Instructional Designers Are Partners, Not “Tech Support”
Instructional Designers are an integral part of the online learning experience. They bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, helping faculty to create effective and engaging online courses. However, many faculty members view Instructional Designers as “support personnel” rather than design partners. This article will explore why Instructional Designers should be viewed as partners, not just support personnel, and why they are essential to any institution offering online or hybrid courses.
What Is An Instructional Designer?
An Instructional Designer is a professional who works with faculty to design and develop effective student learning experiences. Instructional Designers use their knowledge of Instructional Design principles, pedagogy, and technology to create engaging, effective, and efficient courses. They work collaboratively with faculty to develop learning objectives, design assessments, and create learning activities aligned with those objectives.
Why Are Instructional Designers Essential To Online Learning?
Instructional Designers are essential to online learning for several reasons. First, they bring a deep understanding of Instructional Design principles. They know how to create effective and engaging learning experiences that meet the needs of diverse learners. They can help faculty design courses aligned with learning objectives and provide guidance on how to design assessments that measure what students have learned.
Second, Instructional Designers are experts in educational technology. They are familiar with the latest tools and platforms used in online learning and can help faculty select and use those tools effectively. They can provide guidance on how to use Learning Management Systems (LMSs), discussion forums, and other online tools to create engaging and interactive learning experiences. Finally, Instructional Designers are skilled collaborators. They work closely with faculty to understand their needs and goals and provide support throughout the course design process. They can help faculty navigate the complexities of online course design and delivery and provide guidance on how to engage students and foster a sense of community in the online environment.
Why Should Instructional Designers Be Viewed As Partners, Not As Support Personnel?
Despite their expertise and essential role in online learning, Instructional Designers are often viewed as “support personnel” rather than partners in the design process. This can create a power dynamic that is counterproductive to effective collaboration. Here are a few reasons why Instructional Designers should be viewed as partners, not just support personnel:
- Instructional Designers bring valuable expertise to the table
They are more than just there to provide technical support or troubleshoot problems. They are experts in Instructional Design, pedagogy, and technology and can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the course design process.
- Instructional Designers are collaborators, not order-takers
They work closely with faculty to understand their needs and goals and provide support throughout the course design process. They can offer ideas and suggestions based on their expertise, but they also listen to faculty and work collaboratively to design courses that meet their needs and goals.
- Instructional Designers are invested in the success of the course
They are not simply there to provide a service and move on. They want the course to be successful and engaging for students, and they are committed to working with faculty to achieve those goals.
- Instructional Designers can help faculty save time and energy
By working with an Instructional Designer, faculty can focus on their content and teaching while the Instructional Designer handles the technical details and course design. This can help faculty to be more productive and effective in their teaching.
How Can Institutions Ensure That Instructional Designers Are Viewed As Partners?
While the benefits of viewing Instructional Designers as partners are clear, it can be challenging to shift the perception of Instructional Designers as support personnel. Here are a few strategies that institutions can use to ensure that Instructional Designers are viewed as partners:
- Foster a culture of collaboration
Institutions can foster a culture of collaboration by promoting teamwork and open communication. Encourage faculty to work closely with Instructional Designers and make sure that they have a seat at the table in discussions about course design and delivery.
- Provide professional development opportunities
Institutions can provide professional development opportunities for faculty and Instructional Designers to enhance their skills and knowledge in Instructional Design, pedagogy, and technology. This can foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
- Recognize the value of Instructional Designers
Institutions can recognize the value of Instructional Designers by providing them with appropriate compensation, professional development opportunities, and a clear career path. This can attract and retain top talent in the field.
- Involve Instructional Designers in decision-making processes
Institutions can involve Instructional Designers in decision-making processes related to course design, delivery, and technology. This helps ensure Instructional Designers have a voice in important decisions affecting their work.
Instructional Designers are essential to any institution offering online or hybrid courses. They bring valuable expertise in Instructional Design, pedagogy, and technology, and they can help faculty to create engaging and effective learning experiences for students. To maximize the benefits of working with Instructional Designers, institutions must view them as partners, not just support personnel. By fostering a culture of collaboration, providing professional development opportunities, recognizing the value of Instructional Designers, and involving them in decision-making processes, institutions can ensure that Instructional Designers are valued and essential members of their teams.