What’s in a Name?

I attended the Intel Learning Summit this week and an intern posed an interesting question: “Should we call ourselves instructional designers?” The reason for his question was his dismay at the number of titles he’d discovered while trying to search for a job. Learning Specialist, Instructional Technologist, Trainer… What does it all mean and would he limit himself by calling himself an “Instructional Designer”?

My response to this was that he should focus less on his title and more on his elevator pitch. Having a succinct explanation of the skills and value he brings to the organization speaks to what he can do for a potential employer. This can be incorporated into a resume and used in follow up communications.

Someone else responded that we should not focus on Instructional Design as a role, but instead highlight that we have the skill of instructional design. Our skills allow us to solve business problems, whether we do it with a learning solution, a job aid, or a process change. This is a far-reaching skill that allows us to fill a range of roles.

Another response suggested changing his title multiple times in tools like Monster.com to see what different results are returned. Instructional Designer, Learning Architect…

What do you think?