What skill is more important in creating a course…design or development? Are they overlapping skills? Does one feed off the other? Confusing? You bet!
Can you have both? Absolutely! There are many instructional designers who are also experts with software development tools. Then again, there are great authoring tool experts who really don’t know that much about instructional design.
Today I see more and more people blurring instructional design and instructional development.
Both are important and both are necessary for creating effective instruction. Design and development seems to be overlapping now more than ever. Just take a look at job descriptions for “instructional designers and “eLearning developers”. Some employers seem to want candidates that have it all.
Anyone can claim they are instructional designer.
Instructional design is not a profession that is regulated by a professional association such as certified public accountants (CPA), project management professionals (PMP) or professional engineers (PE). I met someone once who told he was an instructional designer because he knew Dreamweaver. I asked him if he knew how to write instructional objectives. He said no, but if instructional objectives were important that he would figure out how to do it. But that doesn’t stop him from saying he is an instructional designer.
There is a current school of thought where some people confuse the use of developing courses with software authoring tools (e.g. Captivate, Articulate, Flash) with instructional design skills. Someone may be an expert in Articulate’s Storyline. That development skill may enable them to create a class. However, that doesn’t guarantee that they possess the knowledge, skills and abilities of a well trained instructional designer.
For example, I know how to swing a hammer. Therefore, I can build a house if I wanted to, but how well constructed would the house be? Wouldn’t it be better to work with a trained architect to design the house according to the client’s specifications?
I imagine that some of this phenomenon can be attributed to the competition for the work itself.
Keeping with the contractor example, I know that some carpenters do masonry work when demand for carpentry work slows down. Some consulting companies do the same thing.
Several hiring managers have told me that authoring software keeps getting easier and easier to use. Therefore, they contend that they think it’s more important that their employees have very strong analysis and design skills.
I am not sure there is a right or wrong answer to this. What do you think?
Always in learning mode,
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