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C2C Digital Magazine (Fall 2021 / Winter 2022)

Colleague 2 Colleague, Author
Cover, page 10 of 23


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New year, new title?

By Hattie Wiley, Instructional Designer, National Weather Service

If you take a peek at the job boards, you will find that the call for “remote instructional designers” is now blowing up. Hey, good news, we are in high demand. Bad news, or at least a place to pause for concern, I’m not sure everyone truly understands the role of the instructional designer. I mean, c’mon, my own mother thinks I am a computer programmer, and to be fair “instructional designer” is a really poor choice for a title for the type of work we do.

A rose by any other name...

Instructional Systems Designs begins with research and analysis, which means…. a solution has yet to be identified. You may or may not end up “designing” instructional materials. The best solution may be more performance support structures such as an accessible knowledgebase, consistent coaching from supervisors, job aides, or even organizational restructuring. Yet the name, instructional designer, implies that your sole purpose is to create instructional materials. We need to be rebranded.

A rose by any other name huh? However, if you tell someone you are handing them a rose and it turns out to be a hot roll, chaos emerges. When reality does not meet expectations, miscommunications and unnecessarily stressful situations ensue. So, I say, out with that awful title.

Call me something snazzy!

We should be known as "Performance Development Specialists," or something snazzy like that? What say you? What do you feel is the most appropriate title for a person who fulfills the roles of instructional designer?

  • Instructional Designer
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Performance Development Specialist
  • E-Learning Developer or Designer
  • Learning Strategist
  • Learning & Development Specialist
  • E-Learning Consultant
  • Other: [ADD HERE]

Vote on Google Forms!

Try out the survey (in Google Forms) here, and check out what others say, too! 

About the Author

Hattie Wiley, Ph.D. has over 20 years of combined academic, corporate, and government experience in the eLearning, training, and leadership development industry.  She currently serves as an instructional design specialist in the National Weather Service. Her duties include consultation, training, and coaching in all aspects of project management, instructional design, performance development, and educational technology. In addition, she designs and developments on-site and online training for a variety of subject matter. Her specialties include leadership development, governance, interactive online training, and internal (training department) training.

Her academic interest lies in the intersectionality of complexity science, action research, and instructional design. She is currently working on turning her dissertation, “The Broadening of Leadership Development Science through Complexity Science and Action Research”, into a book - Wicked ISD. Her dissertation was published as open access in proquest at

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