Quick Reflection – Is Everyone an Instructional Designer?

Quick Reflection – Is Everyone an Instructional Designer?

November 1, 2018 1 By JR

Not my 9x9x25 post this week, but I just read Is Everyone an Instructional Designer? by the IDIG in Ontario, and was about to comment when I thought, ‘hey, I can just blog a quick reflection and hopefully it’ll ping back’. Honestly, I’ve been frustrated with blog commenting systems for a while now. Some require login, some eat my comments, so here…I’m reclaiming commenting.


Well, saying I read it is a bit of a stretch. I saw this much:

Am I an instructional designer? I work in educational technology, talk to people about using tools and help people design better learning, but does that make me an instructional designer?. Educational technology is a place that can often drive pedagogical change, and it’s strange how often it goes unacknowledged as an accomplice in converting people […]

and then the rest of the post required a log in. The stub reminded me of a few conversations or statements I came across throughout my undergrad and graduate days. One was that “everyone is a teacher”, which was repeated again and again throughout my undergrad. Parents are teachers, coaches are teachers, etc etc etc.

About instructional design in particular, one of my graduate seminars centered on the question of how to look for instructional design work. At that time it was revealed to us that although we had language that fit what we do, that there is a wide swath of job postings and descriptions that don’t use “instructional design” but totally fall into what an ID does. Looking at the roles I have played in the last 5 years or so for example I think demonstrate that a rose by any other name… well you know:

  • Coordinator, Education and Metrics
  • Instructional Designer
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Educational Developer
  • Instructional Designer

There was a time where I really was trying to figure out what the line was between Ed Developer and ID. My approach to ED was very similar to how I approach my work with the ID title. I never came to a clear conclusion for myself, and ultimately I feel that the ID approach was successful in the ED setting.

So I’ll keep reflecting on it. If you’re an ID, ED, instructional technologist etc I want to hear from you. Would you consider what you do to be Instructional Design? Why or Why not? And most importantly, does the label matter to you?

(note: There was a period of time where I had to be cautious in introducing myself to instructors because the ID job title came with past experiences and assumptions which could have been not a great place to start our working relationship)


Feature Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash