Instructional Design Hourly Rates

Many students (and former students) ask what they should be charging clients when they do contract work (and I have to figure this out when I am working on a proposal). Hourly rates in instructional design can vary widely (and they should). Rates should vary by task and client. First lets start with some of the  numbers then lets get into more specific reasons to choose an hourly rate.

First, the average instructional design salary is around $78,000 a year in the US. So if we were to calculate an hourly rate based on that it would be $36 and hour (which is 78k a year) but we would add 30% for benefits and retirement, which means that the average instructional design hourly rate should be around $47 an hour. However, given that contract work is not guaranteed and sometimes part time, this rate should be around $50-$60 an hour.

Now there are some other statistics. reports that instructional designers typically charge anywhere from $20-$90 an hour. And this will vary based on task, quality, and speed. They report that most of the foreign companies charging $20-$30 an hour purposely take longer on tasks and do not provide the quality that someone charging $50 and hour would do. Additionally given the role instructional designers play, outsourcing to a foreign country has not worked well for many that have tried it due to the language and time barriers – its very tough for a subject matter expert at your company to have meetings with someone who has a 12 hr time difference and doesn’t know how to put american culture into the training.

Finally, and most importantly elearn Magazine has created this image which shows some numbers by task. Keep in mind this is from 2007 but it does show how different tasks and clients should demand different rates.

So here is a list I have comprised based on stats and my own experience. These should vary based on the task at hand, the quality expected, experience of the contractor, location, and client:

1. Business strategy, proposals, needs analysis, needs assessment – $100-$250 an hour

2. Simple Design (articulate, captivate, PPT) – $60-$100 an hour

3. Advanced Design (simulations and games) – $75-$150 an hour

4. Development with Articulate, Captivate, or other authoring tools -$35-$70 an hour

5. Development that includes programming, Flash, HTML5 – $60-$125 an hour

6. Implementation – $50 an hour

7. Evaluation – $75-$250 an hour

Master’s of Instructional Technology Faculty Position at UNCW

Assistant Professor – Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations, and Secondary Education

Vacancy # 15F059
Position # 6020

Opportunity to join a 64-member faculty in a growing college of education recognized for quality and leadership at the local, state, regional, and national levels. The Watson College of Education (WCE) ( enjoys strong support from our Chancellor, Provost, Dean, and from our university/school partnership that includes 12 school districts in the region.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) is a dynamic and growing campus of the 16-campus UNC system situated on 640 acres in the historic port of Wilmington, five miles from the Atlantic Ocean (Wrightsville Beach). The University is rated as one of the top six public universities in the south by US News and World Report. Current enrollment is 14,000 undergraduates and graduate students. UNCW and the Watson College value and reward undergraduate and graduate teaching, encourage and support faculty research and sustain a high level of service to public education and the profession. The school is accredited by NCATE and all programs are approved by the state of North Carolina. The WCE is housed in a new state-of-the-art education building. The Instructional Technology program offers a Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology. It also sponsors two certificate programs, one in Online Learning and Teaching and another in Instructional Technology Specialist, as well as the Instructional Technology Endorsement program for P-12 teachers.

The Watson College of Education seeks a Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology to join the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations, and Secondary Education in Fall 2015 to:

  • Design, Develop and teach web and/or classroom-based courses in the Master of Science in Instructional Technology (MIT) department as well as teach undergraduate face to face and online courses in instructional design and instructional technology. Sample topics of courses could include multimedia design and development, human performance technology, program design and evaluation, interactive learning systems, and mobile/web design and development.
  • Maintain an active research agenda
  • Advise graduate students
  • Assist in ongoing program revision and assessment
  • Provide leadership and service to the department, WCE, UNCW, state and the profession (active participation in regional/state/national/international associations)
  • Provide service to area schools and businesses

Required Qualifications:

  • Doctorate in Instructional Technology or related field
  • Established or emerging research record in instructional technology or related field
  • Demonstrated expertise in areas such as online learning, interactive courseware, and instructional design and development
  • Experience teaching students with a range of occupational backgrounds including education and private business
  • Demonstrated  collaborative working skills and commitment to diversity
  • Experience with multiple authoring software technologies

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in corporate, government, or consulting settings
  • Experience teaching online in both synchronous and asynchronous environments
  • Experience in K-12 settings

Priority consideration will be given to applications received by December 15, 2014 but applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

To apply, please complete the online application process available on the Web at A letter of application, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references should be addressed to the Instructional Technology Search Committee and attached to the online applicationNo applications will be accepted by email, mail or fax. MS Word or Adobe PDF attachments are required. For questions regarding the online application process, contact Linda Register at 910-962-7539. Transcripts are not necessary for initial review; they will be required of candidates invited to participate in phone interviews. Please direct questions about the position to Ray Pastore, Chair, Instructional Technology Search Committee,

UNC Wilmington actively fosters a diverse and inclusive working and learning environment and is an equal-opportunity employer. Qualified men and women from all racial, ethnic or other minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Ready Player One

I recently had the chance to read the book Ready Player One (to see what it is about please read the synopsis below). This is a great book for use in gaming and educational classrooms. I will more than likely be incorporating it into my Gaming and Simulation class. The books does a great job of predicting what our world might look like in years to come. While a fiction book the idea behind VR technology and its role in our lives and internet may not be far off. In fact, as the technology progresses I believe its pretty spot on. So I definitely recommend this text to anyone interested in gaming, instructional technology, or in need a fun book to read. I also love all of the 80s references as I grew up in the 80s and loved reading about games like Joust and Adventure – 2 of my favorites from Atari. You can read more about the book here:

Book synopsis:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. 

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.   

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 

A world at stake.

A quest for the ultimate prize.

Are you ready?

Should you go to college?

Should you go to college?

This is an interesting question in a time where student debts are becoming outrageous and grads are struggling to find jobs. I am going to explain my thoughts on this question.

First – who shouldn’t go to college?

College is not for everyone. If you have other plans and already know what you want to do (and it doesn’t require a college degree) then maybe you do not need to go. No one forces anyone to go to college. It’s a choice. If that seems like the only choice given to students – blame their mentors, parents, themselves, etc. because it is a choice. Maybe you won’t need that degree to start up a business. However, keep in mind that even Donald Trump sent his kids to college and then on to an MBA before letting them help him run his business empire. Are you going into the military? Well you may not need college right away. Then there are other reasons too: Are you immature? Don’t know what you want to do? Are not motivated? Are better with a trade/skill then books? Then maybe you should reconsider and figure out what you should be doing before going into college – or even consider trade school or community college first. Also, sometimes taking a few years off from school after high school and working or something (such as volunteering) can help you decide if college is right for you and give you time to mature. And these are just some of the reasons students should not go. Please though, do not avoid college because ‘bill gates’ or marc zukerburg’ didn’t go. Remember both of them went to Harvard and then dropped out. They were not normal people. They each got nearly perfect on their SATs, had started companies while in high school, and eventually dropped out of Harvard when they got what they needed at Harvard (and without Harvard neither Microsoft or Facebook might be here today). Bill Gates was so smart he was exempt from Math in high school so he could program computers. So more than likely you should not be using them as examples.

Is college worth it?

The simple answer is Yes. The more complicated answer is that it depends because its no guarantee to success and please note that it never has been that or claimed to be that. The numbers definitely say it is. In fact, any way you look at the numbers it is definitely worth going to college. College is an investment in yourself. Are you worth investing in? That is up to you. I went to college for 12 years and it was definitely worth it. I learned how to think, critique, evaluate, problem solve, and how to work. I feel that I mostly made good decisions with my courses, schools, and majors. If you pick a major that you are not interested in and then do not use the degree then maybe it would not be worth it. I often hear people say there are worthless majors in college but I usually can disagree with their points because most majors are there because some job demanded them. Just because you are not familiar with a subject and the jobs it leads to does not make it wrong. Take art history for example (a major usually brought up in this type of discussion) when you do a simple google search you find that these majors are highly desired in museums, auctions, and so on – thus its actually a very needed and valuable major. Its when someone goes into art history and then decides that they want to do something else that the major could be seen as ‘not valuable’ to that person while in fact the degree is very highly valuable when used. Now for some numbers – a report just released by the Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington said that college graduates make on average – 98% more per hour than those without degrees. 98%! In fact, any way you look at the numbers college grads are significantly better off. Unemployment of college grads is less than half that of the overall population. The lifetime salaries are also significantly higher and that gap keeps growing. That doesn’t mean that someone without college will not make a lot of money, it just means on average, people do not.

Some numbers:

How much someone earns over their lifetime:

Median annual earnings of full-time year-round wage and salary workers ages 25–34, by educational attainment: 1995–2012 from

earning by age:

Is college too expensive?

Yes and no. Most students leave college owing about 25k, which in my opinion is not bad considering that is how much an average car costs (something most people pay off in 5 years). In fact you can check out the average student debt here:

You can get a very good college education for 25-50k at a community or public university. “According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.” ( Thus 8-9k per year for a public university = 32k total. If you were to work and go to one of these schools you would probably graduate with zero debt – I did and I went to college for 12 years. In fact, I had a savings. Now of course if you go to a college that costs 250k for a bachelors degree and go into a profession that makes 50k a year you are going to have trouble paying that off. This is no different than buying a house or car you cannot afford. If you cannot afford it, don’t do it. So do not blame the college for costing so much, blame the student for choosing a college they could not afford. Just remember, college prices are similar to car prices – there are cars that cost 10k-20k new and cars that are 250k new. You cant say cars are expensive and only be referring to that 250k car while ignoring all of the 10k ones and people sometimes also need legal help to do these purchases and the use of a lawyers from is a really helpful with this . Additionally, while there may be a quality difference in cars there is much less of a quality difference in colleges. In fact, many colleges have very similar quality (to an extent) – whether public, private, or ivy league. What differs? Well the connections you make while attending but overall education will not be too much different (it will be different I just want to stress its not as significant as the car example I used). Its really about what you put into it. Professors are guides, guiding students. They cannot force you to do well or be successful. One last thing to point out here – if you are concerned that public universities are increasing their tuition too much each year, please look at how much funding is being cut from them by the state before jumping to other conclusions (although keep in mind other factors are always at play but the biggest cause for an increase right now is state funding being cut). Remember that while in state students might only pay 5k a semester to go to school, the state is paying the rest of their tuition – it actually costs about the same as a private school when its all said and done (because you pay tuition and the state pays the rest of your tuition). So when the state cuts funding by 10%, there might need to be a 10% increase in tuition to make up for that the money the state was paying for your tuition. While those numbers I just presented are not exact by any means, it is how it works. So take that into consideration when you wonder why tuition is going up. See here for more information on that.

When should you consider college?

1. When you want to learn. College is great for this. Its not the only way but if you are interested in engineering, its very difficult to learn it on your own for a million different reasons (motivation being the biggest). If people could learn everything on their own there would be no such thing as classes – people would just go to the library or internet and figure it out. This does not work though – people are not motivated to do that and cannot know if they have or have not fulfilled competencies that someone in the field they are studying should know.

2. You want to enter a career that requires a college education. So you want to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, architect, museum curator, etc – well they all require degrees.

Lastly I will leave you with this: My kids will be going to college. Most of my colleagues kids will be going to college. Most doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. kids will be going to college. There is a reason: Education is valuable and it can really pay off.

College Tuition

Complaining that college tuition is too high and going to a school that is 60k a year is like owning a ferrari and complaining that cars cost too much. Just as there are new cars for under 10k, there are colleges that cost around 40-50k for the entire 4 year degree.

Learn to teach online: Online Teaching and Learning (OT&L) Certificate from UNCW

If you are a teacher, professor, or corporate trainer, UNCW has put together an online teaching and learning certificate program that trains and prepares you to teach online.

Here is the official description. A link the program is here:

Program Description

The certificate program in Online Teaching and Learning (OT&L) will provide participants with a diversity of learning experiences. These include design, development, implementation, and management of online courses using various Learning Management Systems (LMS); design and delivery of synchronous learning environments and learning management systems; design and development of electronic, self-directed learning materials, and others. The program is designed to be flexible in order to remain current with developing technologies and delivery systems.

The intention for establishing this proposed graduate certificate program has been discussed with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), Division of Instructional Technology. Although an official endorsement has not been established for K-12 educators yet, NCDPI has expressed its interest and support for the program and for considering Online Teaching and Learning endorsement for K-12 educators who will take the challenge of teaching online courses in their schools.

Until NCDPI officially establishes special endorsement for K-12 teachers who complete the certificate program, the licensed teachers who fulfill requirements of the program will receive Online Teaching and Learning professional certificate similar to other candidates from higher education, health, and other government agencies and business industries. By completing this certificate program, the licensed teachers and other candidates have required competencies for teaching online courses and managing online programs.

Certificate Program Objectives

The certificate program seeks to prepare professionals who have:

  1. Developed knowledge and skills of designing, developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating online learning environments and programs.
  2. Developed conceptual and practical understanding of principles of instructional design and effective online teaching.
  3. Demonstrated application of research-based, pedagogically effective learning strategies, appropriate organization of content, level of student engagement, differentiated learning, higher order thinking skills, and appropriate instructor-student and student-student interaction in the design of online learning environments.
  4. Demonstrated skills in integrating instructional design principles and procedures with multimedia technologies and course management tools to develop highly engaging and interactive online learning environments.
  5. Developed skills of planning, designing and incorporating strategies to encourage active learning, interaction, participation and collaboration in the online environment.
  6. Developed knowledge of legal, ethical, safe, and healthy behavior related to technology use.
  7. Developed knowledge and skills of designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating online learning environments and programs that are accessible for individuals with disabilities and are responsive to learners’ diversity and cultural differences.
  8. Demonstrated competencies in creating and implementing assessments in online learning environments in ways that assure validity and reliability of instruments and procedures.
  9. Demonstrated administrative skills in planning, launching, maintaining, and coordinating distance education programs.

Confusion over ADDIE

Why are we trying to replace ADDIE? What is wrong with ADDIE? Should we be replacing ADDIE? Let’s replace ADDIE with XYZ. 

I keep seeing these discussions over and over again in the field. Why? I am actually not quite sure. One guess is that people can ‘get known’ or ‘make money’ off of a new process. Maybe people just like to see new things – after all we are a tech field where nothing lasts more than 2 years. Honestly though I am not quite sure why we are trying to replace ADDIE.

So what is ADDIE?

ADDIE is a design process used for training design and development. You can read about what it is here.

The big question though, can we replace it?

The simple and short answer is NO. You cannot. Unfortunately for the people trying to replace ADDIE, it cannot and will not be replaced in instructional design. We might call it something else or even have our own unique way of doing it but guess what – its still ADDIE. That’s right. Regardless of what someone tells you – you will always need to do an analysis before you start a project. Always. 70% of projects in corporate america do not meet their desired expectations (as in fail) and one of the main reasons is a poor analysis (1, 2). If you want to fall in that category then do not do your analysis. I prefer to be in the ‘successful’ project category so I do analysis.

Guess what, (and this is the kicker) there is not one way to do an analysis or any step in the ADDIE process. That’s right – each company, project, branch of the military, contractor, etc has their own way of doing ADDIE that works for them. It does not need to be linear and each step, for instance, analysis, might need to be done differently for each project you work on. There is no one way to do analysis. This is really where things like SAM, AGILE, Rapid Prototyping, Dick and Carey, etc come in. They do not replace ADDIE. Instead, they define how to do one or many of the steps in ADDIE. And they are 1 of a 1000 ways to do it. Do not think one of them is the ‘best’ all the time. You need to change these steps for each project or client due to the million different factors that comes with that client/project. So guess what? They are all just ways to do ADDIE. They are NOT replacing it at all.


ADDIE – Development


*If you are just coming to this screen, you might want to read about ADDIE, Analysis, or Design first

During this phase of instructional design (ADDIE) we develop our instructional product and get it ready for implementation.

Prototype – From our design, we should build our prototype. This can be a screen shot or mock-up of screens that show what the final product could look like. It is very important to get client approval here before moving onto storyboard development. These should also look good – so get a graphic designer to design them if needed. These will help the developer and graphic designer in the long run when looking at the storyboards if these are done well.

Storyboard – This is the story. Each screen (or scene/action if developing a game) will be depicted. Everything we have done in design will aid in the development of the storyboards. The client should be able to look at these (and see the visual in the prototype) and have an exact idea of what the final product will look and feel like. Again, these need to be signed off on.

Development – Once the storyboards are completed, development can begin. Thus, the instructional developer, programmers, graphic artists, etc. will develop the software or instruction. This might involve one to many different deliverables depending on the type of instruction being developed (i.e., CBT, software, game, simulation, training manual, instructor guide, etc.)

System Testing – During this phase the LMS, network, etc. should be tested (if needed) to ensure that the servers and network are prepared for the implementation. This is the time that the IT team and ISDers work out any system glitches, especially if delivering this to many users. This way when implementation is ready the rollout will run without glitches. And if you’re looking to effectively build and deploy your app, you should learn more about the event based architecture business.


xbox one’s best feature and how it can be applied to business and education

I recently obtained an xbox one. After a few weeks of playing around I have found what I believe is an awesome feature with tons of potential in gaming, education, and business. The feature? The Kinect recording feature. Essentially this is basically like an in game DVR service. So when I am playing a game and I do something that I believe is cool I can say ‘xbox record that’ and it will automatically record the last 30 seconds of play and put that away in my stored videos. Now this is awesome because it does not interrupt my gameplay at all. I dont need to press a button, stop playing, or go back and watch a clip later on to choose a part I want to have.

Now how does this apply to business and education? Well in all of my classes there is an archive that is basically a recorded video of the class. The problem? Its 3 hours long each week. Just imagine a student looking for one chunk of information from that class and having to sort through all of that video. Just imagine if during the class the student could place some kind of marker on the class so that they could come back? This would be like taking notes without having to actually take the notes and thus not distract the student from listening. This exact thing could take place during business meetings and such. Now I realize that there are recording devices out there that do this kind of thing but its not seamless and as easy as xbox’s kinect.