How We Define Instructional Design

In partnership with faculty, the role of an instructional designer is to co-create learner-centered courses and experiences. An instructional designer is a professional who is steeped in andragogy, pedagogy, learning design, assessment, the psychology of teaching and learning and more. They advise and recommend evidence-based instructional practices to serve as a bridge between the practice, science and art of learning. 

During the course design process, the instructor and the ID reflect on and assess how teaching meets learners’ needs and how to refine and enhance course design, be it face-to-face, online or in a blended format. To that end, we will ask questions and act as a sounding board for trying new instructional approaches. 

Whether you’re creating an online course or making instructional media, leveraging blended instruction or trying a new learning activity or educational technology, an instructional designer is there to support you throughout this process, from initial brainstorming to implementation. 

To have your best possible experience collaborating with an instructional designer, let’s consider what we do and do not do as instructional designers: 

What We Do

  • Focus on learner engagement and evidence-based instruction customized for your students’ needs.
  • Guide faculty through best practices and quality standards and principles in online and face-to-face course design.
  • Foster opportunities for student achievement and the transfer of knowledge beyond the course to not only earn a degree but also to have the capacity to be successful in their chosen career and discipline.
  • Use research-based design models, such as Backward Design, Learning Experience Design (LXD), the ADDIE model and other principles to assist in creating cohesive and objective-aligned learning experiences. 
  • Assist faculty in creating experiential, engaging and transferable learning experiences.
  • Help faculty decide whether or how to use instructional technology as aligned to a course’s learning outcomes and objectives.
  • Support the initial use of instructional technology in the learning environment.
  • Identify where media could be used within a course to enhance learning and assist during the media-production process.

What We Will Not Do

  • We are not instructional technologists; in other words, we do not help faculty, staff and students with ongoing instructional technology support. 
  • After the initial course design, it is essential for instructors to learn how to use the LMS independently of the instructional designer, especially for future iterations of the course. IDs are not ongoing LMS support.
  • Office support (for example, photocopying, scanning materials, printing).
  • Grading or evaluation of students in any way. 
  • General tech or IT support. 
  • We do not set deadlines or parameters for assignments.
  • We are not subject-matter experts and do not author content.
    • We do not create test banks or learning activities.
    • We do not select course materials, such as readings or web resources.
    • We do not write learning objectives; we will, however, help you write and revise specific and measurable learning objectives.

Here’s Who You Might Consult If You Have a Technology-Centered Challenge 

  • For all questions about learn.WashU, please contact the inbox.
  • The Teaching & Learning Center offers workshops and professional development about how and why one might use certain learning technologies and/or strategies from a pedagogical perspective. 
  • Olin IT should be consulted for all issues concerning personal computers, network issues, etc. 
  • AV services is there to help with any issues that arise with classroom technology (i.e., tech carts, in-class computers, in-class audio/visual equipment, lecture recording).
  • The Writing Center offers resources to help faculty think through the writing and speaking process and the teaching of writing and speaking across the curriculum. 
  • Faculty support assistants are there to provide multiple levels of support for research, LMS use, general office tasks, faculty star accounts, etc. 
  • Disability Resources (DR) provides access and equity for students with disabilities and provides faculty information as well. 

Work With an ID

Interested in working with an ID at Olin? Find out more on our Working with Us page.