Instructional Design Associate

San Francisco, CA
Job Type
Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply

+Acumen is seeking an Associate to help with the design and production of online courses. This is a great opportunity for a native digital thinker with 1-3  years of experience and a strategic mindset.


Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $110 million in 102 companies across Africa, Latin America and South Asia. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. This year, Acumen was named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies.


In service of Acumen’s mission to change the way the world tackles poverty, our +Acumen team is building the world’s school for social change – a global learning community for social change-makers. +Acumen is a new initiative started in 2013 with the vision of equipping thousands of passionate people with the tools, insights and community to step up and create change.
We do this in two ways:

+ We offer free and low-cost online courses that help to democratize access to the best tools to change systems which keep people entrenched in poverty
+ We find the “best” people and connect them to Acumen & each other at scale

To date +Acumen has reached over 300,000 people from 190 countries through its courses. +Acumen also manages various networks – such as chapters, alumni, and course volunteers – that allow our broader course community to get more involved in supporting Acumen and each other.

Where You Come In

We run a range of online learning experiences across different platforms. You will take the lead in helping to assess and optimize what we already have in place, while pitching in on new initiatives as they arise. You’re a strategic thinker who will help us deeply understand our users and how we might improve their learning experience.

More specifically, you will have the opportunity to:

+ Contribute to scoping and designing new online courses and learning products focused on social entrepreneurship
+ Assist with filming, editing, and production of new courses
+ Design and develop practical learning exercises and course materials
+ Build courses across range of online learning platforms including NovoEd, Udemy, Teachable, and OpenEdX; gain an in-depth understanding of how to support the user experience across platforms
+ Contribute to content marketing by producing blog pieces and other resources to share ideas from our courses more broadly
+ Analyze survey data and conduct user interviews to identify critical pain points and opportunities to improve our learning design
+ Support course operations including responding to learner inquiries, running office hour sessions, and writing course emails
+ Identify opportunities for continuous process improvements to simplify, streamline, and automate course operations

Success in this role will be defined by your ability to pay attention to the large and small details of building courses on digital platforms, gain a deep understanding of the learner experience, and align our courses to best practices in instructional design. You should be a strong writer with excellent abilities to synthesize knowledge across a wide array of topics. Visual design skills and HTML/CSS skills are a plus.

Who You Are

You’re well-versed in principles of instructional design and blended learning. You’re able to respond flexibly and strategically to user insights and data. You are detail-oriented and able to see how executing small tasks well contribute to the bigger picture. You’re a team player who shares Acumen’s values. You’re a thinker-doer, skilled writer, with a mindset for flawless execution.

Qualifications & Characteristics

+ A strong writer with minimum of 1-3 years of professional experience
+ Skilled synthesizer able to develop content that is practical, accessible, and well-designed
+ Native “digital thinker” with a track record of developing digital content, producing compelling visual designs in Powerpoint and InDesign, with knowledge of HTML and CSS
+ Detail-oriented project manager
+ Critical thinker accustomed to working, problem solving and collaborating thoughtfully in a fast-paced environment
+ Ability to collaborate effectively with different colleagues and personalities, at all levels both externally and internally, and across a variety of functions and geographies
+ BONUS: background in education, instructional design, user experience design, or design thinking
+ BONUS: experience building online courses
+ An undergraduate or graduate degree
+ Permanent authorization to work in the United States

Additional characteristics we look for in all roles at Acumen:
+ Commitment to and enthusiasm for the organization’s mission to change the way the world tackles poverty, and respect for our core values: generosity, accountability, humility, audacity, listening, leadership, integrity and respect
+ Ability to thrive when there is ambiguity, remain cool-headed when there are curve balls, and withstand the tests of a rapidly changing environment with resilience and resolve
+ A sense of humor (really)

Acumen offers a competitive compensation package commensurate with experience, including full benefits and a 401(k).


Candidates are encouraged to apply early, as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  The deadline for this position is Monday, November 20, 2017.