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Apr 09, 2015 Jennifer Hofmann

Resources: Virtual Instructional Designer Competencies

CompetencyVirtual instructional designers manage the development of learning solutions for live, virtual classroom-based instruction.  Without the designer there would be no content to deliver.  They connect client needs to solutions through analysis and execution of an effective design process.  They make the material come alive by adding context to the content through teachable stories and engaging activities.

Virtually Competent – The Big Picture

In a recent Training Magazine Article titled Virtually There: Developing the Competencies of Virtual Classroom Designers, I identified the core competencies necessary for this skill. The virtual instructional designer needs to be competent in the following areas in order to create quality virtual lessons (see the original article for full descriptions of each).

  1. Analytical instructional design
  2. Impactful engagement creation
  3. Activity creation
  4. Accountability design
  5. Application of adult learning principles
  6. Instructional materials development
  7. Cultural intelligence

Virtually Competent – Day to Day Ownership, Preparation, and Execution

But what does being virtually competent mean on a day to day basis?  How does this impact the job description of an instructional designer responsible for creating virtual lessons? 

While the high level competencies mentioned above are critical in the creation of new content, there are additional task based competencies that are required for a virtual instructional designer to be successful.

These tasks can be summarized as ownership competencies, preparation competencies, and execution competencies. 

Ownership competencies are demonstrated throughout the design and development process, and are also exhibited through implementation.  A virtual instructional designer competent in the area of ownership does the following:

    • Plans and monitors training projects including resource allocations, budget and schedule
    • Consults with clients, project managers, facilitators and producers on the effective use of virtual classroom technologies
    • Manages pilot programs for new and revised courses
    • Advocates for the client to ensure designs meet identified goals
    • Collaborates with clients, project managers, facilitators and producers to ensure program design is executed correctly and meets stated goals 

Preparation competencies are demonstrated prior to the development of a virtual lesson.  A virtual instructional designer competent in the area of preparation does the following:

    • Completes a needs assessment to clearly define a learning solution based on client needs
    • Analyzes client needs to isolate the desired behavioral change that includes the tasks, sub-tasks, processes and organizational relationships related to that change
    • Develops a target audience profile
    • Utilizes a Subject Matter Expert (SME) where necessary to master technical content of course and individual lessons

Execution competencies are demonstrated during development and throughout the lifetime of the virtual lesson(s).  A virtual instructional designer competent in the area of execution does the following:

    • Applies adult learning theories to maximize knowledge transfer
    • Identifies prerequisite knowledge required of learners
    • Develops criterion-referenced, performance-based learning objectives for each lesson
    • Maximizes engagement of learners
    • Implements a blended learning approach
    • Integrates the most appropriate learning platforms to meet instructional goals
    • Develops a cohesive set of learning materials and resources for facilitators, producers and learners
    • Leverages the producer role in a technical and/or instructional capacity when appropriate
    • Designs an evaluation strategy tied to key business indicators and measurements
    • Permits for regular course review, evaluation and revision to ensure alignment with current goals, organizational needs and accreditation standards

Getting The Job Done

Being competent as a virtual instructional designer takes sophisticated expertise in many areas; from instructional design to cultural intelligence. But it also takes attention to detail in day to day tasks, including project ownership, preparation, and execution.

I hope you'll join me for the complimentary BYTE session I am facilitating on Monday, April 13, 2015 - Developing Competencies for Virtual Classroom Designers.

Do you have what it takes to get the job done? To learn more about our Virtual Classroom Design Mastery Series certificate course and how you can earn your Virtual Classroom Instructional Designer Badge, just click on the graphic below.

Virtual Classroom Design Mastery Series Badge


Published by Jennifer Hofmann April 9, 2015
Jennifer Hofmann