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    By Jeff Baille, Faculty, School of Education

    From time to time, someone will ask me, “What field of education are you in?” When I tell them that my area of specialization is instructional technologyI sometimes get a blank stare in return. “So, you work with computers then?”

    “Yes, of course,” I reply. “But it’s more about working to improve the design and delivery of instructional content in a quest for improved performance.” 

    With this in mind, let me tell you more about the role of an instructional technologist.

    I see the primary role of instructional technologists as being problem solvers in many of today’s progressive classrooms and training environments. They are called upon to work with a team to develop and deliver instructional content in an effective manner. In doing so, they first seek to gain an improved understanding of the actual performance issue at hand so they can, in turn, craft the most appropriate training solution. The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) has defined the profession as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.” Ultimately, the goal of instructional technology is to promote efficient and effective instruction.

    What we do in field of instructional technology is apply research, contemporary learning theory, and best practices to construct curriculum to improve performance and produce desired learning outcomes. This includes designing instructional content such as training manuals, course materials, or complete program curricula. In many cases, multi-media enhancements for delivery of the content are also employed, and the methods of delivery can vary from the traditional classroom setting to online or blended courses.The continued advancements in technology have created exciting opportunities within our profession. 

    The need for instructional technologists in today’s economy is projected to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national long-term job growth for instructional coordinators is expected to be 13 percent through 2022.* Employment of training and development managers is also projected to grow 11 percent during the same period.† 

    We live in an informational age where the demand for learning drives the opportunities for instructional technologists, as does the impact of changing technology. Most practitioners in the field of instructional technology have an earned graduate degree in education, such as Kaplan University’s School of Education Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technologyand are employed in P-12 schools and school districts, colleges and universities, as well as various types of businesses, government agencies, or in branches of the military.

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  • * Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-2015 Edition, Instructional Coordinators, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/Education-Training-and-Library/Instructional-coordinators.htm. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

    † Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-2015 Edition, Training and Development Manager, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

     

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