November/December 2023 Society Pages

The Instructional Design & Learning Special Interest Group (IDL-SIG)

Learn all about the IDL-SIG and its offerings, which include webinars, workshops, student outreach, and more.

By Maralee Sautter | Associate Fellow

IDL-SIG LogoThe Instructional Design and Learning Special Interest Group (IDL-SIG) has a widely varied membership. Our business professionals include instructional designers, trainers, technical writers, technical editors, graphics designers, while our academic members range from instructors to full professors preparing the next generation of technical communicators. The SIG philosophy is that the core attributes of a technical writer overlap with those in instructional design so we offer a broad range of activities to our members.

The IDL-SIG’s mission is to help all STC members identify and develop knowledge and practical skills for designing, developing, and implementing technical instruction in electronic and traditional classroom settings. The SIG strives to promote sound design practices and provide information and education about instructional theory and research. Our goals are to build instructional design skills by extending educational opportunities to the three major groups of members by:

  • Leveraging practitioner knowledge through mentoring and training less experienced members.
  • Providing technical writers with ways to transition into instructional design.
  • Mentoring students with an interest in instructional design as a career.
Webinars & Workshops

The IDL-SIG hosts webinars and workshops in many areas of technical communication, including instructional design, training and teaching, usability, web design, management, accessibility, and more.

IDL-SIG workshops range from performance methods to practical knowledge of what it takes to become an instructional designer. These workshops are lengthier and take a deeper dive into a topic, some taking place over several months.

Webinars: IDL-SIG members and students enjoy free webinars with a nominal charge for non-members.

Workshops: IDL-SIG members and students enjoy reduced rates for workshops with a slightly higher rate for STC members.

Mini-Conference: On 21 October 2023, the IDL-SIG held a mini-conference for technical communicators with an underlying theme of instructional design. The event was a first for the IDL-SIG and we hope to repeat the conference in 2024.

Student Outreach

The IDL-SIG believes in encouraging students who pursue formal training in instructional design or technical writing. The SIG provides training and mentoring opportunities for students that want hands-on experience. Many student volunteers advance to positions on the leadership team where they polish their management, organizational, and tools skills. We provide opportunities for students to expand their experience by participating in our monthly First Fridays at 5 (FF@5) and Student Article Writing Competition.

First Fridays at 5

FF@5 is regularly held on the first Friday of the month at 5 p.m. ET. This virtual networking event is run by student volunteers under the mentorship of professional technical communicators. Both students and professionals enjoy networking in this relaxed virtual environment. The formats vary. Some events include a short presentation on a specific topic followed by conversation and questions from the audience, while others are entirely networking. The student volunteers also gain experience while creating and presenting PowerPoint presentations, writing and editing articles regarding the events, and using project management techniques to bring their presentation to completion. For more information and student liaison contacts, visit our Student Member News page at,

Student Article Writing Competition

The IDL-SIG invites undergraduate- and graduate-level students at various universities to submit an article related to instructional design for the Student Article Writing Competition. The best entries are published in the IDeaL newsletter. Students can link articles in their portfolio. Winners enjoy a free one-year STC membership, and the ability to network with other ID practitioners and experts. The applicants retain copyright to their work and may cite their published articles in their resumes.

To learn about competition details, go to

IDL-SIG Benefits

Industry-recognized training through educational webinars is one of the membership benefits, and a list of additional benefits follow:

  • Newsletter: IDeaL: Design for Learning. Find quarterly newsletter editions at,
  • Website: Visit our website at,
  • Social Media: Connect through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, and more. The social media links are on the IDL-SIG homepage,, right sidebar, as shown in the graphic.
  • Social Media Logos

  • Discussions: Post questions and share IDL information and experiences using STC’s Slack workspace. Instructions on joining Slack are at, Be sure to add the #sig-instructional-design channel.
  • Announcements: SIG leadership announces upcoming SIG conference activities, webinars and events, and other important items that require a quick, one-way message. Members are automatically added to the announcement list (Mailchimp) when they join or renew SIG membership.
Volunteer Opportunities

The SIG depends on members to the Instructional Design & Learning SIG. Leadership experience looks great on your resume. Here are a few reasons why volunteering is good for you:

  • On-the-job, management training
  • Opportunities to meet like-minded folks
  • Opportunities to network and learn from professionals
  • Increased desirability as a job candidate
  • Promotes personal growth and a sense of giving back.

Interested in volunteering? To learn more about SIG volunteer positions, go to committees/.

Not ready for a long-term commitment? Then, volunteer for a short-term opportunity (toe-dip). To learn more, go to

We encourage student volunteers present or host First Fridays at 5 (FF@5) sessions and to maintain the student section of the IDL-SIG website

How to Join the IDL-SIG

The IDL-SIG is a community of practice and depends on membership for funding. If you are an STC member, but not yet an IDL-SIG member, contact STC membership at +1 (703) 522-4114 with payment information and your community selection to update your membership. Gold membership includes access to all SIGs, but you have to select the SIGs you want to join.

You can add the IDL-SIG to your STC membership at any time during the year; you do not need to wait for the renewal period. For more information about the IDL-SIG, go to our website, or contact SIG Manager, Maralee Sautter or

SautterHeadshotMaralee Sautter is a technical writer, instructional designer, and educator. She is an Associate Fellow and long-time volunteer for STC, serving in many chapter and SIG leadership roles. She is currently serving as IDL-SIG Manager and is a member of the Community Affairs Committee (CAC).