Friday, February 8, 2008

Is ISD Needed

The Learning Circuits Blog big question for February is Instructional Design - If, When and How Much? The question, in a more detailed form, is "For a given project, how do you determine if, when and how much an instructional designer and instructional design is needed?" As many suggested, the big question has a small but illusive answer - "It depends". There are many factors that interact to determine if, when, and how much.

I like what Cammy Bean said about Instructional Design being a Spectrum. I also like what Ben Hamilton wrote about analysis in his comments. He wrote"...a quality instructional designer will be able to identify if this is, in fact, a project that requires a training intervention." If a "training" intervention is not needed, then perhaps neither is an instructional designer. On the other hand, a non-training intervention might require the services of a "quality" instructional designer even more so than would a training intervention. An SME might be perfectively able to develop a good training intervention. However, she might not have the knowledge or skills necessary to develop a non-training intervention.


Cammy Bean said...

It does all depend, doesn't it?

I'm interested in your comment that non-training interventions might require a quality instructional designer more than a training intervention. Do elaborate...

John W. Shaffer said...

Hi Cammy.

Thanks for commenting on my post.

When I wrote non-training interventions might require an instructional designer more than training interventions I was comparing, at least in my mind, IDs and SMEs. That may not have been clear in my post.

My thinking is that IDs, whether through education or much experience, might have a better idea of what non-training interventions are available and when to use them than might SMEs. This is, of course, not true in all situations nor is it true for all SMEs and IDs. Many or most SMEs, given the exposure to other interventions, could probably recommend and use them as effectively as any ID. Some IDs, though having exposure to many other interventions, might be highly ineffective at using them.

I would hope that an ID would have a better start on the range of possible interventions and when to use them because of their education and experience. An SME could gain the same experience through time; however, the argument could then be made that the SME had become an ID.

So the original premise still seems to hold up - it all depends.

Cammy Bean said...

It does all depend.

So when does a SME become an ID? At what point is the line crossed and the identity blurred?