Becoming an Instructional Designer

Becoming an Instructional Designer

Last week, I started my new position as an instructional designer with Allen Interactions, a company on a mission to wipe out boring online learning.

With my interests in education and design, you’d think I would’ve stumbled into instructional design earlier. And in fact, I did briefly consider a career in instructional design before but shied away due to the boring e-learning courses that have become the stereotype in instructional design. I didn’t want to spend my days working on boring courses that people would dread taking, writing walls of text to throw in front of people, and utilizing the same ineffective training models again and again. Boring for them, boring for me.

Thankfully, my interpretation of the field of instructional design was a bit off, or at the least, not universally applicable. Though there will always be boring e-learning courses out there (I’m sure you’ve taken one or two), there are an increasing number of engaging, interesting, and effective e-learning courses impacting every field from sales and marketing to health and education. And that’s why I’ve joined the field.

One way that these courses are becoming more engaging is through adopting game design principles to create effective game-based learning. The term “gamification” is often thrown around in corporate meetings these days, both as a way to increase customer retention and to more effectively train internal employees.

If you think about it, using games to teach makes a lot of sense. All games aim to teach the player something or other, whether it’s how to solve a puzzle or how to make your character jump, so why not use that power to teach a real-world skill?

I already see a lot of similarities between game design and instructional design and a lot of potential for infusing game design principles into more effective e-learning. Hopefully someday soon, an employee at Company X will be itching to get out of their weekly meeting so they can get back to their desk to play the latest and greatest e-learning game we’ve developed.