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Instructional Design + Adult Learning Experiences with Holly Owens — DT101 E134

Holly Owens is an Adjunct Professor at the Touro College Graduate School of Technology, where she teaches in the Instructional Technology program, and works full time as an Instructional Designer with PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy. She has over 15 years of experience in education in various roles, including high school educator, instructional technologist, and podcast host. Today, we talk about instructional design and designing learning experiences for adults.

Listen to Learn About

  • What is instructional design?
  • Adaptive, individualized learning
  • Andragogy and designing learning experiences for adults
  • Incorporating strategic plans and goals into the learning experience

Portrait of Holly Owens

Our Guest

As a Corporate Instructional Designer at Amazon Pharmacy, Holly brings over 17 years of diverse experience in education, specializing in instructional technology, design, and teaching. Since 2012, she has been actively involved in online education, currently serving as an educator at Touro University’s Graduate School of Technology in their Instructional Design/Technology program.

With two master’s degrees from the University of Maryland, Global Campus—one in Instructional Technology and another in Distance Education—Holly also holds a certificate in Distance Education Leadership and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Leadership.

Holly’s dedication lies in promoting online learning and its vast potential to empower students worldwide. As the host of the EdUp EdTech podcast, she offers a leading resource to stay updated on the latest and most impactful Ed Tech tools revolutionizing education. The podcast features guests from the EdTech industry, sharing personal and professional growth stories while exploring how technology is reshaping the education landscape.

Show Highlights

[01:49] Holly discovered a love of EdTech while teaching high school, her first career.
[02:12] Moving into higher education and instructional design.
[03:44] Getting a job with Amazon Pharmacy.
[05:09] Dawan explains why we talk about instructional design on the podcast.
[07:06] What is instructional design?
[08:59] Holly’s thoughts on remote/distance learning.
[11:36] Adult vs young learners.
[13:33] Designing learning experiences for adult learners.
[15:07] Holly discusses how she designs learning experiences.
[18:00] Adult learners want to know the destination and the what and how of getting there.
[20:10] Fitting the strategic plan and business goals into the learning experience.
[22:32] The differences between the corporate and education spaces when it comes to innovation.
[27:18] Holly’s thoughts and advice for those thinking about getting into instructional design.
[31:23] Books and resources Holly recommends.
[34:24] Where to find out more about Holly and her work.


Holly on LinkedIn
Holly at Touro University
EdUp EdTech
Holly Owens—Making the Leap from Educator to Instructional Designer
An Insider’s Perspective: The Journey from Educator to Instructional Designer w/ Holly Owens
Holly Owens with Host Toddi
Norum: The Changing World of Online Ed & the Future of the Instructional Designer
Holly Owens – The Secret is in the Sauce: 5 Key Ingredients to Use When Designing an Online Course from
5 Ways to Help Students Succeed in Online Courses with Holly Owens

Book Recommendations

Map It: The hands-on guide to strategic training design, by Cathy Moore
Design for How People Learn, by Julie Dirksen
Talk to the Elephant: Design Learning for Behavior Change, by Julie Dirksen
What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming an Instructional Designer, by Luke Hobson
The eLearning Designer’s Handbook: A Practical Guide to the eLearning Development Process for New eLearning Designers, by Tim Slade

Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

Talk to the Elephant: Design Learning for Behavior Change with Julie Dirksen — DT101 E131
5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About: The Future of Higher Education with Bryan Alexander — DT101 E97
Learning Design with Yianna Vovides — DT101 E58

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