Instructional design is a discipline of education that deals with the development of instructional materials for students from children to adults. This field combines educational concepts with psychological study and creative communication to supplement in-person instruction in engaging and practical ways. Instructional designers do more than just create textbooks and handouts—they observe how people learn and craft effective suites of curriculum that hold the learner's attention. You'll find instructional designers at work in various areas from textbook publishing to app and website design to virtual learning modules. Instructional designers put teaching theories to work in multiple forms of media.
Although instructional design has been around for generations, the rapid growth of the online sphere of learning has heightened the need for good design in the world of education. From preschoolers learning their ABCs to adults continuing their quest for knowledge, the need for compelling educational material is more evident than ever. Instructional designers help create the materials that engage students and make learning stick. If you have a creative bent and a passion to help others grow in their skills and knowledge, you can benefit from learning and applying the principles of instructional design.
Instructional design is a worthwhile field of study for you if you're passionate about education but don't want to work in a classroom. With a degree or specialization in instructional design, you can help write and develop textbooks or other materials that supplement learning in the classroom. You can develop websites and multimedia curriculum for educational companies. If you want to work in a local school system, you can work side by side with administrators designing lesson plans and instructional calendars. You can even work at your own pace as a consultant with various educational institutions.
If you're just starting out learning instructional design, online courses on Coursera can help you understand and apply the foundational concepts of instructional design, learning and instructional theories, and analysis activities involved in instructional design. You also have the opportunity to discover specific subjects like designing infographics, digital storytelling, and using multimedia to teach English as a second language. You can find out how to make sure online education is accessible and inclusive for all learners and learn strategies for instructing in the virtual classroom environment as well.
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