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Instructional Design: A Growing Field

According to a recent article from Forbes, automation is actually creating jobs and new roles for workers, a trend that is expected to continue and grow. "McKinsey Global Institute projects that if automation adoption is in the midpoint of a range of scenarios, about 15% of the global workforce, or 400 million workers, will be displaced by 2030. There are also another 8 – 9% of employees who will work in categories that do not yet exist today.  There will be significant reskilling of workers."

In addition, the rapid pace of technological change in the workplace means that the physical and mental requirements and tasks of many jobs change frequently and, at times, dramatically. It is critical that companies and their employees keep up with these changes.

The Business Journals reports that the number one approach private companies are taking to adjust to the skills gap in their factories, offices, studios, and shops is training or retraining their workers. To prepare their employees for the future, these companies seek out highly qualified instructional designers.

What Does an Instructional Designer Do?

Instructional Design Central defines instructional design as "the process by which learning products and experiences are designed, developed, and delivered. These learning products include online courses, instructional manuals, video tutorials, learning simulations, etc."

Instructional designers create and deliver learning products and experiences for business, for K-12 schools and higher education, and for government organizations. As architects of the learning experience, instructional designers analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate processes and tools for learning.

Increased Job Opportunities for Instructional Designers

This urgency to "reskill workers" has increased job opportunities for well-prepared instructional designers. Understanding the needs of the learner and how evolving technologies impact all education and training is the foundation of what an effective instructional designer does.

In 2017, in the United States, there were new job postings for over 7,000 instructional designers, according to a Labor Insight report from Burning Glass Technologies. In 2018, the new job postings grew to 9,659, an increase of over 36% in just one year. This trend will likely continue as technology continues to evolve and impact the workplace and education.

The wide variety of roles in instructional design and technology include positions in both education and business. Professional opportunities include:

  • Senior Instructional Designer
  • E-Learning Developer
  • Trainer
  • E-learning Project Manager, Developer
  • Blended Learning Administrator, Developer
  • Instructional Systems Developer
  • Course Developer
  • Director of Instructional Design and Training
  • Director of Training
  • Director of E-Learning
  • Instructional Technology Specialist

Pursuing a Career in Instructional Design & Technology

Whether your career goals are tied to academia or to corporate life, the field of instructional design and technology is wide open and in demand. A master's degree in this area of study will prepare you to design successful learning experiences in both academic and corporate environments.

St. Thomas University offers a fully online Master of Science in Instructional Design & Technology program that is ideal for a broad range of instructional design professionals including librarians, instructional professors, curriculum designers, corporate trainers, human resources directors, academic coaches, training developers, web trainers, marketing directors, and project management professionals.

Learn more about St. Thomas University's online Master of Science in Instructional Design & Technology program.

Related Articles

Program Testimonials


Instructional Design Central: What Is Instructional Design?

Forbes: The Upside of Automation: New Jobs, Increased Productivity and Changing Roles for Workers

The Business Journals: Private Companies Rise to Reskilling

Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insights

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