Instruction Design employment – response requested

Cropped photo of textbook cover reading "Instructional Design"

I know someone with a teaching background in tertiary education (no phd) contemplating changing career to become an instructional designer, but they’ve asked me a few questions. As one part of a response for them I thought I’d post those questions and ask y’all what you think…

Are there flexible Instructional Design jobs?

At first glance, instructional design (or learning design if you prefer) looks like a job you could do from anywhere and which need not be full time. However, in practice, all the instructional designers I know and all the instructional designer jobs I’ve seen advertised are full time and tied to being in an office at a specific campus or business location. Given the intensive and collaborative nature of instructional design work thisdoesn’t surprise me but I wonder if I’m seeing all the picture. Is there a wider part-time/ distance or contract work market?

What should an Instructional Designer study?

There are different approaches to getting into instructional design. There’s instructional design specific Master’s courses, education Master’s with a strong instructional design element, and a relevant Master’s and add instructional design Certificate.
For someone shifting direction to instructional design or wanting to add instructional design as part of a transition to other stuff – does it matter what you study?

How does an Instructional Designer get started?

And finally the over-riding note I’ve heard in conversations so far is experience trumps all, and most folk are looking to hire instructional designers with 2+ yrs of experience. So… what opportunities are there to get instructional design experience alongside (or, in any way before?) studying it.

In case this is of wider interest I thought I’d set this up as a post here and invite comment.

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