Why We Don’t Hire Instructional Designers

We’ve been growing again. Hiring new staff for the instructional design team and expanding our capabilities as our online programs are growing.

One might expect that we would favor instructional designers in our hiring process — after all, they should have the training and background to jump right into their new role and start producing good work. But that has not been a recipe for success in our experience.

Which is not to say Instructional Designers are not good at instructional design. Of course they are. But like many professions, the technical work of instructional design can be taught easily — and for that a few instructional designers can go a long way.

What an instructional design team needs is breadth. We need designers who can speak the special languages of math, and engineering, and health professions, and the arts. We need designers who can champion the needs of a discipline at the conference table, and who can work with subject matter experts to bring their ideas to the students in the most effective way possible.

We need designers that our client departments will see as “us” instead of “them.”

We can’t use pure instructional designers — we need designers who step out on ID and take up with other programs, other ideas. We need your interests to be broad, and your intellect omnivorous. Bring that to the table, and we’ve got a job for you.

So, the message there for students in ID programs is to reach beyond the specific curriculum of your program. Belong to other disciplines as much as you can. Take other coursework, follow other paths.

And if you’re an applicant who doesn’t have a degree in instructional design? You’re not at a disadvantage in our search, so make sure you show us what you can do.

(Photo “Now Hiring History and Liberal Arts Majors” by Zombieite on Flickr.”)

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