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A Glimpse into the Future of Instructional Design Consulting

The future of instructional design consulting may not be what you think. There are many today who say generative AI (genAI) won’t take your job but something using it will. Not true.

Just because someone uses genAI doesn’t mean they’re doing a better job than someone not using it. In fact, it’s a tool that’s ripe for abuse and could easily make an instructional designer’s work even worse. That’s because it makes it way too easy to create useless content.

There are two paths that we’ll see in the future of instructional design consulting.

  1. Instructional designers who do quality work and use a solid process paired with creativity and science.
  2. Instructional designers who use genAI in the background for a few tasks (maybe generating ideas but not content) but otherwise are doing the same thing as the first instructional designer.

This post is a glimpse into where I think instructional design consulting will go to add maximum value to an ever-changing organization. However the workplace settles in the work from home, in an office, or in hybrid environments, training will remain essential. And behind every quality, and focused training is an instructional designer.

As technology and working environments rapidly advance, so too will the need for instructional design consulting. The pandemic transformed things in the digital world faster than before and the pace will only increase. That means new doors will open to new opportunities in instructional design. With the right skills, instructional design consultants can become indispensable partners in helping organizations meet their goals and objectives.

Business is competetive and ever-changing. That means instructional design consultants must work dynamically.

It’s no wonder that organizations rely on instructional designers and instructional design consultants more daily. The power to help the organization train more efficiently and effectively is available so why not take advantage of it?

Instructional designers are a great way to gain cohesive training solutions. However, what does the future of instructional design consulting look like?

Will instructional design consultants of the future have a broader set of skills? Will they be better positioned to meet changing demands and needs? Will they be able to create more meaningful experiences and learning outcomes? These are all questions I’m ready to explore in this post as we glimpse the future of instructional design consulting.

By discussing the latest developments and technologies in instructional design, we can gain insight into the potential for what instructional design consulting may look like in the future. We’ll also look at the ways the profession is already beginning to adapt to meet the challenges of a digitally driven world.

You’ll have a better understanding of the opportunities and possibilities available to those who specialize in instructional design consulting.

The Growing Demand for Instructional Design Consulting

Even in on-site-based organizations employees are scattered in offices over a wide geographic area. That means even the most centralized organization is distributed and requires a digital working style.

This all makes the demand for instructional design consulting increase now and into the future. As organizations continue to embrace digital transformation, they increasingly understand the value well-crafted training plays in that digital transformation.

Instructional design consultants help deliver a bigger plan for organizations to create effective and engaging learning experiences and the strategies behind them. As a result, instructional design consultants have quickly become an asset to many organizations.

As business demands change so will the need for instructional design consultants.

Advances in technology, changes in the workplace, and efficiency demands play a major role in the growing demand for instructional design consulting. With the shift to a more agile working environment in training (you could say agile instructional design in a way) employees have access to tools that enable them to create better learning experiences with less overhead.

From instructor-led training to eLearning, instructional design consultants are in high demand to help organizations take advantage of the latest technologies and create more engaging and effective training and instruction.

The Benefits of Instructional Design Consulting

Instructional design consultants bring a wealth of expertise to organizations. They use the latest technology to create and plan for innovative, interactive, and engaging learning experiences. Additionally, they can help organizations develop strategies for implementing these learning experiences in a way that meets the organization’s goals and objectives.

A truly talented and skilled instructional design consultant who delivers value cannot be replaced or even augmented well with genAI. Maybe minimally but not enough to matter. Instructional design consultants offer guidance on the best ways to measure and evaluate learning outcomes. GenAI can’t do that well as it’s not a thinking being, it’s just a probability machine.

By understanding how people respond to training and instruction, instructional design consultants can help organizations identify areas for improvement and how to create more effective learning experiences. This ensures that organizations are getting the most out of their training and instruction and that their employees are receiving the best possible value.

Advances in Technology and How It Impacts the Industry

As technology continues to evolve, so does the role of instructional design consultants. Instructional design consultants must be able to work in an ever-changing environment that has VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity). That’s the nature of business. That means we must stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the industry.

They must understand how new technologies can be used to create more effective learning experiences and where the market could go. But all this has to be done in a way that doesn’t fall victim to the shiny-object syndrome. That would be something that may be happening with genAI where some are falling victim. But the cream rises to the crop and the deluge of genAI content will soon filter out the ones failing to use it effectively thinking it’s going to fix all problems or can do it all.

New flash: it can’t and it won’t.

GenAI is especially ill-suited for corporate technical training.

Since organizations as well as the business landscape are always changing, instructional design consultants also must quickly adapt to changing needs and demands. All of this has to be done while adding value that adds to the business rather than taking away.

Instructional design consultantst must work in an environment of constant VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity).

For instance, the rapid growth of mobile technology has had a major impact on the instructional design field. Now, instructional design consultants must be familiar with the various platforms available for developing mobile-based learning experiences. Not only that but they must know the audience’s environment even more since it can vary so much.

When applicable they need to understand how to blend mobile technology into existing training programs. All of this is important but it’s also essential to keep non-technical aspects of people in mind and also blend them. With all the complexities of technology, accessibility is still essential to keep in mind too. Without it training won’t be accessible to all and a large portion of the audience could be left out.

Challenges Faced by Instructional Design Consultants

As the demand continues to grow, so too do the challenges faced by instructional design consultants. It’s easy to call yourself an instructional design consultant and even easier to fail at it. It’s more necessary than ever to not only stand out in the crowd but to also meet the ever-evolving needs of clients.

The rapid pace of technological change means that instructional design consultants must remain agile in their approach That can be a challenge when it’s necessary not to rush things too much and become an order taker. Overcoming the rush and getting things right even at the risk of missing deadlines is challenging but necessary sometimes.

The rapid pace of organizations, the bussiness environment, and changes makes it challenging to have the best answers all the time.

They must be willing and able to quickly adapt to new technologies, trends, demands, and market forces. That ain’t easy!

It’s also necessary to design strategies that meet the changing demands of their clients. This requires instructional design consultants to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the industry and people as a whole. The way people expect to learn and the requirements of the content are constantly in flux.

It’s always a challenge to create effective learning experiences that are both effective and engaging. But it’s doubly difficult in an environment that’s always changing.

Trends Shaping the Future of Instructional Design Consulting

As instructional design consultants look toward the future, several trends will shape the industry. The most prominent of these is the continued integration of technology into training and instruction. And not just integration for the sake of new technology but doing it when it’s effective and meaningful only.

There’s a difference between doing things to be the first or because it’s cool (which is way too common) and doing it when there’s a true business case that brings value. A good instructional design consultant doesn’t fall for the shiny objects even if it means they don’t get to play with them. A job can only be done well when it’s done to bring value to the organization, not the consultant.

With the rise of virtual and augmented reality (AR), when necessary instructional design consultants must be prepared to develop strategies for creating meaningful, immersive, and engaging learning experiences. That also means not implementing AR just because but also not being afraid to jump into the unknown when there’s true value to be gotten.

There’s a fine line between jumping on board new technology for the sake of new technology and being afraid of change.

It’s a difficult balance but we must always be familiar with the various platforms available for developing interactive and engaging learning experiences while also looking at them with a critical eye. Only when there’s true and proven value to be had should you look to new technology.

The use of generative artificial intelligence (genAI) could play a major role in the future of instructional design consulting but that’s not proven yet. For now, it’s just a case of creating massive amounts of poor-quality content which is no excuse to use new technology.

But, as things improve it may be helpful to have genAI-powered chatbots and virtual tutors to help create personalized learning experiences. It may also come in handy for analyzing large amounts of data to evaluate outcomes and provide better direction in the future.

Wrap Up

The future of instructional design consulting is bright that’s for sure. With advances in technology, always-changing business environments, and the need to quickly make sure employees know how to do their jobs effectively, instructional design consultants will be in higher demand than ever before.

The challenge is always being prepared to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the industry and to adapt to changing needs. That and also not tripping over ourselves for new technology but rather looking at it with a critical eye that looks for value, not novelty.

We must be able to create learning experiences that are effective and engaging. Without both of those, there is no value to the business. By understanding the various trends shaping the field, instructional design consultants can be better positioned to meet the needs of their clients and embrace the opportunities presented by a digitally-driven world.

You also can’t forget that sometimes instructional design consultants must not be afraid to say when training isn’t the best solution. Training isn’t always the answer just like the latest new tech isn’t. We’re never afraid to say it when training isn’t the right solution which is why we encourage you to discuss your project with us by scheduling a free consultation.

We’re ready to help your project succeed or point you in the right direction with professional training support including instructional design consulting hourly or on retainer to ensure you always have priority support available for business and training problems/solutions.

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