Have you worked with an instructional designer before? An instructional designer (ID) creates learning outcomes and builds activities that help learners master those outcomes in engaging ways.
Schools, districts, and organizations can use instructional designers to create contemporary, learner-focused professional development courses for their staff. But, before you choose your instructional designer, find one who fits your needs by asking candidates these four questions:
1. Are you familiar with the standards to which our teachers align?
You don’t want an instructional designer navigating your curricular standards for the first time. Ask your candidates to provide you with a sample of a course or unit designed using the CTE, Common Core, NCSS, or other curricular standards you use.
2. How might you take the diverse needs of learners into account in your instructional design?
A strong ID creates learning activities that engage all types of learners. When reviewing your candidates’ samples, choose the ID who offers learning activities designed for multiple intelligences and different learning styles.
3. With which learner management systems (LMS) are you familiar?
Many times, you will want your professional development courses to be accessible online. Working with learning management systems requires special skill sets, so make sure your ID is familiar with the LMS used within your school, district, or organization, such as Canvas, Moodle, or D2L.
4. Can you break down [insert concept] for me in the way you would for teachers?
Ask your potential ID to explain a concept that you feel needs to be included in the course. The answer will demonstrate his/her manner of explaining content. As you listen to the answer, consider the following questions:
● Is the content thorough and presented in an engaging way?
● Does the content meet the needs of the audience?
● Does the content present unique insights?
IDs can create dynamic, energizing professional development materials for your teachers. But, to ensure an ID is a good fit for the staff within your school, district, or organization, be sure to consider if your potential ID is familiar with your standards and LMS, and can explain concepts for all levels of learners.