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The Essential Role of a Corporate Instructional Designer

Sanju Kumari
17 Apr 2024
16 min read
The Essential Role of a Corporate Instructional Designer

A corporate instructional designer serves as the backbone of corporate learning. Their primary goal is to create effective learning experiences and training materials to develop the workforce, which is:

  • Knowledgeable
  • Skilled, and
  • High-performing

Upwork lists several instructional designers in the United States, with hourly rates ranging from $39 to $65. This suggests that companies are willing to pay a premium for their services.

Instructional design is a growing field. According to industry forecasts, employment opportunities for instructional designers are expected to grow by 19% by the end of 2024 and are expected to surpass the average growth rate for all occupations.

Have you decided to pursue the instructional design course yet?

Let’s go deep and understand the duties, scope, salaries, and certifications required to be a corporate instructional designer

What’s the scope of corporate instructional designers in the US?

It’s indeed encouraging. The job outlook for corporate instructional designers in the USA is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions for instructional designers is expected to increase by 11% between 2016 and 2026. Additionally, industry forecasts suggest that employment opportunities for instructional designers, including corporate instructional designers, are expected to grow by 19% by the end of 2024. 

Why do corporations hire corporate instructional designers?

Instructional designers specialize in creating learning experiences that convey essential knowledge and skills to employees. This helps employees receive the information they need to perform their jobs effectively. 

Furthermore, hiring corporate instructional designers helps in:

  • Cost and Time Savings
  • Well-designed training programs result in cost and time savings by:
  • Streamlining the onboarding process
  • Reducing turnover rates, and
  • Improving overall operational efficiency
  • Enhancing Employee Performance
  • Through targeted training and skill development initiatives, instructional designers improve employee performance and productivity. 
  • They identify learning objectives and design training programs that align with organizational goals.
  • This provides employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in their roles.
  • Talent Development and Retention
  • Investing in employee training and development is key to attracting and retaining top talent. 
  • Instructional designers create learning materials, that help employees grow and advance in their careers.
  • This not only increases job satisfaction but also loyalty to the organization.

What does a corporate instructional designer do?

A corporate instructional designer is a professional responsible for developing learning and development (L&D) programs within corporate environments. Particularly, this role involves:

  • Analyzing training needs
  • Designing curriculum and instructional materials, and
  • Delivering learning experiences per the organization's and its employees' specific requirements.

They collaborate with subject matter experts and training managers to identify learning objectives and develop strategies for achieving them.

What are the various instructional designs made by a corporate instructional designer?

Corporate instructional designers create several instructional designs to support employee learning and development. Let’s have a look at some common ones:

  • E-Learning Modules
  • These are interactive online courses designed to deliver training content in a digital format. 
  • E-learning modules include multimedia elements such as:
  • Videos
  • Animations
  • Simulations, and
  • Interactive quizzes
  • Instructor-led Training Materials
  • Corporate instructional designers develop materials for traditional classroom-style training sessions led by instructors. 
  • These materials include:
  • Slide presentations
  • Handouts
  • Instructor guides, and
  • Participant workbooks
  • Onboarding and Orientation Programs
  • Corporate instructional designers create onboarding and orientation materials.
  • This helps new employees acclimate to their roles and the company culture
  • Some common examples include:
  • Welcome videos
  • Employee handbooks
  • Onboarding checklists, and
  • Online courses
  • Compliance Training Modules
  • Corporate instructional designers develop training materials to ensure employees understand legal and regulatory requirements relevant to their roles
  • These modules often include:
  • Scenarios
  • Case studies, and
  • Assessments
  • Soft Skills Training
  • Corporate instructional designers create programs to develop soft skills such as:
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership, and
  • Time management 
  • These programs commonly include role-playing activities, group discussions, and self-assessment tools.
  • Product and Sales Training
  • Instructional designers develop training materials to educate employees about company products and sales processes. 
  • These materials include:
  • Product demos
  • Sales playbooks, and
  • Interactive simulations 
  • These types of materials are crucial to a company’s success, as they help sales representatives effectively communicate value propositions and close deals.
  • Performance Support Tools
  • Corporate instructional designers also create:
  • Job aids
  • Reference guides and
  • Performance support tools
  • These help employees perform tasks efficiently on the job and get just-in-time support to address specific challenges or questions.

What are the different tools used by a corporate instructional designer?

In today's digital age, corporate instructional designers use a variety of modern technologies to create engaging and effective learning experiences. Let’s have a look at some of the most commonly used tools:

1) E-learning Authoring Tools

Examples: Calibr Craft, Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Lectora Inspire 

These tools allow corporate instructional designers to create interactive e-learning modules without extensive programming knowledge. Additionally, they offer several features, such as:

  • Drag-and-drop interfaces
  • Built-in templates, and
  • Multimedia integration

2) Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Examples: Calibr.ai, Moodle, Canvas, and Blackboard

These tools provide a centralized hub for managing and delivering training content. Corporate instructional designers use LMSs to:

  • Organize course materials
  • Track learner progress and
  • Facilitate communication between learners and instructors.

3) Virtual Classroom Platforms

Examples: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Adobe Connect

These tools enable corporate instructional designers to deliver live training sessions remotely. Among the several features offered by these tools are:

  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing, and
  • Breakout rooms

4) Gamification Tools

Examples: Kahoot!, Quizizz, and Classcraft

These tools add game-like elements to training activities. These increase learner engagement and make learning more enjoyable. Some common elements offered by these tools are:

  • Quizzes
  • Leaderboards
  • Badges, and
  • Rewards 

5) Social Learning Platforms

Examples: Yammer, Slack, and Microsoft Teams

These tools help facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration and knowledge sharing among learners. The common features offered by these include:

  • Discussion forums, and
  • Chat rooms

How does a corporate instructional designer develop learning experiences?

Let’s understand this process in simple steps by following the hypothetical example of Jessie Williams, who is working as a corporate instructional designer for ABC Inc. She is working on creating a learning experience for new sales representatives.

Step 1: Understanding Learner Needs

  • Jessie meets with the sales managers, Jane and Alex, to understand the challenges faced by new sales representatives. 
  • Through their conversations, Jessie learns that the new hires come from diverse backgrounds.
  • They have varying levels of experience in sales and technology.

Step 2: Defining Learning Objectives

  • Based on the discussion with the sales managers, Jessie defines clear learning objectives.
  • She established goals for the training program, which is to equip new sales reps with a deep understanding of:
  • ABC's products
  • Sales processes, and
  • Customer engagement strategies.

Step 3: Designing Learning Materials - The First Draft

  • Jessie begins designing the learning materials.
  • She breaks down the content into bite-sized modules
  • She ensures that each topic is presented clearly and engagingly.
  • To enhance engagement, Jessie decides to incorporate:
  • Interactive quizzes
  • Role-playing scenarios, and
  • Video testimonials from top-performing sales reps.

Step 4: Developing Learning Materials - The Finesse

  • With her design plan in hand, Jessie starts finalizing the material.
  • She uses her favorite authoring tool and creates sleek e-learning modules that showcase ABC's products and sales techniques.
  • She spends hours in:
  • Perfecting each slide
  • Selecting the right images and animations

Step 5: Assessment and Evaluation

  • Jessie knows that feedback is crucial for improvement. 
  • She designs assessments that challenge the new sales reps to apply their knowledge in practical situations. 
  • After each module, learners complete quizzes based on the scenarios they encountered. 
  • Jessie reviews the results and adjusts the content accordingly to address any gaps in understanding.

What is the average corporate instructional designer's salary?

According to a survey by Devlin Peck in December 2023, the average annual salary for a corporate instructional designer in the USA stands at $85,452. This data was collected from 1075 instructional designers worldwide, with 79.4% employed in corporate roles. 

Other reputable sources corroborate this figure, with:

Still want to believe more?

Glassdoor has compiled a list of the average pay offered to an instructional designer at different US companies. Check it out here

What are the top industries hiring corporate instructional designers in the USA?

In the USA, corporate instructional designers are in high demand across various industries. Know about some top industries where you can work as a corporate instructional designer:

  • Software & Tech Development
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Social Media Companies
  • Consulting Services
  • Government Agencies (including the FBI)
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Nonprofits and Community Organizations

Additionally, some prominent companies that actively recruit corporate instructional designers include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Apple
  • Xerox
  • Meta (formerly Facebook)
  • Delta Airlines
  • Harvard University, and
  • Amazon

Most of these companies offer competitive salary packages and diverse opportunities for professionals in the field. Do you wish to learn about the top corporate instructional designer certifications and programs? Check out the 24 best instructional design certifications and move towards achieving your professional goals. 

How tough is it to become a corporate instructional designer?

This entirely depends on you and varies from individual to individual. Its difficulty level will be entirely based on your:

  • Academic background
  • Creative and technical proficiencies, and
  • Relevant work experience

However, it is generally considered easy to secure an entry-level job. With a bachelor's degree in instructional design or a related field, and proficiency in instructional design models, you can enter this field. Also, comparable work experience is highly sought after by most employers in the US. 

Is corporate instructional design the right career choice for you?

It depends on your skills and interests. If you enjoy creating engaging learning experiences and have strong communication and analytical abilities, a career in corporate instructional design could be a suitable fit for you. 

Explore further by referring to the list of ten questions mentioned below. If you answered YES to at least 7 of these questions, corporate instructional design could be the right career choice for you!

  1. Do you have a passion for education and training?
  2. Are you skilled at communicating complex concepts clearly and engagingly?
  3. Do you enjoy collaborating with others to develop learning materials and programs?
  4. Are you comfortable using technology to create interactive learning experiences?
  5. Do you have a knack for analyzing data and identifying learning needs?
  6. Are you adaptable and able to work in fast-paced environments with tight deadlines?
  7. Do you possess creativity and enjoy coming up with innovative solutions to learning challenges?
  8. Are you detail-oriented and able to maintain accuracy in your work?
  9. Are you committed to continuous learning and staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices?
  10. Do you value making a positive impact by helping others develop new skills and knowledge?

Conclusion

Corporate instructional designers help business organizations achieve learning and development (L&D) needs by creating effective learning experiences and training materials. They contribute to building a workforce that is well-informed, proficient, and high-performing.

As evident by the various reports and statistics, there exists a strong demand for instructional designers in the US. Also, numerous job openings in the field offer competitive salaries and compensation packages. This positive trend also shows that companies are now focusing more than ever on training and developing their employees. 

Most corporations hire instructional designers to streamline training processes and enhance employee performance. By investing in well-designed training programs, companies also achieve cost and time savings by improving operational efficiency. Therefore, it can be concluded that the time is ripe to become a corporate instructional designer in 2024. Begin your journey today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) What are the key roles of an instructional designer?

The key roles of an instructional designer include analyzing training needs, designing learning materials, and developing instructional strategies.

2) What is instructional design in corporations?

In corporate settings, instructional design involves creating tailored learning experiences and training materials. These help employees enhance their knowledge, skills, and performance.

3) How do instructional designers create engaging self-learning materials?

To keep the learners motivated and engaged, most instructional designers develop interactive learning courses by incorporating multimedia elements. They also ensure content relevance and clarity.

4) What is the most important aspect of instructional design?

The most important aspect of instructional design is to align learning objectives with organizational goals. This alignment ensures that training programs are effective and contribute to the overall objective of improving employee performance.

Sanju Kumari

Sanju has a wealth of experience and expertise in instructional design, bringing innovative ideas and a fresh perspective to e-learning content development. She is passionate about merging technology and creativity for dynamic e-learning. Her passion for creating engaging and effective learning experiences aligns perfectly with Calibr's commitment to excellence. She also enjoys writing about e-learning trends in the corporate world.