What Are The Key Skills Of An Instructional Designer?

Art & design   |   2 minutes  |   March 27, 2017

Looking into a career in the fast-growing instructional design industry, and wanting to learn the key skills of teaching with technology?

Watch this one minute video where Carien Aalbers, Head Tutor of the University of the Witwatersrand Instructional Design online short course, expands on the role.

An instructional designer, also known as a learning designer, is responsible for identifying the skills, knowledge, information and attitude gaps of a targeted audience and creating, selecting or suggesting learning experiences that close this gap. They also need to be able to make use of technology in education by optimally teaching with technology available to them and their purpose.

[bctt tweet=”The highest paid eLearning professionals earn, on average, $87,790 per year. ” username=”getsmarter”]

An instructional design expert needs to be able to:

  • Leverage instructional technology and the advantages of an online environment by identifying the best technology in education for their purpose
  • Express a learning need and identify the required exit level outcomes
  • Construct a curriculum and delivery model based on that need and those outcomes
  • Develop digital learning content, assessments, and platforms
  • Interpret learning analytics data

These roles require a multitude of skills, including writing, web design, graphics, collaboration, planning and a strong teaching or learning background.

Do you think you have what it takes to pursue a career in instructional design?

Formalise your competence and develop your confidence, with University of the Witwatersrand Instructional Design online short course.


Some of the key skills in instructional design include interpersonal skills. You need to engage with organisations to really understand their training requirements. The ability to elicit the right information in order to establish the need for training is key to be able to design a program that meets this need. A user centred mindset and approach is also vital. To design great learning experiences, you need to be able to put yourself in the learner’s shoes. You also need to develop your written and visual communications skills. To create engaging course content, you need to be able to word and visualise the course in a way that makes it easy to understand and learn, and a delight to interact with – both aesthetically and functionally.