How to Become an Instructional Designer: The Ultimate Resource List

How to Become an Instructional Designer: The Ultimate Resource List. Illustration of a woman at a computer.
This post is a curated list of resources for new instructional designers and those looking to transition to ID.

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Introduction

Learning and development careers are booming. As more instructional designers enter the field, they are bound to have a lot of questions, such as:

  • How do I break into instructional design?
  • Do I need a certificate or Master’s program?
  • I’m a teacher; how do I transition into instructional design?
  • Who should I follow in L&D?
  • What books should I read to learn more?

Fortunately, the world of L&D is full of helpers—people who want to see you succeed. These helpers have given freely of their time and wisdom to create a wealth of resources that can help you grow in your career.

I’ve curated many of these resources for new instructional designers and those looking to transition to ID. Bookmark this post so you can share it the next time someone asks one of the above questions!  

Communities/Organizations

These are free or low-cost communities with many resources and events to further your career:

Personally, I’ve gotten the most value from my TLDC membership (which only costs $75/year). Even if you’re not a paid member, TLDC offers many free learning events throughout the year. And it’s an amazing community! 

LinkedIn Groups

Facebook Groups

Books

Here are some of my favorite L&D books that I think all instructional designers should have. It was hard to narrow down the list!

Start Here

These books provide fundamental information for new IDs in an easy-to-read format.

*I haven’t read Dr. Hobson’s book yet, but I’m hearing good things!

And Don't Miss These

Recommendations for Your Personal Learning Network

Building a personal learning network (PLN) is one of the easiest FREE things you can do to learn and grow in your career. I encourage you to leverage LinkedIn, at a minimum, to build connections and find people from whom you can learn.

To learn about how to set up your own PLN, read Nicole Pappaioannou Lugara’s post, Plan for a PLN: How to Leverage Personal Learning Networks.

The following L&D professionals consistently post valuable content on LinkedIn to help others with career development:

(I’m sure there are many others; these are just the ones who came to mind.)

Twitter Accounts to Follow

I also find Twitter to be immensely helpful, so here are 50 of my favorite accounts to follow there:

  1. Association for Talent Development (@atd)
  2. Bianca Woods (@eGeeking)
  3. Brian Dusablon (@briandusablon)
  4. Cammy Bean (@cammybean)
  5. Cara North (@caranorth11)
  6. Cath Ellis (@cathellis)
  7. Cathy Moore (@CatMoore)
  8. Chief Learning Officer (@CLOmedia)
  9. Christopher Pappas (@cpappas)
  10. Christy Tucker (@ChristyATucker)
  11. Clark Quinn (@Quinnovator)
  12. Connie Malamed (@elearningcoach)
  13. Dave Ferguson (@Dave_Ferguson)
  14. David Anderson (@elearning)
  15. David Kelly (@LnDDave)
  16. Devlin Peck (@devpeck)
  17. Donald Clark (@DonaldClark)
  18. Alec Couros (@courosa)
  19. eLearning Industry (@elearningindustry)
  20. Guild Academy (@TheGuildAcademy)
  21. Guy Wallace (@guywwallace)
  22. Jane Bozarth (@janebozarth)
  23. Jayne Davids (@Jaynedavids)
  24. Judy Katz (@jdyktz)
  25. Julie Dirksen (@usablelearning)
  26. Karl Kapp (@kkapp)
  27. Kevin Thorn (@LearnNuggets)
  28. Learn Chat (@lrnchat) – Weekly chat Thursdays at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT
  29. Learning Ninjas (@learningninjas)
  30. Learning Science Weekly (@LearnSciWeekly)
  31. Margie Meacham (@margiemeacham)
  32. Mike Taylor (@tmiket)
  33. Nancy Duarte (@nancyduarte)
  34. Nicole Papaioannou Lugara (@NicolePapaPhD)
  35. Patti Shank (@pattishank)
  36. Ray Jimenez (@RayJimenez)
  37. Shannon Tipton (@stipton)
  38. Susi Miller (@elahub1)
  39. TD Magazine (@TDMag)
  40. The Learning Guild (@LearningGuild)
  41. Tim Slade (@sladetim)
  42. TLDC (@the_tldc)
  43. Tom McDowall (@tommcdowall3)
  44. Tracy Carroll (@1tracycarroll)
  45. Tracy Parish (@Tracy_Parish)
  46. Training Magazine (@TrainingMagUS)
  47. Tricia Ransom (@TriciaRansom)
  48. Vanessa Alzate (@AnchoredTrning)
  49. Will Thalheimer (@WillWorkLearn)
  50. Zsolt Olah (@rabbitoreg)

I’d also love for you to follow me: @kayleenholt and @ScissortailCS.

Resources Specifically for Teachers Transitioning to ID

As a former teacher myself, I have a soft spot in my heart for educators who are looking to get into ID, so here’s some information just for teachers.

The first place you’ll want to go is Sara Stevick’s TPLD website: Teaching: A Path to Learning and Development. You’ll find a really helpful community along with webinars, job boards, resume examples, and other resources—all for FREE.

Here are some additional resources just for teachers:

Summary

If you found this list useful, I hope you will share it with others who are new to L&D or looking to join the career field.

What great resources did I miss? Please share your favorite resources for new instructional designers in the comments below!

More To Explore

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