Depending on who you talk to, instructional designers - IDs - are either (1) the learning and teaching-oriented people to turn to when it's time to come up with great ideas for an engaging learning experience, in a presentation or a video or an online class, or (2) technologically proficient people with an awareness of learning principles who develop, produce, distribute, and manage elearning assets and programs.
Generally speaking, there has always been an expectation that IDs are technically competent learning specialists. Seems these days that the more dependent we are on the distribution and management of learning resources and experiences via technology, the more IDs feel the pressure to be technologists first, learning specialists second.
There is a concern in the worlds of technology, learning, elearning, distance learning, distributed learning, mlearning, virtual learning et al that perhaps IDs have lost their relevancy. In recent weeks I have seen tweets and blogposts positing that ID is an artifact of the 20th century, to deal with 20th century problems. Inferred in this statement is the notion that in the age of Web 2.0, Learning 2,0, eLearning 2.0 et al, that ID has got to go, that ID is already preprogrammed in many of the authoring tools du jour, so we don't really need it anymore.
I take a different position on the topic. For me ID represent the essential core of what makes our work unique when compared, say, to the work of a graphic artist or a web designer or an LMS administrator or a content author, or a technical writer or a research analyst.
Think about it: what do ILS, CBT, distance learning, distributed learning, elearning, mlearning, game based learning, virtual world learning et al have in common? They ALL depend upon the participation of instructional designers to ensure that learning goals are met. The systematic framework IDs use for problem-solving provides essential structure needed to respond to whatever kind of learning or performance support opportunity that may present itself, regardless of the technology framework or paradigm being used.
Does this mean that the skills needed for CBT are the same skills needed to be a good webinar facilitator? No, of course not. But it does suggest that anyone who calls themselves an ID who isn't always working on and modeling new media competence of some kind or another is not a particularly good ID. Because without THAT experience, it's impossible to anticipate what kinds of design competencies will serve learning best.
About a month ago I mentioned that my ID was less concerned about working to the specification of the ADDIE model, and was more concerned about producing solutions that empowered stakeholders to do more, better, faster. My ID is a decathelete, skilled not just in one or two area of professional activity, but in a full range of activities, each demanding the development of unique competencies and skills. I also mentioned that there are a lot of things that I expect my ID to be able to do even before we ever set eyes on each other - specifically, being an exceptional writer, a persuasive presenter, a technologically competent media producer/consumer and have a more than passing familiarity with and appreciation for design.
So when we get right down to what I want my IDs to be able to do it looks a bit more like the 10 item on the following list than it does on the ADDIE process model. In my experience, these are the places when the true ID rubber really hits the road:
(1) First, determine the "business" opportunity /consequences
(2) Propose a solution that responds to a real problem/opportunity
(3) Socialize solution proposal among key stakeholders
(4) Analyze solution requirements
(5) Analyze customer requirements
(6) Create a Prototype
(7) Field Test with stakeholders, customers
(8) Develop, Produce, Implement
(9) Launch solution
(10) Document, Evaluate, Hold Post-mortem
Thoughts? Comments? Additions? With the understanding that each of these 10 points has depth, with additional competencies implied?