If you’re just getting started with learning Instructional Design, your goal is probably to soak up as much information as you can. Knowledge is power—and in this instance, there’s a lot to learn.

While it can be intimidating to approach such a large volume of educational resources, over time, you can begin to refine your skill set and excel within the field.

The question is: Where do you begin?


We wrote awhile back about resources related to Articulate Storyline, but today, we wanted to share some of the top resources for learning general instructional design. These are great starter tools for any beginner to novice designer.

Online Courses for Learning Instructional Design

University of California-Irvine Extension offers an online certificate for eLearning Instructional Design. Courses include ‘Principles of eLearning Design’, ‘Exploring eLearning Development Tools’ and more.

Fundamentals of Online Education from Georgia Tech is a free, six-week course for beginner eLearning designers that focuses on transitioning traditional courses to an interactive online format.

Instructional Design for The Greater Good is a free, online, project-based course, where you’ll gain instructional design experience while developing open educational resources (OER) for instructors and learners in adult basic education programs.

Books for Learning Instructional Design

Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen is a great book for those interested in learning the basic principles of effective Instructional Design. This book focuses on how to create courses that are interesting, engaging, and that keep learners alert.
Teach Online: Design Your First Online Course: Step-By-Step Guide To A Course That Gets Results (Volume 3) by Jeanette S. Cates is a resource for novice instructional designers who are ready to design a course, but need some help getting started.

Rapid Instructional Design: Learning ID Fast and Right by George M. Piskurich is a step-by-step guide through the ADDIE model for Instructional Design. Some refer to this book as the industry standard guide—it’s jam-packed with need to know information.

Guides for Learning Instructional Design

ThinkingKap Learning’s Graphic Design Series can be used as a guide for beginner to novice Instructional Designers who are interested in learning more about effective graphic design for courses. Obviously, we’re big fans of this particular guide.

Udemy’s Ultimate Guide on How to Become a Designer is a two-hour online video that answers questions, teaches basic lessons, and helps those interested in instructional design get a better grasp of what to expect in this career path. This would be valuable for anyone at the very beginning of his or her journey to becoming an Instructional Designer.

Articulate’s eLearning Heroes blog has the Ultimate Guide to Choosing Graphics for eLearning, which is a great tool for beginner designers who need a little help getting started with the actual design work. Think of it like a crash course in how to select graphics.

Cathy Moore is the creator of Action Mapping, which is a particular Instructional Design approach. Cathy describes it as a streamlined process to design training in the business world that focuses on the actions needed to improve behavior, not the semi-related knowledge around it.

Be a Copy Cat

Aside from specific resources, stay on the lookout for courses that are done well and draw inspiration from them. One of the best ways to grow in any industry is to “copy” what other people are doing well. Obviously I don’t mean copy in a literal sense, but inspiration is all around us. Let good ideas and approaches influence how you think about how you’ll handle your next project.

Never Stop Learning

These resources are just the beginning. There are many, many resources for learning instructional design—but starting with these, you’ll be on the path to a successful career in the field.

Just remember: Always keep learning. Even the most experienced designer can always learn new things—especially in an increasingly technology-based field.

What are your favorite resources for this topic? Email us.