Instructional Design combines the design of effective educational content with a well though-out course structure, while keeping the target audience’s specific learning needs in mind. The roots of which are in cognitive and behavioural psychology. I know it’s not that simple, but that’s the general idea.
So, you can see why Instructional Designers (IDs) might not like the idea of online learning systems which allow courses to be built by teachers, trainers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and offered out to a general audience, quickly, for an affordable price.
There’s heated debate around whether ID’s are facing extinction (or in fact are already dead) due to the steady increase in popularity of eLearning and online training systems. While the psychology of learning is changing along with the confines, perhaps it’s time for IDs to re-vamp their image.
The essence of what IDs do is very valuable and as Vaughan Waller says “Instructional design is a crucial component of a successful programme of instruction and I think it always will be.” Courses should always be designed to actively engage with the student and aim toward the goals both trainer and student want to achieve.
If IDs are truly passionate about what they bring to the table, then they must accept that learning takes place in many more diverse environments than ever before – online courses, Twitter, Social Networks, blogs, Wikis and collaborative learning websites. In accepting that fact, they can perhaps adapt their own services to complement the tech offerings. Thus, experiencing not a ‘death’, but in fact a re-birth.
Maybe, the answer lies in an online ‘dating’ service of sorts that pairs up IDs and Trainers/SMEs so they can collaborate on building and delivering the most effective online courses possible and split the profits?