What is the state of Instructional Design/ers in India?

I was busy last two months and that’s one main reason, I have kept away from this blog. This month is better and I have been catching up with some of my friends and fellow Instructional Designers :-)

A  short discussion with my fellow Instructional Designers on the state of Instructional Design/Instructional Designers in India prompted me to write this post.

What is the actual state of Instructional Design and Instructional Designers in India today – This is something I guess all of us in India want to know!!

Note: When I say Instructional Designers, I do not mean learning/performance consultants. I mean people who develop training material.

Based on my discussions with people in the e-learning industry and what I have seen in the recent past, here is what I assume/think is happening:

  • Rapid e-learning is very much in.
  • Flash based e-learning exists but is getting stagnant.
  • Software/Application training material dominates the e-learning market.
  • K12/Soft Skills/Other non technical training materials are getting developed but not in abundance.
  • MNCs still go for Instructor led  training programs.

How does this affect the area of Instructional Design?

  • Instructional Design can no longer be associated with creativity, innovation, thinking out of the box because templates, standards, rules and guidelines are very much in.
  • Technical Writing becomes a part of Instructional Design because most Instructional Designers today work on SAP training modules or any other technology related training material.

How does this affect Instructional Designers?

Apart from  regular skills/knowledge, Instructional Designers today :

  • MUST/NEED to be tech savvy
  • Domain expertise (software/technology/aviation/finance/more) is a must
  • Must learn to work with templates, rules, standards and guidelines
  • Must know technical writing standards
  • Must know how to use rapid e-learning tools like Articulate, Captivate, Camtasia.
  • Must know HTML, CSS

Well, whatever I have listed here is based on assumptions. I really don’t have facts or findings.

Can you help?

If you are in the e-learning industry or into the e-learning business, please take sometime to correct whatever I have shared in this post or share facts/findings, if you have any. This will help a lot of people in India.

11 comments to What is the state of Instructional Design/ers in India?

  • Priya P

    Hi Rupa,

    I do agree with all that you’ve stated here. However, I do believe creativity’s not dead in ID…not by a long shot.

    Let me take the much maligned application based courses where people think we can never be creative. Not true. There’s really more to application based courses than steplists. Do we apply any thought into explaining to the learner the concept of the application – what it does, who’s going to use it to do what, and when to use it. More often than not, we use text and some random interactive treatment to teach the concept (tab treatments and mouseovers have been done to death with here.) A conceptual animation with the right audio script helps drive home the importance of using an application. And an ID can have so much fun scripting the animation.

    How about writing interesting VO script in demonstrations? For instance, if you know a certain field’s going to allow you to set reminders, instead of ‘To set a reminder, click blah blah’, try a line like, ‘So if you know your client’s got a birthday on May 25th, you can set the reminder here and surprise him by blah bla…’ You get the drift.

    And what about self checks and assessment questions in an application based course? For the life of me, I can’t figure out why we have questions around buttons, fields, and that red dot next to a field to indicate important data entry…SHUDDER! How about proper scenario based questions incorporating branching logic? There’s a lot of thought that goes into creating them.

    My main grouse has always been that we seem to be using standards, guidelines, and templates as an excuse to create boring courses. Standards and templates don’t really define how we write content. And that is what we eventually do….design instruction aka content. So thinking out of the box really is dependent on the ID who’s got it in him/her or to twist the rules to suit his/her needs.

    Do note, this is just my take and I don’t expect anyone to subscribe to my point of view. ?

  • I just hope creativity still exists… as far as I know companies follow such stringent rules and guidelines, doing something that’s not regular is not accepted.

    However I agree being creative withing limits is yet another skill to acquire.

  • Hi Rupa,

    Thanks for updating us on what ID in India is today. I must say it paints a very sorry picture. I do agree that there are some really good applications that provide templates and that most IDs are not using it to its full potential.

    Having said that, we work very differently at Kern. Whether it is a low interactivity course or a high interactivity course, we ensure that its a product we are proud of. We ensure that we do justice to the trust the client has placed in us.

    Maybe I am just blessed to be in an organization that believes in adapting with time and allowing the complete freedom to make a great product.

    Templates and guidelines are just that. If you can show value in an idea, why would people be against it? Just my thought…

    I do wish for a better future for the ID in India. This way we will soon be redundant. Anyone can do our job.


  • Breeze

    Hey Archana,

    Can you let me know what is the scope or demand for ID in Singapore and other Asian economies like Seoul and HongKong. Do they have demand for ID specialist from India.

    Also is there some kinda certification for ID.

    ID Newbie

  • Bidyut

    Hi Rupa,
    I totally agree to your views on the state of Instructional Designers in India. Creativity takes a backseat and is given a very low priority in almost all E-Learning development companies in India at present. It is all about sticking to the template, client suggested specifications etc. etc. Creativity is not inspired. Like Priya says, may be if you are at very senior levels of the ladder you may have the luxury of suggesting some creative inputs to the content development process but for most people who join as IDs in India today, the day is all about following to template forwarded to you. Also many people who are at Senior Positions are hardly have any proper training in Instruction Design and looks at IDs as DTP operators.

  • I agree with Bidyut. Only people at a senior level are in a position to implement creative strategies (i.e in the design level). People who have just two to three years of experience can do nothing much but to follow the design/template.

  • Pixie

    I agree to the constraints posted by Bidyut and Varshaa, however to hone and sharpen creativity in day-to-day mundane work is a challenge and it is important NOT to let the creativity in you be let down by the constraints. Being in an MNC myself, I agree the work here is driven by templates, standards and the like. This is, however, what defines quality of output and the way it caters to specific needs of the customer.

    The challenge is to CREATE at every stage within the constraints; you should take this challenge head-on at every stage of development if you are keen on using your creativity. There lies the beauty of innovation. To create without boundaries is easy; but you are ‘adding value’ when you create something unique within these boundaries and generate a ‘wow’ effect.


  • [...] post I am referring to (“What is the state of Instructional Design/ers in India?“) is from an Instructional Designer in India, Rupa Rajagopalan, writing for “The Writer’s [...]

  • Hi,

    I’m a new comer to the ID sector. Coming from advertising, it’s really a challenge for me to become the right fit in this industry. But as far as creativity is concerned, this is a place, where you can be at your most creative self!
    ID may not have the glamour of advertising, but it requires all the passion of creative writing. I’ll just post a link to a project done by our company Omnivera. It’s called “Pawan ko kahin dekha kya?”

    It’ll dispel all your doubts on the creative potential of ID.

  • Rupa

    Swarnab, thanks for sharing this link!

  • Radha

    I would like to start a career in ID . Iam a freelance content writer. Is it worth doing a course from technowrites on ID or should I read up some books.

    Please suggest

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