Can instructional design be taught?

Let’s start by looking at a few definitions (source wikipedia):
Artist: Artist is a subjective term which describes a person creative in, innovative in, or adept at, their endeavors.
Artisan: An artisan, also called a craftsman, is a skilled manual worker who uses tools and machinery in a particular craft. …

How does this apply to instructional systems design (ISD). Again, here is an excerpt from wikipedia on Instructional Systems Design: “Instructional Design and Instructional Systems Design are scientifically derived processes which are intended to optimize learning gains in knowledge and performance from precisely engineered (and designed) instruction. “

Instructional Systems Design provides a process that allows artisans to develop effective instructional material. However, I’d like to propose that there is actually an element of “art” necessary to develop good instructional material. In my experience, where the ISD process was strictly followed, the results were mediocre. You can do an OK job with ISD, but to do a great job, you need to deviate from the “recipe” and actually create. To do this successfully, you need some level of innate talent.

So, a great instructional designer is actually an artist: somebody that can take the ISD “recipe” and made the necessary modifications to create training material that is not only effective, but also inspiring.

I think that is where I’d like to be. I want to break out of the box that is ISD and create training material that inspires.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Donald,

    I’m glad to see someone is reading :).

    I remember the ID course I took during my masters degree. It was highly painful, partially because the “art” was lost. The instructors required the process be followed to the letter – even when it didn’t make any sense.

    I’m glad to see that others think learning doesn’t simply fit into formulas.

    Cheers,
    Becky

  2. Hi Becky,
    I have always thought of ID as both art and science in that while there are processes and tools to help you, learning is “messy,” thus it needs art to get through that.

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