Monday, April 6, 2009

Are Instructional Designers still relevent?

I was recently reading through the post titled IDs - It's time for some seriously tough love when I came across the following closing statement:


When you look at the job titles, you see things like content analyst, technical writer, screen writer, video producer, project manager, budget manager, evaluator, test-writer, statistician, graphic artist, web designer, content author, scripter, coder, analyst. LMS manager. Trainer. Teacher.

They are coming from design schools, art schools, multimedia departments, computer science departments, engineering, video and film, media and advertising. Business schools. They don't seem to depend so much on learning theory.

Does anybody else see anything wrong with this picture? Especially as games, Web 2.0 and new media are purported to be the future of elearning, and this is what IDs typically design?

Are IDs really still as relevant as we want to think we are?


I think that the Instructional Design field is probably suffering from the same malady that's afflicting the Library field, and paraphrased from my earlier blog post about this topic it boils down to this: being all things to all people.

Instructional Design works. Instructional Design is valuable. If you dilute it though you lose the essence of it. Learning theory is important. It's also important to know how to interface with the engineers, coders, illustrators and project managers to get a project completed.

Depending on the job those skills will have different proportions. For example, in some project management jobs Project Management skills might be 80% of the job, and Learning Theory might be 20% - just enough probably to pick up on more egregious errors in design and implementation of learning. What it really boils down is this: people don't completely know what they want when they hire an employee, and thus they try to get a good mix of skills. Perhaps it's also a function of a bad economy, you can't afford to hire multiple people, so you opt to hire one über-employee.

I got into instructional design after I had completed IT, business and computer science. I want to learn more about learning theory, pedagogy and andragogy, curriculum creation and organizational behavior. To me, this is instructional design.
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