The Apparently Omnipotent Instructional Designer (The ID)


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Previous Posts in this series:

She? She’s an Instructional Designer. Hmmph!

We’ve already discussed the role that the Project Manager and the SME play in eLearning content development. If you work in an eLearning organization AND if you are not an instructional designer,  you must wonder why that slip of a girl should be the nodal point of the entire content development process.  I don’t say that all those who strut about in their high-heels and call themselves instructional designers are really worthy of the limelight they get – but then they do have a lot of responsibility on their frail shoulders. (I am guilty of stereotyping, but then who isn’t. This is just one of our follies that makes us human…right?)

In this post, I’d like to focus on the role of the Instructional Designer.

While discussing the role of the Subject Matter Expert, I had mentioned that some organizations couple the role of instructional designer with that of the SME’s. This doesn’t benefit anyone in the entire content-chain. It doesn’t help the  SME-ID because she’s caught between two focus areas, it doesn’t help the audience because they get neither the best content nor the best instructional value, and in the long run, it doesn’t help the elearning organization, because it impacts their reputation. There are some elearning organizations in India that have been following this model and they have been growing but they need to conduct some field-surveys to determine how their content is being received.

Having said that, it’s my duty to tell you what an instructional designer’s role requires her to do.

The Role of an Instructional Designer

Here are some of the tasks that the instructional designer does. The instructional designer:

  • Establishes the course goal.
  • Does an audience analysis to determine their current skills and establish their psychographics.
  • Writes the course objectives.
  • Uses Instructional Design principles to design an effective course for the audience.
  • Transforms the raw content received from the SME into a storyboard (or an eLearning script.)
  • Reviews the graphics, animations, and interactions etc. for their instructional efficacy.

To accomplish the above, the instructional designer primarily interacts with:

  • The client’s representatives
  • The SME
  • The Editors
  • The Graphic Designer
  • The Programmer

Obviously then, the Instructional Designer has to be an amalgamation of different skills and traits.

An Instructional Designer’s Essential Skill-Set…

An ideal instructional designer should possess the following skills:

  • Good Grammar
  • Instructional Design knowledge

…And her Important Traits.

Her personality should have the following traits (in some measure, at least.)

  • Creativity
  • Logic
  • Curiosity
  • An eye for detail

Isn’t this something? Is it any wonder then that good instructional designers aren’t easy to find?

An instructional designer needs to be the Master of Many Trades and then a Jack of Some! – SRA