Transitioning Teachers in the US Look at New Career Paths in Instructional Design

Transitioning Teachers in the US Look at New Career Paths in Instructional Design

Post-pandemic burnout is affecting many professionals, but teachers who had to face especially difficult workplace challenges over the past few years are particularly struggling with burnout. Many teachers that are choosing to veer away from their original career path are heading towards the instructional design industry, as it allows them to leverage their backgrounds in education while giving them the opportunity to work remotely instead of in a classroom. They can put their classroom-honed instructional design skills into the creation of eLearning content.

Instructional design involves creating learning experiences and materials resulting in the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. Even though instructional design encompasses all learning materials, it’s most frequently associated with corporate training and eLearning for universities or other educational institutions.

Let’s look at some tips that teachers can use to find a job in instructional design and to thrive in that role.

Highlight Adaptable Skills

Transitioning teachers are facing the challenge of adapting the skills they gained in classrooms into ones they can utilize in a new career in the learning and development (L&D) space. How they frame their skills during their job search can help them illustrate to potential employers just how adaptable their teaching skills are.

For example, teachers have experience trying different teaching approaches in order to see what works for their students and what doesn’t. They know how to adapt their content to suit “their audience”. They have also seen firsthand the challenge of having students in their classrooms who don’t speak English as their native language. In 2019, 10.4% of K-12 students were English-language learners (ELL) students and by 2025, an estimated 25% percent of public school students will be ELL students.

Expand Their Network

As teachers look for new horizons, it’s key that they find networking spaces that can help them enter the L&D space successfully. There are multiple non-profit organizations, like GLDC (Global Learning & Development Community), that offer resources and create an environment where they can connect with other professionals in the industry and can get career advice.

Mariana Horrisberger, eLearning localization specialist and business development manager at Terra, is one of the organizers of GLDC. She co-leads meetups every Wednesday and Friday, where they get together to meet peers from the industry, discuss L&D topics, and share their knowledge and experience with those making their first steps into this field. They also currently have a Project Club led by Russell Sweep, where they discuss the eLearning Heroes Challenge of the week and provide feedback to each other’s projects. In 2022, this organization hosted a Summer Break Room during the month of July to get transitioning teachers together to network and share information and advice about the industry. Another networking group that could be of interest is Teaching: A path to L&D led by Sara Stevick—where members share important information for teachers looking to transition to the eLearning industry.

Keep Localization In Mind

It’s essential that as teachers transition to this new space—and given the global aspect of the eLearning industry—they keep localization in mind. Meaning that while they work on creating courses, they remain aware of aspects of their work that could potentially present challenges during localization. Accessibility is a top priority nowadays, with students from all corners of the world trying to learn the abilities necessary to work and succeed in the modern world and being knowledgeable of internationalization is a skill that can help them land their first job in the industry.

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