Monday, October 12, 2009

Anyone can do instructional design!

In these past couple of weeks I've seen a number of articles where people talk about Instructional Design as something a laySME (layman subject matter expert) can (or can't) do.

First I saw Gina's post about whether someone should be doing ID even though they can. Gina makes some pretty interesting points about whether people should do instructional design even though they think they can. This lead straight to blog posts like Instructional design - pah, who needs it? and A “Hello World” Approach to Teaching Instructional Design. Finally, a good post was Do learners really need learning objectives?

I urge you to go out an read these posts, they are pretty interesting. Of course you come where for what I think...so...what do I think?

Personally I think that anyone can do instructional design because instructional design jobs are poorly described. An Instructional Design job can be an LMS administrator, a WIMBA or Adobe Connect support person, an educational technologist or, a real honest-to-God Instructional Designer that looks at the whole process and determines if new instruction is the appropriate path and forges through to get that done.

One more reasons why many perceive that they can be an instructional designer is the dearth of theory that goes into the ID process by all of the above jobs that are lumped into instructional design. I had a blog post recently about the role of theory in ID. This is best illustrated by a comment on the Hello World post wrote:

The problem with most elearning ID’s in the market is that they don’t understand jack about learning itself. They’re more obsessed with approaches and tools than the psychology behind human learning. Starting your professional journey with elearning as the focus, is a smell in my opinion.


If more Instructional Designers had a usable theoretical background, if there weren't such a tool and approach fetish, and if jobs weren't all lumped under "instructional designer", fewer people would think that they can be an instructional designer by using eTool-X to produce some training on Y and all is great with the world.
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