The Need for Instructional Design

As online education continues to grow, so does the demand for Instructional Designers. Online education is a new realm for many educators and Instructional Designers help bridge the gap on best practices and the abilities of the online classroom. Dan Berrett of The Chronicle of Higher Education recently highlighted Rolando R. Garza, an Instructional Designer from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. The article highlights the growth of online education and subsequently the growth of Instructional Designers.

  • Percentage of colleges that say online courses are crucial to long-term strategy
    • 2002: 49%
    • 2015: 63%
  • Percentage of college students taking at least one online course
    • 2002: 9.6%
    • 2014: 28%
  • Members of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (Instructional Designers)
    • 2006: 1646 members
    • 2016: 2490 members

Instructional Designers are often seen as a method to help faculty “…translate their in-person courses to be offered online” however more is required of Instructional designers then the conversion of face-to-face materials to an online environment. Instructional Designer require “…technical ability, design skills, pedagogical knowledge, and a deft interpersonal touch.” The Instructional Designer must highlight best practices and strategies, while understanding that the educator is the subject matter expert. The Instructional Designer must blend the vast expertise of the educator with current best practice trends.

One crucial aspect that is highlighted in the article is that Instructional Designer knowledge does not only cover online education, “Colleges are increasingly using instructional designers to improve the quality of teaching, whether in online, in-person, or hybrid courses.” An Instructional Designer can provide the technical knowhow to move face-to-face materials online, however they can also help with envisioning new methods of engagement and assessment in any educational medium.

Read the full article The Chronicle of Higher Education

Berrett, Dan (2016, February). ‘Instructional Design: Demand grows for a new breed of academic’. Retrieved from