All really good teachers are quality instructional designers. And nothing has pushed that design into a virtual realm like COVID-19. While many might be new to digital instructional design, I have found three things to be key to developing that skill.
- Connect with other instructional designers. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a strong professional learning network. My group of peers is composed of educators from all over the world. My favorite place to connect with people is LinkedIn. Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter, too, but LinkedIn has proven to be the place I connect the deepest with people. It doesn’t really matter where or how you form those relationships, the point is to form them. Those become your go-to people for all kinds of questions. They can also be sounding boards and cheerleaders. The support system is necessary.
- Drive your own learning. Stagnant learners are boring teachers. The great part is that we literally have learning at our fingertips 24/7. Decide that you will do something to fuel your brain every day. It could be a five-minute blog post read over coffee, listening to a podcast on your commute, picking up a new book, or even joining in a Twitter chat. Learning is everywhere and you can apply it to what you are designing in many different ways.
- Start with the student in mind. This is probably obvious but warrants a reminder. Instructional designers, whether in front of a traditional classroom or in front of a computer screen should always practice good pedagogy. If our focus is on the student and what is best to meet all learning needs, then the instructional design stays relevant and engaging.
In reality, these three tips will help in growing in your current role or learning any new position. If you aren’t in education, replace “student” with stakeholder and the application is evident.