As business globalization increases so does the demand for employee training and instructional design. In 2007, the training industry in the United States nearly doubled in revenue from 1999, bringing in over $134 billion dollars (Paradise, 2008). There has been a shift in emphasis from a knowledge and performance-driven industry to present day where employers strive to delve deeper into understanding and analyzing human performance.
Tracey and Morrison (2011) outline three broad categories of roles for instructional designers who work in the corporate America arena.
- There is the sole designer who might work solely and permanently for a smaller company.
- There is the team member who is typically working with other lead members for an organization. As globalization increases it is more practical and efficient to belong to a virtual team rather than working together at the same physical site.
- The third category of instructional designer is the external consultant. Often an external consultant is hired to conduct a needs assessment in an effort to troubleshoot issues and solutions.
For an instructional designer to be effective their client must identify a subject-matter expert (SME) who can commit to assisting the designer with the necessary information needed for instructional materials, content or services (Morrison, 1988). Unfortunately as well-intended as all players are (client, instructional designer or SME) there are inevitably constraints that limit effective outcomes. Tracey and Morrison (2011) give examples of contextual constraints such as lack of time or resources, lack of designer’s locus of control for decision-making, and client perceived necessity to approve certain activities. Another caution they share is the risk of having the instructional designer taking on the role of the project manager. The more intimate the designer becomes with the project the more their responsibility will increase. This can lead to a dilemma of having to choose between completing the instructional design or the project management tasks. Either way, one will suffer.
As you think about how informational design will complement and enhance your human performance, consider the following:
- Identify your SME so that they can work collaboratively with your instructional designer
- Designate a project manager to oversee the instructional design project to ensure these roles and responsibilities do not overlap
- When thinking about the bottom line and considering who will get the job done better, faster and cheaper, consider the technical expertise of your designer. Look for someone who:
- Can deliver rapid, quality prototyping
- Is well-versed in a technology-based training delivery
- Has experience with advanced evaluation techniques
- Has research and scholarship in the area of instructional design
Thank you for your time and interest and please look for my next blog where I talk about The ADDIE model (an instructional systems design model)
Tracey, M. W. & Morrison, G. R. (2011). Instructional design in business and industry. In R.A. Reiser & J.V. Dempsey, Eds. Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.