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Mentoring for Instructional Designers

So many instructional designers fall into this profession accidentally that there’s a book written about it.

I’m super lucky to have a second masters in instructional design and to teach in an instructional design program – but I am still the only person that does what I do on my campus.* I constantly crave general feedback on my work so that I can improve! I know I’m not alone in this feeling, lots of people are the sole instructional designer at their place of work, and it’s really difficult to figure out how to even begin to get better at what you do. Just like in teaching, meaningful feedback is crucial to the learning process. Without meaningful feedback on my work, I won’t improve very much. It’s a lot of trial and error.

This is why I’m so excited about this new peer mentoring program for instructional designers that’s being launched by Penn State, called ID2ID. The program will match instructional designers across institutions of higher education to allow them to peer mentor each other.

Imagine if you’re the sole instructional designer at your campus, but suddenly you’re in contact with someone else at another campus that has the same challenges? It would be incredible to be able to work with someone else to trade ideas and solutions!

As an Inside Higher Ed article that covers this program quotes a source, “people are being thrust into new responsibilities, but they don’t know how to do some [things]…they want to sit down with others who have the same problems.” Yes, yes they do!

As an Instructional Design Librarian, I’m not sure if this is the best program for me, unless I was matched with another librarian or with someone in charge of developing online tutorials. I haven’t decided yet if I will apply. But I really hope this program is successful and continues in the future, because I think it’s filling a critical need for so many instructional designers. We truly need to build larger communities of practice.


*We do have campus instructional designers that work with faculty, but as the Instructional Design Librarian, I’m the only one on campus developing elearning, designing information literacy tutorials, launching digital badge programs, etc.