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What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is the practice of using an understanding of how people learn to inform decisions regarding learning sequences and strategies, to provide effective educational experiences that meet learning needs. [1]

What is an Instructional Designer?

An Instructional Designer (ID) does much more than develop learning programs.

An Instructional Designer is a learning expert who can use their knowledge of the principles of learning and instruction to support skills, knowledge and behaviour shift.

This means finding the most effective, appealing and cost-effective solutions.

An Instructional Designer analyses the capability problem or ‘gap’, the task, target audience learning needs and learning environment.

By clearly defining learning objectives, the Instructional Designer can sequence the content and choose learning strategies to meet these goals. These decisions are based on both knowledge of proven learning strategies and practical experience. [2]

What are the key skills and qualities of an exceptional Instructional Designer?

How do I become an Instructional Designer?

Unlike some industries, you don’t necessarily need a qualification or license to become an Instructional Designer. [3]

However, in order to develop effective learning programs, you should have a strong understanding of the key elements and theory that underpin the instructional design process – including how to conduct a learning needs analysis (LNA), adult learning principles and assessment strategies.

An ID course will help you to develop this knowledge and understanding.

Instructional Design Degree Qualifications

When deciding on an instructional design course that works for you, it’s important to consider the pre-requisites, location/delivery method, duration, flexibility and cost.

In addition to offering our ID courses, we’ve summarised some other online instructional design programs and the pros, cons and conditions of each, in the table below.

*Prices were checked in February 2020. Current prices may vary.

Instructional Design Program Pros Cons and conditions 

Diploma of Training Design and Development – TAE50216

  • Nationally-accredited
  • This course is an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 5 teaching qualification for vocational education and training.
  • Prerequisites:
  • Successfully completed the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment; or
  • Successfully completed another relevant qualification; or
  • Completed recent experience in the Vocational Education and training sector
  • Duration: 12 months
  •  Cost: $6000*
QUT Online

Graduate Certificate in Education (Innovative Learning Design)

  • Nationally-accredited
  • Some flexibility:
  • 6 months full time or part time equivalent
  • Start Feb, Apr, Jul or Oct
  • Prerequisites:
  • A completed recognised bachelor degree (or higher qualification) in any discipline; or
  • A completed recognised diploma in a relevant area, with at least two years (full-time or equivalent) professional experience in a relevant area; or
  • Five years (full-time or equivalent) professional experience in a relevant area
  • Cost: Over $10,000*
  • Minimum of 12 contact hours/week
Open Universities Australia

Graduate Certificate in eLearning

  • Nationally-accredited
  • Pre-requisites:
  • (a) hold a three or four year AQF Level 7 pre-service teaching qualification of a recognised University or tertiary institution; or
  • (b) hold an AQF Level 7 Bachelor degree and a one or two year AQF Level 8 or 9 pre-service teaching qualification of a recognised University; or
  • (c) hold an AQF Level 7 three year degree of a University approved by UNE; or
  • (d) satisfy UNE by means of a relevant minimum AQF Level 5 qualification* plus 5 years of relevant work experience** OR non-relevant AQF Level 5* plus 7 years of relevant work experience**
Plenty Training

TAE50216 Diploma of Training Design and Development

  • Nationally-accredited
  •  Flexible delivery options:
  • Face-to-face
  • Virtual classes
  • Cost: $2000-3000*
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Pre-requisites:
  • Students must possess the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (or equivalent).
  • It is recommended that students have access to a workplace (or simulated workplace) where they are able to undertake several activities as part of their course.


An Alternative to a Degree Qualificaton: Instructional Design Certificate Program

Why would you consider IDA’s Instructional Design PLUS certificate program as an alternative to a degree?

Here’s why:

It’s flexible in time, place and duration.

When you sign up, you will be granted immediate access to the learning materials.

Afraid of commitment? You can complete the program at your own pace – you’ll have access for 12 months! This means you can get it over and done with quickly, to fast-track your profession, or take your time, take breaks (or holidays!) whenever you like without the worry of meeting deadlines.

The program is delivered online, meaning you can complete them wherever you are at any time.


Practice as you learn.

During the course, you will go through the instructional design process step-by-step to develop your very own program!

We support you throughout.

You’ll be teamed up with one of our Senior Consultants who will review your program at key stages to provide constructive, targeted feedback.

Personalised learning.

We identify your strengths and areas for improvement to help you develop your capabilities.

We work around you.

We arrange one-on-one coaching sessions that suit your schedule.

Receive the practical tools you need.

You will receive our Instructional Design Toolkit – a set of guides and templates for each phase of our preferred instructional design model: the ADDIE Model. All of the tools you need to design, develop and evaluate your own effective learning programs!

A range of options.

Our programs vary in delivery methods, including online learning, online learning with one-on-one coaching sessions and bespoke programs for your L&D team.

It’s affordable.

You will develop an understanding of all you need to be an exceptional instructional designer and you will have lifetime access to templates with an included licence in perpetuity for an accessible price.

You’ll be awarded a Certificate.

You’ll be awarded an IDA Instructional Design Certificate on successful completion as recognition of your competency. Please note our certificate is not accredited.

To learn more about the instructional design programs we offer, click here.

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Contact Us

Instructional Design Australia (IDA) provides services to support workplace learning and change. With team members in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth IDA will enable your people to engage, learn and perform.

Contact Details

Ph: 1300 528 736

Michael Peart
Ph: 0434 075 231

Bianca Schimizzi
Ph: 0416 013 623


[1] Wagner, E. (2011). Essay: In search of the secret handshakes of ID. The Journal of Applied Instructional Design, 1(1), 33–37.

[2] Purdue University (n.d.). What Do Instructional Designers Do? Retrieved from

[3] Khan Academy (n.d.). How do you become an instructional designer? Retrieved from

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