Top 3 Instructional Design Interview Tips

You’ve been hunting for an Instructional Design gig and have finally secured an interview – congratulations! Here are some of my top Instructional Design interview tips – I hope they help, and be sure to comment below if you have any other questions.

Note: I’ve been a panel member on hiring committees for many Instructional Designers throughout my career, so these tips come based on things I’ve learned from interviewing others as well as interviewing for positions myself.

1.Be Able to Talk the Talk (and back it up)

Having a formal background in education (e.g., Bachelor of Education, Masters of Education, or diploma/certificate related to Instructional Design) doesn’t hurt and will definitely provide you with a leg up on other applicants who are without such education, but it’s not necessary. Many Instructional Designers are accidental and have become successful in their roles through on-the-job training. If that’s you’re situation, don’t let that deter you from applying to positions!

The key here, regardless of your education, is to be able to talk the talk, and back it up. What do I mean by that? Most Instructional Design interviews I’ve been a part of ask questions related to learning theories, Instructional Design processes, and instructional strategies. These are things that as an Instructional Designer you will use daily, but likely subconsciously, so before you head into an interview, brush up on things like:

  • Blooms Taxonomy
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Behaviourism/Cognitivism/Constructivism
  • Rapid Prototyping/Storyboarding
  • How you work through Instructional Design projects (step-by-step)

If you’re new to Instructional Design or need to brush up on the theory, check out Essentials of Instructional Design, a 10-module comprehensive course covering the end-to-end process of Instructional Design.

2.Have a Portfolio

I’ve been beating a dead horse for YEARS about the necessity of having a portfolio. Even if you don’t do much in terms of development, you can showcase different elements of your Instructional Design career, such as storyboards, graphics, etc. If you do development, showcase samples of projects you’ve built out. Very few interviewees I’ve encountered have had a prepared portfolio ready to go, and most roles I’ve encountered now request one.

A portfolio will definitely boost your chances of securing a gig, because you’re not just talking about things you’ve done, you’re showing them! You’re providing proof that you’re an exceptional Instructional Designer, and that you’re not just fluffing yourself up.

I won’t drone on about portfolios, but if you want to learn more, check out some of my previous posts:

2.Do Some Research!

This could be research related to Instructional Design or just the organization or institution you’re interviewing at. I’ve been floored by interviewees you can’t answer basic questions (or even muster trying to answer the questions) about the organization/institution or why they want to work for the organization/institution. Coming in for any role unprepared really doesn’t do yourself any favours. Some applicants will be able to answer these questions (to the best of their abilities) and it will make them look more desirable than those who come unprepared.

In terms of Instructional Design, I would recommend also researching some recent studies or industry articles so that you’re familiar with things that are going on in the industry and/or are more familiar with current terminology (especially important if you’re applying for your next Instructional Design role after working within the same role for many years).

Privacy and Student Data

As I drove to work earlier this month, I heard a story on CBC Radio from a parent who refused to sign a consent form for their child to use Google Classrooms in their school. They had privacy concerns and were upset that there was no alternative considered for those who may not sign the consent form. In this scenario, the student was able to complete their work, using Google Classrooms, signed in as the teacher – obviously not ideal.

The parent is also from British Columbia, so as I researched the article further and realized this, I understood some of their concerns. In Canada, British Columbia and Nova Scotia have some of the strictest privacy regulations when it comes to storing student data. In most cases, the data must be stored within Canada; however, in this scenario Google Classrooms information was being stored in the United States.

I understand the concern for privacy, but my reservations are here:

  • How valuable is the data of K-12 students (this situation)? I’m sure someone well-versed in data analytics might be able to explain this to me. I admittedly am ignorant in thinking “how will that student’s book report become monetized or valued otherwise?”
  • With all of the skimmed through and accepted privacy policies for everything we interact with online, I feel as though education is a smaller fish to fry in terms of sharing information. Am I wrong?
  • Where will we be 10-20 years from now if we refuse to allow our children to access valuable resources within the classroom?

I pushed all of this aside for a few weeks, and then last night I ran into this interesting Educause article, Setting the Table: Responsible Use of Student Data in Higher Education, and it got me thinking about student data again. This article is related to student data use in higher education, so it’s a bit different than the concerns discussed in the CBC article, and the article is written from an American lens, so I’m confident there would be further implications related to student data use in Canada (at least in British Columbia and Nova Scotia).

In any event, the Educause article discussed a project aimed at generating a set of principles “that might frame institutional policies on the use of student data in the digital era.” (Kurzweil & Stevens, 2018) The article further discussed innovative ways institutions are using student data, such as admissions, enrolment management, and to enhance overall student performance. From their research, four main tenets emerged:

  1. Shared Understanding
  2. Transparency
  3. Informed Improvement
  4. Open Futures

These tenets are meant to guide the responsible use of student data across institutions, which is great. However, I’m still left thinking that there is a lot to do in terms of institutional policies with regard to use of student data, and I still don’t think the framing principles respond to the concerns of vigilant K-12 parents.

Basically, I’m confused. How do institutions move forward and ensure student data is protected and that privacy regulations are respected, while attempting to leverage innovative technologies that may increase student engagement, performance, and overall satisfaction? If you have any insight, please leave a comment, because all I have are questions upon questions.

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about Instructional Design, I have a 10-module comprehensive course (Essentials of Instructional Design) launching over at Sprout E-Learning on July 13th. You can save $150 on this course until June 29th.

Check it out on Sprout E-Learning!

If you’re on the fence, be sure to check out the Course Outline and Course Brochure!

Instructional Design – A Mythical Unicorn?

When I meet new people and they ask me what I do, I tell them I’m an Instructional Designer, and it’s usually met with very confused looks. Very few people I’ve encountered know what Instructional Design is – heck, I didn’t even know what Instructional Design was at one point!

Most Instructional Designers I know still don’t have a concise explanation for what it is that they do. When I was working on military contracts, I used to say “I develop aircraft maintenance training.”…and when people found out that I didn’t have a military or aircraft maintenance background, they were immediately concerned.

Now, my typical jokey response is “I make training suck less.” My realistic response is “I use instructional design principles and theories to develop and deliver effective training.” The jokey response is typically better understood from those outside of the industry.

As I mentioned previously, when I first started my career in Instructional Design, I didn’t know what the heck Instructional Design was, and I spent a long time developing myself, learning, and practicing the theories and principles.

I’ve since determined that I want to spread the gospel of Instructional Design, and I know there are many aspiring Instructional Designers out there, or individuals working as Instructional Designers who are just trying to figure it all out like I was. For the past three years, I’ve been part-time faculty at a local university where I teach Introduction to Instructional Design as part of a Masters of Education program. I also work as a full-time Instructional Designer at a local college where part of my role is to teach faculty members how to teach/facilitate online courses.

Knowing that there is a huge training gap for many Instructional Designers and wanting to offer an economical, but thorough solution, Essentials of Instructional Design was born. Essentials of Instructional Design launches on July 13th, and for only three more days is available at a $150 discount (plus bonuses), and is a comprehensive 10-module course that explores the theoretical underpinnings and principles of the unicorn that is Instructional Design.

My goal with this course is to provide aspiring Instructional Designers or those new to the field with an in-depth exploration of the principles and theories involved in a practice near and dear to my heart. I never aspired to stand in front of students and teach (a la K-12 style), but as soon as I discovered that I could work behind the scenes in the field of education, I was SOLD, and I know there are a lot of people out there in a similar situation.

If you’re interested, check out the Course Outline and Course Brochure, and register for Essentials of Instructional Design!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I receive a certificate? Yes. You will receive a certificate of completion from Sprout E-Learning.
  • How long will I have access? Indefinitely. If any changes are made, you will be notified, but you will have access to this content indefinitely. You will also be notified if updates are made to course content.
  • Do I need to complete the course within a certain period of time? No. This course is 100% asynchronous. You can complete the course and assignments on your own time.

Screencast: Export to PDF in Articulate Rise

In today’s screencast, I’m showing you how you can export a course in Articulate Rise to PDF. I was so excited about this feature, and I hope it excites you just as much!

Check out the screencast below:

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about Instructional Design, I have a 10-module comprehensive course (Essentials of Instructional Design) launching over at Sprout E-Learning on July 13th. You can save $150 on this course until June 29th.

Check it out on Sprout E-Learning!

If you’re on the fence, be sure to check out the Course Outline and Course Brochure!