complete your coursework from home and on a flexible platform that lets you choose when you attend class, which can make it possible to continue working full time while you earn your degree.
The educational technology field needs instructional designers capable of creating materials and programs that deliver outstanding educational outcomes. With an MSIDT degree, you can put yourself in position to become just such a designer.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Instructional Design and Technology degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.