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Ever wondered about the connections between teaching and instructional design?

Both worlds involve crafting, delivering, and ensuring educational content success. However, they also have significant differences that pique the interest of teachers considering a leap into instructional design.

So, what’s the scoop on instructional design?

It’s the creative process of developing learning materials and experiences that truly engage learners and create impact. Think of it as the magic behind the scenes, involving tasks like uncovering learning needs, designing innovative solutions, crafting materials and measuring program effectiveness. Instructional designers are the architects of education, working their magic across diverse settings, from traditional face-to-face to eLearning, corporate training to higher education.

Why go from instructing to designing?

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Embrace the freedom of working remotely or as a digital nomad

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Enjoy flexible hours that fit your lifestyle

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Explore the versatility of freelancing or collaborating in a team

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Channel your creativity and problem-solving abilities into designing effective learning experiences

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Say goodbye to monotony - every project requires curiosity and new thinking

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Make a meaningful impact by helping others to learn and grow

Constantly expand your knowledge and skills in a dynamic role

Join a thriving industry, where your new skills are in demand!
(21.7% projected job growth in 5 years (Seek, 2023))

How to successfully go from teaching to instructional design

Step 1: Learn the theories and principles of instructional design

Study learning theories including behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism, Merrill’s instructional design principles, and instructional design methodologies like ADDIE (Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate). Your ability to apply your current teaching techniques to the field of instructional design will be aided by this understanding.

Step 2: Develop relevant skills

Pursuing a certificate in instructional design is a strategic step toward honing essential skills and enhancing your professional marketability. With competencies in eLearning authoring tools like Articulate 360, consulting skills, multimedia production, graphic design and project management in high demand, instructional designers are well-positioned for success.

These skills are attainable through structured online courses, interactive workshops and real-world experience.

You have a universe of online programs at your fingertips, offering the flexibility to learn while you earn. This is your education on your terms.

Learn more

Step 3: Create a portfolio

Ready to turn heads in the world of instructional design? Your portfolio is your passport to showcasing your skills. Think of it as your professional highlight reel, packed with your crispest lesson plans, most interactive eLearning modules, and eye-catching multimedia creations. Begin by polishing up your current work to mirror the gold standards of design. Or, why not lend your magic to a nonprofit? It’s not just about giving back; it’s about crafting a collection of work that speaks volumes to your future boss. Let’s get you not just noticed, but remembered.

Step 4: Network and apply for jobs

Build a LinkedIn profile and network with other instructional design experts to discover job prospects. Apply for job ads on Seek and contact instructional design agencies explaining the value you’d bring to their team.

Bring it all together – highlight the recent instructional design training you’ve completed, the knowledge and skills you’ve developed and showcase your portfolio to demonstrate your capabilities. Make sure you mention your teaching experience and how it relates to instructional design.

Interested in becoming an instructional designer?

We offer flexible, self-paced, online courses on instructional design. Instructional Design PLUS is our most popular, which offers three 90-minute one-on-one coaching and feedback sessions with a Senior Instructional Designer.

We are always looking for talented Instructional Designers to join our ever-growing team. Work with us!


Let’s break it down. Teaching is the art of delivering knowledge, often in a classroom setting, engaging directly with learners. Instructional design, on the flip side, is the craft behind the scenes — it’s about creating learning programs and materials that teachers, facilitators or trainers use to guide their students. It involves understanding learning needs, curating content, and applying design principles to ensure information sticks. So, while teachers are the stars on stage, instructional designers are the scriptwriters, ensuring every lesson has the potential to be a hit.

Switching from teacher to instructional designer? Start by leveraging your educational expertise! Dive into learning design theories, familiarise yourself with eLearning software and build a solid portfolio showcasing your curriculum development skills. Network with industry pros and consider a certificate in instructional design to validate your skills. This transition is all about reshaping your teaching knowledge into designing impactful learning experiences.

Breaking into instructional design can seem daunting, but with the right approach, it’s absolutely within your reach! Begin by upskilling with online courses in popular eLearning tools and instructional design principles. Build a robust portfolio to showcase your work. Networking is your golden ticket—connect with industry insiders through forums and LinkedIn. And remember, every expert was once a beginner, so patience and persistence are your best friends on this journey.

Teachers eyeing instructional design need a unique skill set! It’s about blending educational expertise with tech savvy, mastering eLearning tools like Rise 360. A good grasp of design thinking and an ability to analyse learning needs are must-haves. Teachers should also be adept at crafting measurable learning outcomes and developing content that resonates with diverse audiences. Strong project management skills will keep your course development on track.

Instructional design is the big picture – a systematic approach to creating entire learning experiences, often for diverse audiences and various mediums and delivery methods (think face-to-face, eLearning, virtual, on-the-job). It dives deep, from analysing learners’ needs to assessing outcomes. Lesson planning, on the other hand, zooms in on individual classroom sessions, detailing activities and resources for specific lessons. Think of instructional design as crafting the whole learning journey, while lesson planning maps out individual pit stops. So, while they’re related, they operate on different scales.

Instructional strategies and teaching methods — two sides of the educational coin, but not quite the same. Instructional strategies are the overarching plans, the blueprints for learning, addressing how to deliver content for maximum impact. They’re about selecting the right mix of activities, technology, and assessments to hit diverse learning goals. Teaching methods, though, are the individual techniques used in the classroom — think group discussions, lectures, or hands-on experiments. They’re the tools in a teacher’s kit that bring an instructional strategy to life. It’s strategy vs. execution, the game plan versus the play!

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