The field of instructional design is growing. Yet the more opportunities expand, the harder it becomes to answer a seemingly simple question: What should a competent instructional designer be able to do?

In this new report, Today’s Instructional Designer: Competencies and Careers, Cecelia Munzenmaier examines the role of the instructional designer. She traces it back to its beginnings during World War II, when the US military had to train large numbers of draftees to operate unfamiliar equipment in stressful situations. The training had to be quick, and the results had to be consistent.

The field has since evolved immensely, but it has also become more difficult to define its parameters. Is an instructional designer someone who can keep up with all the latest technologies? Someone who can manage all phases of a learning project from needs assessment to completion? A professional who has the theoretical and practical knowledge to design effective instructional solutions? Barriers to entry into the profession are high, expectations keep increasing, career paths are changing, and disciplines are converging. The role of the instructional designer continues to change—find out where the profession is today, and where it’s going tomorrow.

This report features a preface by Allison Rossett.