Instructional Design: My Journey

From Teacher to Tech (EdTech): Episode 3–Instructional Design a Title of the Past?

As a near graduate in the field of instructional design, I am already feeling a bit like my new degree (and new debt) may be a thing of the past. I have been busting my tail for the past 18 months to work full time as an Elementary Educator, STEM Lead teacher, and contractor while taking online classes to obtain a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and Technology. During our orientation, it was expressed to us that the program would more than likely be changing to include new and more relevant courses with a shift from a Masters of Education to a Masters of Science. This really excited me as I knew that this is the field I want to transition into and I felt this education would best prepare me for the Instructional Design world.

Fast forward to over 16 months in the 18 month program and word is released that this shift will take place and most of my credits will transfer in order to earn a Masters of Science, however, I will need to take an additional four to five courses Wow. I could not think of how else to process this. I’m in the middle of a huge shift, working until I can’t stay awake at my computer any longer, and accumulating more debt every four months; I was devastated. I, like many professionals, pride myself on staying current, pursuing the best education, and providing the best quality of work in all that I do. This news disappointed me because I felt as though I was now forced to make a decision between spending more of my already thinly spread time and money on what appeared to be a more current course study, or graduate with a degree that even the university knows is not the most relevant information. I decided to stick with the current course of action and obtain my Masters of Education in Instructional Design and Technology.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I have loved all of the varied learning opportunities that I experienced and have grown so much through out the program of nearly 18 months. The professors have been outstanding, informed, and embedded all current trends into their course work. I don’t feel as though I am lacking in any experience with programs or pedagogical practices which job descriptions state to be needed. I have gained contracts with various companies to build a professional portfolio and relationships with some amazing mentors, Directors, and like-minded innovators. But is it going to be enough?

I am currently scouring the internet for full-time positions, preferably in my area (Tampa, FL) or remote. I have interviewed and done extremely well making it to the last stretch of quite lengthy, evidence-based processes. I have had nothing but amazing feedback about my evidence, attitude, and professionalism. But it has appeared to not be enough to land that final offer. Therefore, I put on my perseverance pants and continue to hunt, alas, the Instructional Design positions begin to dwindle down to either a ridiculously specific skills set such as “must have 18 certificates in “these” various areas” or “must have Bachelors degree and 5+ years experience with Instructional Design”. Where are the opportunities for professionals with advanced degrees in this specific area who want someone to see their amazing potential?

Is a Masters Degree enough to begin?

My dear friends and family encourage me by stating “it wasn’t right for you” or “that just means something better will come along”, to which I agree. However, I also believe that I can’t wait for an employer to find me, I must continue to hunt for my “better opportunity”. Becoming slightly frustrated by searching “Instructional Design”, I reflected and concluded I should adjust my angle. Darting back to the computer I thought “what if I begin searching for every ‘other’ key words and terms to describe an Instructional Designer?” Alas, more results appeared, leading me to ask myself is “Instructional Design” a title of the past?

User Experience Design, E-Learning Designer or Developer, Learning Strategist are just a few of the terms which I have found to align with Instructional Design, and to which I feel comfortable using my degree for. Understanding that I am relatively “new” to the ID world, but am an experienced professional with a varied and unique background to bring to a team, where do I go from here? It’s been an interesting deck of cards to shuffle and bumps like this will never keep me down, but I am currently at a loss as to what else I can do to find the “better” that will come along.

Where do you go from here?

So, my sacred Professional Learning Network, I vulnerably and transparently ask for your words of wisdom. What “terms” are you finding to best match the current role of Instructional Designer? Are you finding your role as an ID to be transitioning? Do you hold a title aligned with Instructional Design and find it a better fit with the role?

I look forward to hearing your feedback about this topic!

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