The Role of an Instructional Designer

If I have to learn something new, I always look for some video tutorials. I prefer interactive online tutorials to plain text based manuals. I am sure the same must be the case with you. Now this art of designing web-based / CD based tutorial training material is called Instructional Designing. The one who develops such e-learning material is called an Instructional Designer.

An Instructional Designer might be required to develop both technical and non-technical courses. In large organizations a team of Instructional Designers might develop online training programs for the staff. The prime objective of e-learning courses is to make learning interesting. So instructional designers do not just write. They actually visualize and think. They think of different ways to make a subject interesting to the learner.

You can think of becoming an Instructional Designer if you:

  • Are Creative
  • Have good visualization skills
  • Look for innovation
  • Think out of the box
  • Have good language skills
  • Have an eye for detail
  • Have good comprehension skills
  • Have good communication skills

An Instructional Designer’s role is similar to that of a film maker. The only difference is that a film maker directs the movie and the Instructional Designer directs the e-learning course.The role of an Instructional Designer though the e-learning development cycle is as follows:


This is the first phase. Here the Instructional Designer interacts with the client and gathers the requirements for the e-learning course. He/she gets answers for some vital questions such as:

  • Why does the client need the course?
  • Do they have any classroom training program in place? If so what are the pitfalls of the current training program?
  • How will the e-learning course help the learners in their jobs?

This helps the Instructional Designer decipher the learning gap and the training needs.


After getting all required information, the Instructional Designer documents this information got from the client in the Analysis and Design document. The content outline and the proposed strategy/theme, the kind of interactivities that will be used for the e-learning course is also mentioned in the Analysis and Design document.


In the development stage, the Instructional Designer interacts with the SME and creates a prototype of the course called the Storyboard. The Storyboard is most often done in MS Word or PowerPoint. In the Storyboard the Instructional Designer lays out the whole course slide by slide. Each slide in a Storyboard has text, images/animations/interactivities. The Instructional Designer adds notes to the programmers to explain to him/her the kind of image/animation/ interactivity required.


After the Storyboard has been approved by the reviewers and client, the graphic designers take charge. The Instructional Designer closely interacts with the graphic designers to make sure that what has been visualized is implemented right.


After the course is digitized, the Instructional Designer does a thorough testing to check if all is working fine. The testing stage is crucial because the Instructional Designer needs to check for many things such as language, consistence, clarity, functionalities etc.

Watch out my forthcoming posts to learn more about Instructional Designing.


7 Responses

  1. That was an excellent, well defined role of an instructional designer for an layman to understand. Good keep writing more on this.

  2. very good notes….thanx for sharing them with us

  3. Nice summary of the ADDIE model. My situation is a little different; we’re such a small group that we don’t have graphic designers or programmers. As IDs, we do everything, including the implementation.

    From your list of skills, I think I would add something about understanding how people learn. Granted, this is something that you can learn primarily on the job, especially if you dedicate time to reading blogs and other online resources. There’s so much information freely available that it’s easy to find places to learn about learning. I do think that’s a central skill though. Whatever learning theory you follow (cognitivism, constructivism, etc.) will guide your decisions in designing courses.

  4. hey, that is gud summation of ADDIE model, I work as an instruction designer too..but I am sad India is not yet awake to course design….Most of the clients for my company are still Us, Malaysian corporates and universities…
    Indians easily confuse ID with content writer or technical writer…

  5. Very clear and brief!!

  6. I would like to know who is the creator of the ADDIE model? thank q.

  7. Am not sure who created the ADDIE model. If anyone else knows, pls share the info 🙂

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