Instructional design competencies

Instructional designers help individuals and organizations, in increasingly diverse contexts, expedite learning processes through a deliberate use of learning strategies, resources and technologies.

Instructional designers are called to play many roles, including performance analyst, project manager, strategic and learning consultant, researcher, instructor, writer, project manager, media and web developer, trainer, evaluator and asset manager.

Instructional Design Competencies

Read more about Instructional Designer Competencies

The 2012 Competency set captures the current perception of practitioners around the world.

Such strategically critical and far-reaching role has proven to require a combination of unique professional qualifications, as well as other content, context, technology and organization-specific skills, in order to satisfy the design and implementation demands of their assignments.

The practice of instructional design historically has attracted professionals from very diverse backgrounds, including, but not limited to education, psychology, engineering, business & management, computer science, communications, media production, etc.  Whether formal training in the discipline has been received or not, practitioners, hiring organizations and educational institutions ideally need to operate on the basis of a core set of accepted expectations for a given discipline or role.

In the absence of a recognized accrediting body, as practiced by other disciplines such as medicine, law and architecture, the personal and organizational adoption of internationally validated standards is the next-best solution for establishing benchmarks for professional excellence and quality service.  This is the spirit of the ibstpi® standards.

The original set of Instructional Design Competencies, the first of its kind, was developed in 1986 and was the result of more than a year of research, discussion, and validation by a group of instructional design professionals and academics.

Since this first set, much has changed in the landscape of practice, technology and developments in the major theories that underpin the instructional design field.

In response to this changing environment, the ibstpi® Board set out to review and revise the ID competencies in the year 2000 and, more recently, in 2012. With every revision, more elements have been added to the process, including:

  1. The influence of advanced technologies, team-based design, and business management skills;
  2. The professional foundations of design, as well as planning and analysis, design and development, and implementation and management skills;
  3. A categorization of competencies as Essential or Advanced;
  4. A larger representation of professionals around the world (including Directors, consulted experts and working professionals participating in the validation studies).

Instructional Designer Competencies

Competency statements only

instructional designer standards

Instructional Designer Standards

Competencies and performance statements


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Copyright Guidelines:

The ibstpi® Standards Sets (Competencies and Performance Statements), whether in English or another language, are covered by copyright laws and intellectual property standards. Therefore, should you wish to share and/or distribute the Standards with anyone, in any format (digital, paper copies, etc.), you must seek permission to from ibstpi® to do so.

ibstpi® Standards Sets, containing the associated competencies and performance statements, are not to be published in any form, on any public, private, or internal websites that can be accessed by any member of the public, inside or outside of your organization, without prior explicit permission from ibstpi®.

Purchasing or accessing this personal set of ibstpi® Standards Sets (Competencies and Performance Statements) does not constitute permission to adopt them across your organization, with others you are associated with, or with your own clients.

You may only use this ibstpi® Standards Set for your own personal use. This does NOT allow you to post the Standards Set, or any part of it, in venues where others can access or read the stated standards, competencies, or performance statements.

ALL non-personal, external uses require the user (purchaser of this ibstpi® Standards Set) to register with ibstpi® as a user and negotiate permission to copy, distribute, post, etc. prior to release of any information within this ibstpi® Standards Set. This negotiation may include determining a royalty agreement.

Guidelines for Authors, Researchers, and Learners:

We welcome authors, researchers and learners to make reference to, or use, ibstpi® Competencies and Standards Sets (Competencies + Performance Statements) in their work. Several research papers, professional presentations, theses, and dissertations have been written about the ibstpi® standards, some using, with permission, ibstpi® competencies and performance statements as instrumentation for research.

We acknowledge that ongoing research by other scholars is necessary to continue the discourse that validates as well as challenges the characterization of a professional practice. General references to ibstpi® works (e.g., books, Standards Sets, etc.) should be made in the appropriate citation format (i.e., APA) for your work.

However, it is compulsory for authors and researchers (including students) to contact ibstpi® about their intended uses to replicate all or any portion of an ibstpi® Standards Set. The negotiation with ibstpi® will include a description of your work context (for profit/non-profit, education, research, etc.), how and how much of the competencies and standards are intended to be used by requestors, and publication and/or research plans.

Based on the request, ibstpi® will provide specific guidelines as to the use and subsequent publication of the competencies and performance statements and may suggest a payment or royalty, as appropriate.

Reprinting of and using the ibstpi® Standards Sets, beyond personal uses, without permission is a violation of copyright law and intellectual property standards.

We invite those who reference or use ibstpi® Standards in their work to share results and references to publications and presentations, etc. so that we can highlight them on the ibstpi® website. Contact us here.