Instructional Design and Characteristics of Effective IDs

a professional engaged in instructional design

The instructional design process takes information from a subject matter expert and transforms it into curriculum with measurable results. An effective instructional designer (ID) creates dynamic instruction that meets the diverse needs of specific learner groups. IDs who create engaging curriculum share similar characteristics. Below are the top five characteristics you can expect to find in effective IDs.

  • Knowledge of learning theories

An effective ID is knowledgeable of learning theories and employs those theories to meet the course objectives. This knowledge helps to make the appropriate design decisions. The ID stays on top of current research and communicates the importance of this research to the team.


  • Advocate for the learner

Each individual learner group has its own needs and will take different approaches to the course material. In the analysis phase, the ID identifies the specific needs of the learner group to create a learner profile. The learner profile is used throughout the development process. The ID then gathers the information from the subject matter expert and ensures that it meets the needs of various learning styles and/or multiple intelligences. With this information, the ID must then create well-scaffolded activities to combat these differences.

  • Team player

The instructional design process involves a lot of moving parts and different team members such as graphic designers, subject matter experts, web developers, and project managers. In order to ensure that the needs of learners are met in each step, the ID must work together with the team. A collaborative process in which each team member has a voice will help keep the project on track and maintain quality.

  • Innovative thinker

Effective IDs always challenge themselves to think of new ways to tackle a problem.This innovative way of thinking can lead to new and exciting ways for learners to engage with the material and receive feedback.

  • Excellent Communicator

IDs often work with content out of their realm of expertise. The ID must find a way to breakdown complex subjects in a way that is applicable for all levels. Dynamic communication occurs when the ID:

  • Understands the goals of the project
  • Considers the needs of the learners
  • Breaks a complex concept down into manageable parts
  • Incorporates feedback throughout the development

An ID plays a significant role in the curriculum development process. In order for an ID to be effective, it is essential that he/she have a solid background in learning theories and learner advocacy, support the team, think in new ways, and communicate complex concepts. Hiring the right ID is key to creating a successful curriculum development team.

Who is A Pass?

A Pass Educational Group, LLC is an organization dedicated to the development of quality educational resources. We partner with publishers, K-12 schools, higher ed institutions, corporations, and other educational stakeholders to create custom quality content. Have questions?

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