Instructional Design – If, When and How Much? – My Response

bigquestionlogo.gifTony Karrer’s big question this month is Instructional Design – If, When and How Much? .

I got totally tempted to answer the question and therefore this post 🙂

To me, Instructional Designing is not just about understanding the instructional design theories and concepts or using rapid e-learning tools or exhibiting writing skills. It is much more than this.

This reminds me of a fresh Instructional Designer who was asked to Storyboard. She obviously had no prior experience and had no clue about Instructional Designing. All that she did was add some graphic and some text in each slide of the Storyboard. To her Instructional Designing was just adding some colorful graphics and some text to go along with it.

An Instructional Designer might be a good writer and quite adept in using rapid e-learning tools. But does that mean that he/she will come up with a totally cool and mind blowing e-learning course?

There are umpteen training programs in Instructional Designing today and most people go for these programs. Do these training programs bring out good Instructional Designers?

In my opinion, for an Instructional Designer, good writing skills and understanding the Instructional Design theories and concepts is a prerequisite and knowledge of e-learning tools is optional, not because it is less important but because I know learning tools is not very difficult.

For Instructional Designers, what is more important and challenging is:

  • To exercise their creative skills and come up with fresh course design ideas and interactivities
  • Grab learners’ attention by presenting the subject in the most engaging manner
  • To completely cater to the needs of the learners by include that information that is really useful and much needed

I am sure no training institute can teach Instructional Designers how to think creatively and innovate e-learning courses or choose the right information for their courses.

What sets apart Instructional Designers from other Writers such as Technical Writers is that they need to create something new with existing skills, tools and materials just like painters, musicians or craftsmen. Instructional Designers, to me are Artists.

Artists always create their works of art for a set of audience. They gain satisfaction from what they create only when their audience appreciate and enjoy it.

Isn’t that what we Instructional Designers also look forward to? More than appreciate and enjoy, we want our audience to gain value out of the course we create.

So if Instructional Designers want to be really good at what they do, they need to let go of all set patterns, all guidelines and standards. To me, there is no hard and fast rules to creating an e-learning course. Instructional Designers need to be as free as Artists in designing their e-learning courses.


5 Responses

  1. Hey Rupa,

    I totally agree with you. IDs are artists in their own right!

    It’s a pleasure to read yor blog.


  2. Hey Amit

    Glad that you agree with me 🙂

  3. What you are describing or returning to is the concept of our profession as DESIGNERS. Something that I feel has got rather lost, even though it is there in our name. Of course these things can be taught, just not in the traditional way. Education of ID professionals should follow the same pattern as that of product designers: constant weekly projects, followed by design critiques, suffuse in some theory and research and add in some final apprenticeship. Recipe for success.


  4. This is an interesting post Rupa!

  5. Great post, I really enjoyed it and agree with you. ID is not the same a course writing. It’s more problem solving and think creatively. Tech writers may be very good a documenting things, but documentation does not make for good learning material. I really see IDs in the eLearning world being the people who come up with the ideas of how to help people learn from all types of training and information.

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