I was tasked with writing a resource scan about a topic of interest in my Research in Learning Design and Technology course. I thought I would share it in my blog as it is of interest to new instructional designers.
Competencies in the Field of Instructional Design
As I am undergoing a transition into the field of instructional design, I have found myself spending much of my time learning as many skills as possible to prepare me to enter the workforce. I have heard from other budding instructional designers who share the same feeling as myself in that we feel overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and skills we must learn in order to feel comfortable entering this industry. For this resource scan, I am focusing on competencies that instructional designers must know to effectively perform the duties within their specific roles in an organization. This resource scan offers an
opportunity for me to learn more about what skills I need to focus on learning before transitioning from graduate school and into the workforce.
I used Google Scholar and the Auraria online library for this assignment. Keywords used in my search were: instructional design skills, instructional design competencies, instructional design jobs, instructional designer skills, instructional designer competencies, instructional designer jobs.
Kang, Y. & Ritzhaupt. A.D. (2015). A Job Announcement Analysis of Educational Technology Professional Positions: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Journal of Educational Technology Systems. 43(3) 231-251. DOI:10.1177/0047239515570572
This paper intends to identify the competencies of educational technologists through the analysis of job opening announcements. The authors analyzed four hundred job announcements to find over 150 competencies. Kang and Ritzhaupt conclude that educational technologists must be competent in multiple areas, specifically within instructional design, project management, technical skills, and soft skills and must be competent in working directly with stakeholders. This paper was very beneficial to me, as it gives me both broad and specific skills to focus on learning, as well as specific phrases that I could include on my resumes.
Klein, J.D. & Jun, S. (2014). Skills for Instructional Design Professionals. Performance Improvement. (53)2. DOI 10.1002/pfi.21397
The purpose of this paper was to provide an overview of research the authors conducted that identified the competencies required by instructional design professionals. Klein and Jun collected data from surveys they administered to a sample of individuals working in the instructional design field. In the survey, the authors listed 28 skills, and the participants were asked to rate the importance of each skill. The survey findings concluded that most of these skills were found to be important or very important by the respondents. The authors concluded that the results of this study are beneficial to instructional designers seeking to identify their own skills gaps and opportunities for future professional development. The results of this study were beneficial to me, as it allowed me
to identify my own skills gaps.
Larson, M.B. & Lockee, B.B. (2009). Preparing Instructional Designers for Different Career Environments: A Case Study. Educational Technology Research Development. 57, 1-24. DOI: 10.1007s11423-006.9031-4
The purpose of this article was to outline the differences between competencies found in business career environments with that of competencies found in higher education degree programs in instructional design. The authors suggest that faculty of instructional design programs should allow flexibility in degree programs to allow ID students to experience the contexts found in their future job settings. I found this article to be valuable in that it provides specific skills and competencies based on many different categories, and provides me with areas that I have identified as needing to improve upon.
Ritzhaupt, A.D. & Kumar, Swapna, K. (2015). Knowledge and Skills Needed by Instructional Designers in Higher Education. Performance Improvement Quarterly. 28(3) 51-69. DOI:10.1002/pl.21196
This article provides a qualitative approach to determining the competencies needed by instructional design professionals in that the authors interview eight instructional design professions in higher education to gain insight into their roles and the skills necessary to be successful in their careers. One downside to this article is that it focuses on higher education employees only, but most of the skills mentioned in the article can be applied tothose working in corporate settings as well.
Villachica, S.W., Marker, A. & Taylor, K. (2010). But What Do They Really Expect? Employer Perceptions of the Skills of Entry-Level Instructional Designers.International Society for Performance Improvement. 22(4) 33-51 DOI: 10.1002/plq.20067
This article focuses on the expectations that potential employers have for their entry level instructional designers. This article provides very valuable data to any entry-level instructional designer. Like the other studies I have read, it appears that the most important and coveted skill is writing learning objectives. This finding was unexpected, as I had incorrectly assumed that the most important skill was building actual learning content. As a result, I found a knowledge gap in my own list of competencies and will focus my attention on becoming more proficient at writing learning objectives.
This resource scan has afforded me a look into the specific skills necessary to become a competent instructional designer. It has provided a look into any knowledge gaps I have, and has afforded me with plenty of ideas for how I need to frame my resume and job applications using specific phrases and keywords. It was interesting to see how the research in all of these articles pointed to writing learning objectives as either the most common, or the most important competency found among instructional designers. As mentioned above, I can now focus my attention on improving these knowledge gaps
before entering the workforce.