A Note from Shawntay- One of my favorite things about being an Instructional Designer & Trainologist is meeting new professionals (both in-person and online) that are passionate about making a change. Hearing from people of different backgrounds and how they came into the instructional design field is interesting and inspiring. Not to mention, it’s a great way to share resources for career changers!
So in this new series, which I’m calling ”Instructional Design Journeys: Career-Changers Who Are Crushing It!”, you’ll hear from different beginning instructional designers as they share their journeys through career-changes. They’ll share some of their favorite tips and instructional design resources for career changers that helped them transform into instructional designers!*
My background is in special ed and preschool. I loved teaching, but it just didn’t pay enough. Because of COVID, I was furloughed and it was then that I decided to pursue a new career.
I wasn’t sure where to start, so I reached out to a career counselor who administered some online tests. One of the suggestions for my personality type was social work. I love the idea of helping people but didn’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on another Master’s degree. Instead, I decided to pursue Human Resources.
I learned that there are a number of different specializations within Human Resources. Professionals already in the field recommended that I focus on Learning and Development since I have a teaching background. Thankfully, that led to my learning about instructional design and eLearning development.
Instructional Design Resources for Career Changers
I joined some instructional design Facebook groups to get advice from people already in the field. In the process, I learned that there are many former teachers in instructional design. I also learned that creating instructional design and eLearning is interesting and fun!
I love to read, so of course, I had to dive into books about instructional design! Here are a few that I found helpful.
The eLearning Designer’s Handbook by Tim Slade
I asked professionals already in the field for a book that would walk me through the process of storyboarding and creating a course from start to finish. They recommended Tim Slade’s book, and I am so glad!
If you want to design eLearning, I highly recommend starting with this book. You can read this and other instructional design books for free with a trial of Kindle Unlimited. Be sure to check out Tim Slade’s blog as well.
The Accidental Instructional Designer by Cammy Bean
The Accidental Instructional Designer is another great book for anyone new to the field. Cammy Bean writes in a really approachable manner. She walks you through the eLearning process and outlines best practices. You can read it for free with a trial of Oreilly.com.
Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen
You want people to pay attention to your course, and to remember what they learn, right? Then you need Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen! This book practices what it preaches by including visuals on almost every page. It’s a very easy read.
The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
Whether you’re designing a course, a job aid, or a participant’s guide, you want your products to be visually appealing. But what if you don’t have a background in graphic design? No problem! This book will teach you the basic principles. I had so much fun learning about how to combine colors and choose fonts. This definitely sparked my interest in graphic design!
Wrapping It Up
Of course, there are a lot more resources for career changers out there, but this should get you started. If you have any additional books to recommend to newbies, I’d love to hear them! Drop your suggestions in the comments below or find me in The Hangout for New Instructional Designers, Career Changers, and Teachers Transitioning to Instructional Design.
Many people have helped me navigate my path into instructional design. I want to pay it forward. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of resources for career changers. It’s geared towards teachers but should be useful to anyone in the field: Resources for Teachers Transitioning to Instructional Design – Google Docs
Enjoy learning about this challenging and interesting career!
*Learn More about Shawntay’s immersive Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program.