What Does an Instructional Designer Do?

By Julie Thomas and Shane Ryan

There are various definitions of instructional design. Richey, Fields, and Foxon (2001) specify four roles for the instructional designer: analyst, evaluator, e-learning specialist, and project manager. According to Kumar and Ritzhaupt (2017) Instructional Designers in higher education settings primarily serve faculty in their roles, but also perceive students as their final audience. Instructional designers in higher education participate in course design, support faculty in delivering online courses, and facilitate meaningful workshops and training activities for faculty. Further, instructional designers in higher education exercise project management techniques to assist in managing the plethora of projects they may be assigned. (Kumar & Ritzhaupt 2017)

Students on computers.

Our Instructional Designers at the College of Pharmacy provide faculty instructors with guidance and assistance in developing technology-enhanced, pedagogically sound, blended courses based on the UF Standards and Makers of Excellence for Online and Blended Courses (UF Office of Faculty Development & Teaching Excellence 2018) and best practices in health-care education, while consulting the most current research in learning effectiveness and educational technologies.

Colbert, Brown, Choi and Thomas (2008) note potential benefits for faculty receiving assistance from instructional designers, including improved professional development that leads to higher levels of instructor engagement with students and improved pedagogy.

The course design and development process consists of analyzing learner needs and goals and identifying the most effective delivery systems for learning interventions and materials. After the creation of the learning materials, your instructional designer will help facilitate strategies in assessing and evaluating your course and materials based on learner experience and performance.

The Instructional Designers at the College of Pharmacy and elsewhere at the University of Florida seek to support our faculty educators to: Promote explicit articulation of student outcomes; Integrate formative and summative assessments into the learning process; Create both learner-centric and collaborative opportunities for students to engage material in different ways and with different perspectives; and assist faculty through professional development in embracing and utilizing technology effectively. (UF College of Education 2018)

Learn more about your College of Pharmacy Instructional Designers at: https://curriculum.pharmacy.ufl.edu/for-faculty/curriculum-development-and-delivery/instructional-design/


KUMAR, S. s., & RITZHAUPT, A. a. (2017). What Do Instructional Designers in Higher Education Really Do?. International Journal On E-Learning, 16(4), 371-393.

Richey, R. C., Fields, D. C., & Foxon, M. (2001). Instructional design competencies: The standards (3rd ed.). Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse.

Colbert, J. A., Brown, R. S., Choi, S., & Thomas, S. (2008). An investigation of the impacts of teacher driven professional development on pedagogy and student learning. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(2), 135-154.

UF Office of Faculty Development & Teaching Excellence. (2018). UF Standards and Markers of Excellence. Retrieved June 13, 2018 from http://teach.ufl.edu/uf-standards-and-markers-of-excellence/

UF College of Education. (2018). Instructional Design. Retrieved June 13, 2018 from https://education.ufl.edu/etc/instructional-design/