New Pandemic Heroes: Instructional Designers

Todd Greer Education, Graduate, News

The world will never be the same.

The impact of this pandemic is felt everywhere. Everything from churches and schools to retail and real estate have had to adapt the way they engage their mission and support their operation. No type of organization has been free from change.

In this adaptation, we have watched heroes rise to the surface. We often talk about the front-line workers, as we rightly should, but another group of heroes that has made this transition possible are the people who have largely been behind the scenes: instructional designers and information technologists.

When COVID-19 led to a worldwide lockdown in March of 2020, workers across so many types of organizations ended up working from home for significant periods of time – that’s still the case in many areas and organizations. Just imagine all of the phone calls, emails and chat messages when employees were trying to deal with their home Wi-Fi, webcams, and the Cloud for their work!

Instructional designers and information technologists stepped forward to support the move and design appropriate training and development activities to assist in this unique transition.

While most people understand what IT is, if only in broad strokes, few people understand the work of the instructional designer (ID). The roots of this discipline were planted in the WWII training where large amounts of soldiers needed to be prepared for combat in a compressed timeframe. With increases in technology, this role is needed now more than ever.

The focus on how we learn, by what medium we learn, who is learning, and where we are while learning are incredibly important questions that the instructional designer is working to address as they construct appropriate training methods and materials. While IDs are prevalent in both the K-12 and higher education system, they are becoming more abundant in governmental organizations, non-profits and businesses of all areas.

In this fast-changing world of work, the need to train individuals in new skills, technology and organizational initiatives is only increasing. So has the need for instructional designers specifically trained for this expanding career field.

The University of Mobile’s new Master of Education in Instructional Design and Technology offers that training to students holding a bachelor’s degree in any field. For those in K-12 and higher education, it increases understanding of the role of technology and its appropriate use in the support of student learning. For those in businesses and organizations, it develops leaders who understand the ways technology can be used in learning, training and teaching at the corporate level.

It’s true, the world has changed. Instructional designers are helping us all learn to change with it.

About the Author

Todd Greer

Dr. Todd Greer is vice president for academic affairs at the University of Mobile. He holds a doctorate in organization leadership with a major in human resource development, a master’s in ministerial leadership, and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. In his free time, he works extensively with nonprofits and startups in the Mobile area, working to build capacity and coach leaders.