Teacher vs. Instructional Designer vs. Trainer

While surfing the internet, I was trying to find similarities between teaching and instructional design. I must admit when I  first started my graduate program, I thought teachers and instructional designers were the same but with a different name.   (  During my readings I found two interesting posts, one from Heidi Beezley, “Educators vs Instructional Designers – Tackling Some Questions” and another from Cammy Bean, “Instructional Designer: What’s in a name?“) I’ve learned that teachers, instructional designers, and trainers  all have the ultimate goal of creating the best learning experiences; however there is one major difference that teachers must face,  a client (students) who have various motivations (some of these clients hate your services, some love you, some just want to cause trouble).

Yes,  teachers and instructional designers have to don multiple hats but the one piece that makes instructional’  job a bit easier is the factor of motivation.  As  Beezley put it

Instructional designers and [trainers] are lucky enough to be working with people that care about their job, at least they probably do.  Since they care about bonuses, advancement, job security, etc. the audience of an instructional designer is already motivated to a certain degree to do their job well.  Plus the audience may truly love what they do.  They already have an interest in the topic and skills related to the performing their role. You can squander the motivational capital that the audience of an instructional designer brings with boring instruction, but for the most part the motivation is there and it is only possible to lose it. Educators are in a totally different boat.  Sure instructional designers still have to worry about creating instruction that is motivating and engaging.”

A teacher not only has to teach but they have to be an effective presenter (performer), facilitate student learning, manage classroom behavior, assess student performance, and design effective instruction that helps students make connections  and s/he must do this with 50-60 minutes with 20-35 students . Ultimately it is the  great teachers that use elements of instructional design,  understand the importance of facilitating  student learning in order to help them reach their own level of understanding,  and actively improve their instruction through formative and summative assessments, that deserve the label of a great teacher

In my new role as an instructional designer, my key focus now will be on improving an organization return on investment (ROI) by improving employee performance.   As William Ward so eloquently put “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” I think the same applies to instructional design too..

I hope to be a great instructional designer one day..


About IPTtoolkit--Eboni DuBose

Hi!! I'm Eboni. A Masters Candidate in the Instructional and Technology program at Boise State. Come along and join in on my learning experiences. I look forward to having wonderful conversations from other learning professinals
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1 Response to Teacher vs. Instructional Designer vs. Trainer

  1. Rose Noxon, PhD, CPT, PMP says:

    As soon as I met you – I knew I wanted to work with you! Now that I read a good portion of your BLOG I’m sure of it! Keep learning – the chance for us to work together will present itself – I’m looking for it!
    Warm Regards,

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