Careers in Instructional Design
Instructional designers largely work in the field of e – learning. However, the knowledge learnt can be applied to any educational development field. It is the Science of Designing instructions for learners, such that it leads to maximum knowledge transfer.
You are probably wondering – why do you need to go to such lengths? The answer is that learners all over the world are undergoing a transition. In this age of computers, learning has taken on a new dimension.
Teaching and learning is not just restricted to your classroom. There are online courses, there is game – based learning, and there are computer – based training Programs that you people can avail of. This means that the focus has now shifted form the teacher to the learner.
And focusing on the learner and learning is what an instructional designer does. Punam Medh, founder and ‘Partners in Learning’, says, ID should be considered a design field and not a technical field. It is instructional design, and it follows its own design process. I cringe when it is treated as a writing course or a computer course.
Initial ID’s learnt the hard way. They referred to books and learnt from their clients requirements. These IDs in turn trained the next batch that joined. Currently, companies continue their internal ID training; however there are many new institutes that offer these to anyone who is interested.
List of Institutes Offering Courses :
- SNDT University ( Mumbai )
- Symbiosis University ( Pune )
- University of Pune
- Wavelength ( Delhi )
- 4c Learning ( Bangalore )
- Tenable Learning Solutions ( Hyderabad )
However, most of one’s learning actually happens on the job. Hence, e – learning companies focus on constant skill upgradation for their existing designers.
Some of the above are actually e – learning companies that have ventured into ID training because of the demand. Says Vivek Padubidri of 4c Learning ( Bangalore ), “Response ( to the course ) is really improving over time. The basic awareness of ID needs to be created at the under – graduation level”.
Punam Medh of Design Skills elaborates, I do feel we need more institutions and universities to come forth and explore the potential of this field. There needs to be collaboration between us and reputed foreign universities so that young people interested in the field of training and education can formally adopt this as a career option.
Vivek, who has more than 18 Years of experience across various industries, says, Initially taining was for meeting internal needs. Now, we seem to like to do this more as a passion, it could yield financial results later.
It is the passion that is driving it right now. We also see that as an e – learning development company, we can add practitioners experience into the course. Therefore what we teach has some basis and hands – on experience. Our training is more from the practitioners approach. However, there are some sceptics who feel that the institutes are not doing enough justice.
Says Dr. Vinod Joshi of Knoah Solutions ( Hyderabad ), Honestly I feel none of the institutes are doing justice to ID training. In fact according to me they are not doing any work on ID in true sense. A few of them stress on language writing, a few on management and others on technology. None of them do any serious training on ID. Dr. Joshi has learnt ID on his own and feels that there are very few people in India who understand the deeper aspects of ID.
Typical ID course should have the following elements :
- Basics of human learning ( possibly learning theories here ).
- Can learning be facilitated ( principle of instructional design )?
- What are the models for creation of instructional material?
- How ID needs to be integrated into content creation. Possible writing for ID.
- How ID need to be considered in case of e – learning.
- Authoring tools and other tools.
- Quality and standards in e – learning.
Every e – learning company is almost screaming they need IDs! An ID can grow to be a manager and then eventually a consultant. A fact that is echoed by Punam when she says, For a start – up ID they can go far in an organisation which has ID as its core offering, like an e – learning or a content development company.
However, 10 Years in this field and you can start to look at consulting as an option. An ID at the entry level can earn anything between 10,000 – 15,000, based on the skill and prior exposure.
The experienced designers draw upwards of 30,000, some even earning more than 1 lakh a month. Big companies in the field are Tata Interactive, Accenture, NIIT, Sify, Aptech, and many more.
However, it is not easy training to be an instructional designer. Experts say it could take antwhere between six months to 2 Years to get a clear understanding of actual ID. This, over and above your core training.
And the training is never over. Seniors in this industry need to constantly update themselves with what is happening in the field. According to Punam, an experienced ID would need to spend a good amount every Year to buy ID books to upgrade their skills.
There are web resources and online international universities too that offer courses for experienced IDs.
Something on e – learning :
E – learning is really nothing more than using some form of technology to deliver training and other educational materials. The global e – learning market is expected to touch $28 million by 2008. A large part of this is now being sourced from India.
Globally, IDs create content / material for e – learning courses and hence the mad scramble to get good, trained IDs.
Who can become an instructional designer?
Almost anyone can. If you have the skills mentioned in the first three lines, you can become an instructional designer. Punam, who has been conducting ID training for 4 Years, feels, In terms of traits, you need to have a sense of being hands – on, should love the idea of learning and education, should have an eye for detail and be process – oriented.
In terms of skills, you need to be aware of learning theories at a high level, be a good communicator, and structured thinking.
Anyone who has dealt with content and has good analytical skills can become an instructional designer. ID hones all writing skills because it provides a structure to all content.