Instructional Design

Good day everyone,

I am fairly new to the industry with only a year under my belt but I am super excited about my future in the field of e-learning. I've been researching different courses, ranging from certificate to Masters level,that would further assist me with my career as an Instructional designer but I am left feeling frustrated.

I'm not sure of the path to excellence.. Where do I start? I want to pursue a career in Instructional design but in South Africa I cannot find a certificate or diploma program. 

Can anyone assist me with an online distance course that I can complete that would assist me with my career plan, climbing the ladder to becoming a fully fledged ID. I have done courses on Coursera ( MOOC) but I still feel like I need something solid that will look great on paper, making me more employable and offering me the theoretical experience I'm so eagerly searching for.  

2 Replies
Jennifer Valley

I've been doing a bit of research to find out what I need for a "path of excellence" as well.  Most colleges and universities don't offer Certificates or Diploma unless your Undergrad or taking a Masters which I find ridiculous. Here's a list (U.S. only sorry) to get you started  http://theelearningcoach.com/resources/instructional-design-programs/. The rule of thumb that i've heard is a Bachelor's degree in Business, Marketing, Communication, Education or IT can get you in the door for most places. I was lucky in finding a job starting out that only required an Associates but I was also paid next to nothing for three years as I accumulated time in the field.

You could start self learning...  Join a webinar, watch a youtube video or read an article!  The eLearning 101 series https://community.articulate.com/hubs/e-learning-101 on here is a great place to get started. You could also check out CommLab India http://www.commlabindia.com/resources/webinar/ and Connie Malamed http://theelearningcoach.com/. They have (had) whole series dedicated to getting an ID up and running.  Being and sounding educated like using terms and knowing models specific to the profession will help.

You could start a blog which could help you learn terms, theories and practices. It also show cases your writing skills and can help get your face/brand out to potential employers. It helped me.

You can also create a portfolio which will help with employment opportunities because they can see tangiable examples. A great portfolio sometimes beats formal education. There's lots of resources on here that can help you pick the who, what, when, where and why of making a portfolio.

I don't know if IPSI or ATD offer seminars and conferences in South Africa but it might be a good thing to look into. I'm pretty sure ATD is international but I don't know the specific counties. Along the lines of expensive options is getting a membership to one of the larger Associations because then you'll have access to all their resources and be able to include your membership on your resume. They also offer non education (college, university) based certificates but they are expensive.  Here's one for example https://www.td.org/Education/Programs/E-Learning-Instructional-Design-Certificate.

I haven't seen much pop up on Coursera or Udemy either. Most people want you to pay for their program which sucks for people trying to learn. I wish I had the time and resources to dive into that task because I think it's a much needed gap in offerings.

These of course are my own opinions but I hope they're helpful :) I'm anxious to see what others have to say.

Adele Sommers

Hello, Tanya!

To complement Jennifer's excellent list, I'll include a few more options that I've been posting on similar E-Learning Heroes threads. 

I recently discovered an article listing the "Most Popular Free Online Courses For eLearning Professionals." You can sign up for a free account to view the article, which lists 10 online courses offered by universities, Udemy, Coursera, and other platforms on topics such as:

  • Fundamentals of Online Education
  • E-Learning and Digital Cultures
  • Introduction to Instructional Systems Design
  • The ABCs of Instructional Design
  • Gamification

As Jennifer astutely pointed out, developing your skills also requires lots of practice. One way to gain proficiency is to create samples for your own eLearning portfolio. For example, many people submit entries to David Anderson's Weekly eLearning Challenges. 

Another way is to simply create a few eLearning modules or courses using your own ideas and intellectual property. This has worked very well for me, since I'm normally rather restricted by non-disclosure agreements and other constraints associated with using client projects as work samples.

In any case, I wish you the very best of luck with your career development!

Kindest regards,
Adele