Thursday, January 31

Instructional Design - If - When - How Much

Cammy Bean helped spark and work through the February 2008 Big Question with me.

Instructional Design - If, When and How Much?

In a bit more detail, the critical question seems to be:

For a given project, how do you determine if, when and how much an instructional designer and instructional design is needed?
To help you get started, I would recommend looking at some of the thoughts in the following posts:
The more that Cammy and I have explored this topic, the more questions we feel we have:
  • What value do we really offer beyond a SME with a tool? How do we distinguish the cases where we are needed?
  • (Reuben Tozman) What skills/knowledge do instructional designers bring to the table that is unique to our profession that other trades do not? Is our value in wielding the latest and greatest rapid development tools? Not if our SME's are using them also? Is it our knowledge of psychometrics when we create assessments? Nope. Is it our writing abilities? Is it our knowledge of communications?Do you think instructional designers should be able to use the tools?
  • Do you think instructional designers should go away and leave the rapid tools to the SMEs?
  • If we want SMEs to use rapid eLearning tools to create content, do they need training in ID? What training?
  • If someone without a background in ID is told to "create this course" - are they doing instructional design? Or is it something different? Is there some kind of range of ID capability? How do you explain the spectrum?
  • How can I really tell if there was good ID work? Could I have done as well by producing something far less?
  • If it takes more to create something "better" - do I really need to do that? How about when up-front knowledge of return on investment is not really known?
  • How is this different in academia vs. corporate.
Cammy's thesis - and I agree - is that ID is widely varied. But with that variety comes a big question of the value of ID as compared to a SME with a Wiki or rapid eLearning tool.

How to Respond:

Please post on your blog or put thoughts in a comment and I'll put a link to your post. You will get bonus points for:
  • Including a link to this post and even better include the Big Question logo.
  • In your comment, provide an HTML ready link that I can simply copy and paste. In other words - please include an HTML anchor tag in your comment. PLEASE.
Posts So Far:


Manish Mohan said...

This month's big question seems relevant to the ongoing discussions I've been having in my blog. There are many more related questions asked in big question and it will be interesting to see responses to those.

jay said...

My two cents.

bill7tx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill7tx said...

OK, let me try this again. I've bitten.

Clark said...

My $0.05.

Benjamin Hamilton said...

My Thoughts

Stuart Kruse said...

Hey, now we've got those great digital cameras, I guess we can sack that David Bailey guy. Hey, great new DVD camcorder! Guess Mr. Spielburg ain't so much use to us no more.

Skill not tools have always created great experiences. It is REAL easy to create bad learning experiences. What do ID people bring? Skill, experience, passion, insight, design, knowledge, and practice and dedication...all the things an experienced, skilful practioner in any field brings.

There ARE a set of unique skills and knowledge relevant to crafting learning experiences or setting up environments that support learning. These skills and this knowledge is distinct to the knowledge of a particular subject area. There is psychology, technology, design, sociology and others. A totally different, unique and valuable skill set.

Frankly, the question amazes me! Of course, there are bad ID practioners with little knowledge and skill, just as these individuals exist in all fields. But when you meet 'the real deal' it is easy to see what the ID professional brings.


Anonymous said...

Hi, here's mine

Donald Clark said...

On Design

Cammy Bean said...

My response: The Big Question: Instructional Design as Spectrum

Steppenwolf said...

Here's my response:

Mick said...

Here is my take

Michael Hanley said...

My Reply: ISD - on the precipice of a crossroads?

Tony Karrer said...

Great stuff - lots of ideas. Anil - can you post a link via an anchor tag in your comment? Thanks.

Steppenwolf said...

Hi Tony, here's my link via the anchor tag: Instructional Design - If, When and But

Mick said...

Hey Tony,

While Mick? does sound kind cool and mysterious my full name is Mick Leyden.


Tony Karrer said...

Mick - I did go to your post / blog, but didn't see your last name. Thanks for clarifying.

I'm curious if anyone is noticing a trend in the responses - other than the continual trend around my inability to create a good question.


Anonymous said...

There is a difference between the process a person undertakes to create instruction and the actual design of the instruction. As we all know, Design, is a phase in any ID process, be it in the traditional ADDIE or Seels & Glasgow II models, or the elearning-specific process such as Clark & Lyons' Visual Design Model.

Having selected the process for the project, the question then is what design will the person creating the instruction employ. No matter how easy the content or subject matter, no matter how linear the goal of the training is, effective instruction is based on cognitive science. And the good news is that experts in that field have researched and created models that are indeed effective. Take a look at Merrill's First Principles or Vanderbilt's Model, to name a few.

I refer to these models as Design models and refer to Addie and the like as Process models. So if you'll indulge me for a second longer, I'll say this:

Not using a proven design model leaves any instruction open to failure because the instruction is based and driven by either the technology, the graphics, or the opinions of people who do not necessarily understand HOW the brain learns. So if the goal of the instruction is first-level such as Technical/Procedures/Regulatory, use a model like First Principles or McCarthy's. If it's instruciton that teaches a skill like problem solving, use a model like Vanderbilt's. By having a pre-defined blueprint for the instruction into which you fit the objectives, you can employ multiple sources at once.

So when given a project, I select the most appropriate process model (usually driven my the needs of the business which is fine), then select the design model that supports the goal of the training, and employ all the resources available.

Design Models are key. My two cents.

p.s. I will be presenting a workshop on what I just wrote at the eLearning Guild Gathering in Florida. It's called: Applying Design Models to eLearning Modules.

Vineetha said...

Hi, I'm posting for the first time...some of my thoughts on the topic at: How much ID do we need?

Peter Isackson said...

Nothing that has been the object of so much thought and work cannot not be useful. But are we asking ID to do a job it isn't qualified to do? And if so, how can we redefine things? Here's my contribution

Unknown said...

It's interesting to see that this debate is still in full swing. Unfortunetely it misses the point to some extent.

I have been advocating since 2000 that ISD is not required for all forms of e-learning, however that doesn't mean that there is no use/place for it.

I view an instructional designer somewhat like an architect - I can say that as I've done both and the tasks are essentially similar. True ISD ought to involve situations which require complexity management; in other words large topic areas, many experts and significant volumes of data to navigate.

Learners can also navigate and architect learning solutions (curriculums, courses combined resources), however there will always be the need for someone to design formal or semi-formal programs.

By recognizing the need for multiple value chains we will help grow the industry and opportunities for all who reside within it.

What has really hurt e-learning traditionally is the lack of options we've provided to the market. That is now changing and that change doesn't have to be threatening...

Jane Bozarth said...

When is design done

John W. Shaffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John W. Shaffer said...

Is ISD Needed

Malinka Ivanova said...

Instructional Design as a Building Skeleton

Gary H said...

I posted my comments on my blog: Why Bother with Instructional Design?

Tony Karrer said...

I just posted a response to Gary's post on my blog - because one of his opinions I strongly disagree with.

Safety Training Design

I'm starting to look back at some of the posts trying to make sense of things.

Bill - I really like your position that it's a cost / benefit tradeoff.

We need to understand the costs and the benefits to decide.

I'm thinking a bit about that.

A lot of ideas to go through...

Anonymous said...

This is a great opportunity to connect with other colleagues and help move our field forward. Nothing like professional food for thought.

I just blogged about this today:

Tony Karrer said...

Jeffrey - can you put in an anchor link to make it easier to copy and paste your post above? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great discussions.

My two cents here

Jay: common sense is not all that common :)


Manish Gupta said...

G-Cube: Training - One Fourth Preparation; Three-Fourths Theatre


Anonymous said...

I thought I did leave the link to my post about this:

Is there something else I should have done? Not sure why it is not blue and underlined as a hyperlink.

Anonymous said...

I think this will make this an anchor link:

Silence and Voice

Strange that in a discussion about instructional design and how we need to make things user friendly, that this system does not even create a hyperlink by providing a valid url. I hope I did the anchor link correctly, as I have never been requested to do this before.

Anonymous said...

Once again, let me try to get this to work:

Silence and Voice

Tony Karrer said...

Jeffrey - thanks for working through that. Makes my life easier. Plus, you can't say you didn't learning anything from this discussion. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tony. Learning opportunities do surround us!

Now along the same lines, can you re-copy and paste my last name which is spelled wrong in the Posts So Far list above? It should be Keefer.

Tony Karrer said...

Jeffery - so now you know that I don't copy-and-paste the name (because blogger makes it a link to the profile which is often not very good), but I'm thinking that would be a better way to request it next time, i.e., please put:

[your name] - [anchor tag]

That way I can really just copy and paste. :)

Karl Kapp said...

Karl Kapp: We Need a Degree in Instructional Design.

Anonymous said...

I created a tag cloud to try to see some patterns in all these responses.

Christy Tucker Patterns in Instructional Design Responses

Mr. Philip L. Thomas said...

I find this to be very interesting inquiry. The value of an Instructional Designer/ Instructional Design takes so many variables into account. Instructional Designers have the skills and knowledge to uncover things that the SME could never find simply because they cannot think outside of the box. This outside the box thinking that Instructional Designers possess not only allow for in-depth research, it also provides the organization with the problem to have options of ways to assess the problem at hand. The Instructional Designer is needed.