You’re in charge of training for your organization and you just convinced upper management to give the green light for purchasing some online training software.  With it, you hope to develop a time and money-saving employee training program that can replace your traditional program.

The e-training software seems super easy to use and you’re excited about having a streamlined process.  There’s only one problem: you don’t actually know how to create the training courses.  What’s your next step?  You need to hire a freelance instructional designer.

Instructional designers are professionals who specialize in designing training and e-learning courses at companies and academic institutions.  They have broad experience working with different e-training software and learning management system software.  In addition, they have knowledge of different pedagogical approaches to learning and may or may not have physical classroom experience.

Where can I hire a freelance instructional designer?

LinkedInIf you’re looking to hire a freelance instructional designer, then three websites which you might want to consider looking at are UpworkLinkedIn and Airtasker.  Upwork is a site where you can find a freelancer for just about any project.  The freelancers come from all around the world, and you can communicate with them via email or Skype.

As someone who’s used Upwork in a variety of projects, I can tell you that the quality can range from “meh” to “wow”.  With this in mind, you might want to consider hiring an instructional designer from Upwork for a small job.  Then, if you’re happy with the work, you can then re-hire him or her for a bigger job and start developing a long-term working relationship.

With LinkedIn, you can find instructional designers using the site’s search feature.  With a quick search for the term “instructional designers”, I found 1,240 jobs and 25 Instructional Designer groups.  In addition, with LinkedIn’s search feature, you can further limit your candidates to ones who live close to you.

Airtasker is a trusted community platform that connects people who need to outsource tasks and find local services, with people who are looking to earn money and ready to work. There is a range of tasks available on Airtasker from tasks around the home like deliveries, cleaning, gardening, handyman and mechanics, work to tasks for businesses like office admin, promotional work or computer & IT support.

Now that you’ve found some potential instructional designer candidates, you need to figure out if they’re right for the job.

What characteristics should your instructional designer have?

person with technologyFirst, they should be tech savvy.  If you plan on setting up a Skype interview with your instructional designer, and they can’t figure out how to register for a Skype account, then this is a bad sign.  Today’s instructional designers should feel very comfortable with technology, since more and more training is moving to the online environment.

Are they on LinkedIn or Google+?  Do they have a blog? Though not absolutely necessary, the more online evidence that you can find about the instructional designer, the more indicative it will be that they feel comfortable in the online Universe.

In addition, the instructional designer should have good communication skills.  When you hire a freelance instructional designer, you might just have a short period of time to develop the online training courses.  Because of this, clear communication is a must.

As part of the interview process, send them some emails.  If they don’t answer within a few hours during this wooing period, this is a sign that communication will be even more challenging once they’re hired.

The instructional designer should also be willing to provide samples.  And, the samples should be available online and easily accessible.

In addition, the instructional designer’s style should match what you’re looking for.  If your company is looking for training courses that are “fun”, then don’t hire an instructional designer whose work looks like it belongs in a museum.  If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something a little more serious, then don’t hire an instructional designer whose courses are full of cartoon imagery.

meetingFurther, the instructional designer should seem easy to work with.  Instructional designers don’t work in a vacuum.  They’re going to work with you or someone else in the organization to develop the course.  Because of this, their personality should be one that seems open to criticism and one that is flexible in their approach.

One way to find out whether they are flexible is to ask them to critique their own work.  If they seem reluctant or get defensive, then there could be challenges ahead.  If, on the other hand, they seem open to discussion, this is a good sign that they will be willing to listen to ideas which are not their own.


Hiring a freelance instructional designers can be a great way for companies to develop their online training program.  And, using the web to find your instructional designer, you can then limit your choices to an instructional designer with the right set of characteristics.

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