What Should You Look for When Commissioning an Instructional Designer?

By August 28, 2014eLearning Solutions

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 11.34.33 AM

As manager of the technical writing department, you’ve been tasked with producing your company’s first eLearning effort. Your team spends hours writing regulatory drivel such as “do not iron clothing while wearing it” or “don’t place beverages in CD player,” so they enthusiastically tackle the assignment with crisp scripts. Unfortunately, they fall short in producing quality graphics and video. Tasking people with projects that far exceed their current skill set produces predictable results—disastrous.

Past deadline and in a panic, you consider commissioning the first instructional designer you can find with free time. That’s not a plan; that’s an emergency gone even further awry, so you reconsider. Follow along as we explore three important considerations to help you find the right designer.

Thinking Outside the Box

You can’t know what designer or team is best for your eLearning project until a reputable vendor analyzes your goals within the constraints of your time frame, budget, in-house resources, etc. The analysis determines the best format for presenting and measuring the effectiveness of your eLearning system and the proper avenue for aftercare. Thinking outside the box often provides unlikely but effective solutions. That’s what seasoned instructional designers routinely provide.

The Best Fit for You

Look for vendors who employ designers and developers across a range of disciplines and learning management systems who can develop a course within the framework of ADDIE or SAM as well as produce mLearning for on-the-go training or real-time answers while performing a task. No one designer can deliver it all, so it’s important to have an expert field from which to choose. In addition to the proper skill set, you want a designer with a familiarity with your field who can remain true to your brand and corporate culture.

Onshoring Rediscovered

Offshoring was all the rage in communication and documentation—back in the last century. Today’s forward-looking businesses realize the distinct advantages of onshoring. It’s difficult to manage a team halfway round the world that works while you sleep. Quality control is even more difficult to control. The initial savings sounds good, but the cost of tweaking after-the-fact often exceed the savings.

Amateur designers can’t deliver the creative solutions today’s workplace demands. Until you can cultivate and nurture your own team of experts with a rich skill set, look to trusted vendors to fill your needs with quality designers.