Instructional Designer Competencies

My article Death of the Instructional Designer sparked off some interesting debate and provided some good points. In case you missed it, do view the comments posted for the article. The poll also showed that most readers believe that instructional designers do add value to content development projects.

Tom Crawford makes some interesting points in Is Instructional Design Dead. He also lists some competencies he believes an instructional designer should have.

Vaughan Waller argues that good instructional design is a crucial component of a successful learning program and always will be. I really liked this article.

Learning Circuits big question of Nov 2006 asks if ISD / ADDIE / HPT are relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?

Tom Werner calls for better design of the use of emerging technologies for learning.

Brett Bixler provides a long list of instructional designer required competencies and prerequisite skills.

I believe the traditional instructional designer needs to evolve. They need to have the following skills / knowledge:

  • Ability to learn and understand content. While instructional design is content agnostic, it is imperative that the instructional designer understands enough content to have meaningful discussion with subject matter experts and other stakeholders.
  • Interviewing skills and note taking skills.
  • Ability to assimilate and chunk information.
  • Writing correctly, clearly and concisely.
  • Ability to collaborate with specialists in different areas (graphics, media, software engineering).
  • Ability to write stories, dialogues, scenarios, narration scripts.
  • Articulate proposed approach to stakeholders.
  • Being creative, thinking out of the box.
  • Of course, they must understand basic instructional design principles (this is the foundation), write correct objectives, structure the content etc. etc.
  • Understand technology and tools used in creating a course. While there are specialists in various functions, it is imperative that the instructional designer also understands these tools, their basic features, limitations and what it takes to build the designs they are proposing.

Viewing different courses, sites helps you stay up to date. It is also a good idea to attend a few eLearning courses to get the audience experience.