Illustration by Robert Killman
Illustration by Robert Kilman

About 40 staff members at Arizona State University have the words Instructional Design or Instructional Designer in their job title. Even though there are a lot of them about (and some have been at ASU for quite a long time), for many of us, the full range of what Instructional Designers do may be unknown. We asked a large group of ASU Instructional Designers and Technologists to tell us about the work they do and here is what we discovered.


The first skill we master in Instructional Designer (ID) 101. Listening, speaking, writing and presenting are all important parts of our day-to-day. Our work is collaborative by nature. We are skilled at building consensus.


We think about things. We brainstorm. We experiment. We look for new and better all the time. We think about human psychology. We think about aesthetics, design, user experience, flow, look/feel. We think about the different senses and how they come into play.


We design instruction/teaching and learning experiences. At the heart of the matter is often the alignment of objectives, activities and assessments.


We are skilled at building relationships and rapport with faculty, staff, and clients. There is the potential for a lot of emotion around what we do.

Data Analysts

Data-based decision making is part of what we do.


Look! Up in the sky! It’s a media producer! It’s a collaboration expert! It’s an ID!


Instructional Designers are consultants, technologists, trainers, and evaluators. Whatever instructional issues you may face, we can be right by your side to help.


We bring a systematic approach to constructing learning experiences that includes analysis of the audience, environment, objectives, content, technologies, etc. Planning maps, guides, templates, process docs, outlines, storyboards, are all part of the way we approach projects.


It’s important that we stay on top of the latest processes and skills related to ID work. We communicate “best practices” in teaching and learning (particularly related to using technology).

Project Managers

We talk about projects and project management constantly. It frames how we think about work.


When a course link breaks, when a weighted grade column doesn’t add up, we can be there to help. We fix things that are broken. We solve problems.


We design, develop and evaluate content/instructional materials. Review and revision are essential.