Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

Getting Started with Instructional Design

Lately I’ve been asked by a few people on how to get started with a career in instructional design and elearning. Here are some of the questions I received:

  • Could someone suggest that how to start my career in Instructional Systems Design field?
  • I'm interested in joining the field of Instructional Design. I've done my MA in English and also a diploma course in multimedia. I would really appreciate it if you could guide me on which companies to approach and how, to secure an entry level position. I am looking for something in the NCR region.
  • Can u tell me how relevant is teaching exp to ID?.....If I've 4 yrs of teaching exp, what would be the starting salary in ID?
  • Lots of my friends want to know about some good courses they can take on ID - ISDT / Symbiosis ID are amongst courses they are considering. Any suggestions?
  • Well i wud lik to get som information of ID work. if u share some link and actual ID work for elearning.

 

Getting Started

So what does it really take to be an instructional designer? What is instructional design anyway? Christy Tucker has a great series of six posts that can help you get started. Start with her first post in the series – What does an Instructional Designer do? and follow her other posts. Closer home, Rupa Rajagopalan also provides practical tips about instructional design in her blog One-Stop Resource for Instructional Designing. Start with archives on her blog and read your way up chronological posts. I also found an interesting article by Shilpa Shet on instructional design as a career. I have also written in the past about competencies required for an instructional design role. That post also has links to other sources for the same.

You could start with the following sites to get more information about elearning, instructional design, course development, although some of these just might be too heavy for absolutely new users.


Elearning/Content development Companies

There are many elearning/content development companies in NCR region. NIIT, Genpact, IBM are the larger ones and Infopro, Liqvid, Servetium, G-Cube are some of the smaller companies in NCR region. I have compiled a small list of companies on eCube Directory listing. It is not comprehensive by any means, but a start nevertheless. I am told that there are more than 100 elearning/content development companies in India.

Instructional Design Courses

I am not sure how good the courses in India are. I recommend getting a job instead. Symbiosis is quoted more often in conversations and so must be gaining some popularity as an instructional design course. But honestly, as a manager who has had to recruit for ID, I look for prior experience, and if there is no prior experience, I look for their core writing skills and ability to learn. Having a diploma is good but not essential.

Having said that, here are some of the courses you could look at. I have not evaluated any of them and don’t necessarily endorse any of them.

 

Career and Salaries in Instructional Design Jobs

Teaching experience helps but it actually depends on what you were teaching and what content you will be creating when you start with instructional design. If you were teaching in a school and you get a job to create K-12 (school) content, then your teaching experience will be relevant and may be considered when the company decides your starting salary. Most companies though will take your past work experience into consideration and give you some weightage for the same.

Basically you need to have good writing skills. This is most critical to get into instructional design job. Without good writing skills, it will be difficult to get into the role of ID. Writing skills is typically what is tested by companies for taking on new IDs.

Starting salary with 4 yrs exp but no exp in ID can vary from company to company. You can expect between 1.5 lac to 4 lac per annum CTC. The range is wide since the industry is relatively small. CTC will include PF, medical insurance etc. Refer to my unofficial salary survey of elearning and content development jobs for more inputs.

One could also try to land a job as technical writer to start with. Many technology companies hire tech writers, though it helps if you have a tech background to get started in a tech company. You will first probably start as content developer or tech writer, before moving to actual design. Good writing skills are essential for getting entry into the field.


56 comments:

Rupa said...

Manish, this post is certainly going to attract aspiring Instructional Designers.

Thanks for posting this info.

regards
Rupa

Meenakshi said...

The latest post on ID is very informative. Do any of those elearning companies operate from Mumbai? However, the salaries you mention don't encourage me to leave my current job. Many of those questions you listed on the blog echo in my mind as well. I guess ID is used more often in corporate training and is probably getting to be popular in K-12 education. I was interested in knowing if ID is being used in the higher education field (in India).

Rajiv Chalke said...

Thanks Manish, That was informative. I only knew about Symbiosis, which seems more credible with their experience with teaching Mass Com etc.

How does one distinguish a good writer, does it necessarily mean a qualified/certified one. If so what kind of certification could one get. I feel I am good at writing.. or expressing in words, though may not be technically correct English all the time.

VVR saikrishna said...

hi manish..nice to see ur blog giving such relevant information.

i have a doubt in the elearning presentation tool CAMTASIA 5.0

CAN U CLARIFY IT?

i wanted to know how to control the speed of the clip with callouts

i am facing problem in sinking both the callouts with the clip speed

please guide me a solution, i will be thankful to u

Manish Mohan said...

@Rajiv -- Well if you are asking about a good Technical Writer, then correct English is a must. You should be able to write concisely and to the point. Brevity in writing and correct grammar are critical for technical writing. Tech Writing employers would get very worried if you told them that you are "good at expressing in words, though may not be technically correct English all the time."

@Saikrishna -- I haven't used Camtasia recently. I will check with others and see if we can get an answer. You could also try posting this query on technical forums about Camtasia/multimedia tools.

Rajiv Chalke said...

No.. Not for technical writing. But for ID. Do IDs always get some support on that front? Maybe a content writer/Editor. If I were to do ID. I would be a more visually inclined person curious to learn ID. Since I have worked with IDs in the past, done visual design, created storyboards and handling a team to execute e-learning content.

Mousumi Ghosh said...

Really informative article. Since I am working as an ID, I feel OJT is the way way to learn. But to get a fair knowlege about the basics of ID a diploma would be useful. But again the study material that SCDL provides is not upto the mark I feel. I can access the information that is complied in the study material (SCDL)by surfing on the net.

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Mousumi
Thanks for sharing your experiences. There is a discussion ongoing at eCube team blog about the ID training programs in India. Would love to hear from you on the subject.

Teach Children How to Write said...

Even I feel that SCDL provides upto the mark, as I am one of the student of SCDL. Manish your blog truly contains good information. Thanks for sharing this with us..:)

Vibha Babbar said...

Hello Manish,
Thanks for the post. I’m an English Hons. Graduate and pursuing my MA in English through a correspondence course. I’m working as a content writer since past 1.5 years, and find ID interesting. I have sound writing skills, but no diploma or ID certified course. Can I make a career in ID straight away?

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Vibha

You absolutely can start with a career in instructional design. In fact your content writing experience will also help you. All the best.

Vibha Babbar said...

Thanks Manish.

Anonymous said...

i dont understand what instructional designers mean.i am a computer teacher with the knowledge of languages basically c++ java etc. Now i Have been asked by the school to take a chargeof multimedia conyent developr for classes 5 to 12 all the subject.so i would like to know what course should i do to match the need.

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Anonymous

According to Wikipedia, Instructional Design is the practice of creating instructional tools and content to help facilitate learning most effectively.

Since you are in a school, I am guessing that the curriculum and content is going to be pretty much defined. You say that you have been put in charge of multimedia content development. Does the school already have any multimedia content? Is the school expecting you to build all content? I would recommend that you connect with a professional company to start with instead of trying to do it all. You could also look at buying products for your school instead of building (or getting built) content specifically for your school.

You should learn Adobe Flash, and Photoshop at the very minimum. You should also read a lot about Instructional Design and Content Development on the Internet. You could start with the Wikipedia link in this message above.

Prathi said...

Hi Manish,

I am currently pursuing my Masters in Instructional Design and Technology at a University in the US. I was wondering if my degree will be of any value in India.

Any thoughts from a IDT veteran like you would be helpful.

Thank You.

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Prathi

I do believe that your degree will be considered in your employment. The weightage given to your degree while considering you for employment may be different in different companies. I would be interested in knowing your experiences when you do start your job hunt in India. You can share your experience in this blog or write to me at manishmo2007 at gmail.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

I am an Instructional Designer with 1.5 years experience and 2 years in content Development. Now I have got an offer for Sr.Instructional Designer. What should be the expected salary...?

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Anonymous

Your salary depends on city, company, previous salary, education and of course your negotiation skills. You may want to check out the latest elearning salary survey findings to get more data points.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

How important is the subject knowledge in the field of instructional design? Can someone from a non IT background get into the profile for ID in IT companies...

Manish Mohan said...

HI Anonymous

Having subject knowledge helps but is not essential for getting started in the field of instructional design. However it is possible that IT companies may prefer people with technical background for an ID role. They may hire someone without technical background if the person has enough experience in developing technical content.

Anonymous said...

in that case what kind of add on courses can one do to get started with technical writing?? are there any certification prog. available?

Manish Mohan said...

I am not really aware of technical writing courses in India. You could try this Google search.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am in education industry for one and a half year now..I want to change my field to ID and want to do diploma in the same...Which is the best institute you would suggest for a short term course say a three month diploma?

The course offered by Symbiosis is for 1 yr (I can not wait for that long to change). Also the course curriculum is not clear to me (I am not sure whether they train in softwares like captivate and camtasia)

Please suggset for good institutes for an online course...Have you heard of kbuffer? How is it (in terms of value of its diploma couse and curriculum)? Please help...

jayjit dasgupta said...

very interested in switching to ID. As a cr.director (copy, Scripts and Storyboards) in advertising agencies, i know i'd fit in. But don't have direct ID experience, making a switch untenable. bit of a quandary. maybe you have some magic solution to offer. shall look forward to it, if any. at any rate, wanted to congratulate you on a fantastic job - yours is one of the very few (only one?) sites on ID that equally caters to those from india. It's authentic, interesting and yes, important to the nurturing of new thought and developers in the field. Kudos!...

Mousumi said...

hi,
m working in an education sector and think it is d growing industry, now can you please tell me how much would ID help in my career?....

Jenny said...

Hi,

How effective would be the ID in an education sector...?

Jumana said...

Hello Manish,
Thank you for this article. When I first thought of starting a career in instructional design. I searched the internet for articles and insights to help me make my decision.
Christy Tucker series indeed was a tremendous help in choosing instructional design as a career.. I currently study for a certificate in instructional Design from Walden University.
I strongly agree that good writing skills are critical for an instructional designer. I haven’t been actually tested by my current company but because my native and English language skills are better than rest of my colleagues I was given most of the instructional designing tasks rather than the media developing tasks.

In my opinion other skills are also needed. Besides your passion to learn and help others learn, some educational/training background sure is helpful. Interpersonal and team work skills are also essential as you will be working with the subject experts, learners (students) and other team members.
IDs are also expected to be familiarized with the latest technologies in learning with the ability to design and edit electronic media.
The internet offers many free resources to read and learn about Instructional design. Not to mention the blogs written by instructional designers as yourself.
Your other article: Staying Up to Date with Instructional Design Skills is also useful. In fact, setting and connecting to other instructional designers blogs is one of the first assignments we were given as part of our course.

Mohammad Atif said...

Hi All,

I want a little bit guidance. I am MCA from a recognized university in India. Initially I worked as a Web Developer but the coding world ceased to inspire me and I entered the world of writing. First of all I worked as a Technical Writing in a MNC but after working there for 3 months, had to leave the company due to its internal problems. Currently, I have 2 years Plus experience in Content Writing but I haven't yet touched the 20K mark.

Can anyone suggest me the best option from among Technical Writing or Instructional Designing that I should try to accelerate in my career? I am better off being a content writer now. Companies, including MNCs have been calling me for the profiles of ID or TR but since my core experience is in Content so my resume is not forwarded further since I lag behind in ILT, WBT or similar things. Kindly guide me on all this...Hopeful of a positive response.

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Arif

Salary in a new job depends on many things, including city of work, education qualifications and how you fare in interviews. Salary in existing job depends on your performance, size of the company, how the role is perceived in the company etc. Also, it is not clear whether the 20K you mention is take home or CTC.

Actually tech writers can get paid more than instructional designers depending on their technical capabilities. Since you have worked as a Web Developer earlier, I would recommend that you highlight this in your resumes and interview for Tech Writing positions.

Anonymous said...

Hello Manish, Thanks for such an informative blog.I am an MCA(2000) with little job experience in photoshop. I was on sabbatical from last few years and now want to restart my career in Instructional Design. Do you think I should take some course on ID or online self study will be helpful? Please guide me how should i proceed. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

can u pls say me wer is the id training center in calcutta

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Anonymous
My honest advise to you would be to seek another career instead of Instructional Design. Like I have mentioned in my post on Instructional Designer competencies (http://manishmo.blogspot.in/2008/01/instructional-designer-competencies.html), writing correctly is a critical skill. You should try to improve your writing skills significantly before attempting a career in Instructional Design.

Archana Paramesh said...

Hi Manish
I'm an engineering graduate with 2 years of experience as a mainframe developer and another year as a lecturer in an engineering college. I quit my job when my son was born. Now I'm dabbling with this idea of pursuing an online course in ID as I've heard that there are part time and work from home options as well in this career . But Im not exactly sure how far such roles exist and if the course will be of any help. Would really like to know your views on that. I would also like to know if there are any freelancing options for people like me.

Archana Paramesh said...

Hi Manish
I'm an engineering graduate with 2 years of experience as a mainframe developer and another year as a lecturer in an engineering college. I quit my job when my son was born. Now I'm dabbling with this idea of pursuing an online course in ID as I've heard that there are part time and work from home options as well in this career . But Im not exactly sure how far such roles exist and if the course will be of any help. Would really like to know your views on that. I would also like to know if there are any freelancing options for people like me.

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Archana
There are definitely freelancing options available in this field. If you have the right skills, you should be able to make your career in Instructional Design and Technical Writing. All the best.

Candice D said...

Hi Manish,

I am a communication and cultural trainer with a BPO in Mumbai. I have always loved to write and develop content. I heard about ID and as mentioned by a lot of people, thought that an opportunity for OJT would be ideal. Based on the requirements of our Clients I even assisted in proposing a learning methodology which could change the entire focus of training from theory based learning to e-learning and adult learning.

I was happy when this proposal was accepted by the clients as a winner to be used globally across all the vendors sites however, I was disappointed later when I had to back out of this project due to lack of extensive knowledge/expertise in ID. My organization plans to outsource this to a team of ID/consultants. I will try to get an insight of how the instructional designers work while the content is being revamped for our organization.


However to gain expertise and also to professionally get into this field, I am interested to know if I could use the course offered by the Symbiosis center for Distance Learning or any other courses as a stepping stone towards ID.

The information provided here has been very useful and I am looking forward to your advice.

Regards,
Candice David

Inigo Cook said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jemma Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephanie said...

Hi Manish. I'm glad I found your blog. I find it rather difficult to gather information instructional design and its possibilities in India. I have taught in school for 6 years and have developed online lessons/storyboards for NIIT. My designation was SME but I actually designed the lesson as well as developed the content for it. After that I took a break for a year to care for my baby. I have also got a little experience in web content editing. I want to know: 1) What is the starting salary can I reasonably expect based on my experience? (I have looked at your salary survey but since it does not mention past experience, it does not answer my question.) 2) My writing skills and lesson-planning skills are, quite frankly, really good and yet I feel that for some reason my profile doesn't fit in with what companies are looking for. Do you have any thoughts on this? 3) I want to get into ID since I love education. Can you tell me what is the best thing I can do to achieve that aim?

Gunjan said...

Hello Manish,

Thanks for the article.

I am MCA with 8 years of Information Technology experience. I was working as Tech Lead with an MNC before quitting the job 2 years back due to maternity reasons. I got interested in Corporate Training as a profession while I was working. I realized how the quality of instructional material and the competency of the trainer could actually sway the entire experience from being appealing to appalling! That is when I thought that a lot can be done in this area and I started thinking about this seriously. Since I was already working I never thought of making that shift.
Now, I have started thinking about working on my career again and the only thing that keeps coming back to my mind is this field of Instructional Design and E-Learning. I spoke to a couple of my friends who are Corporate Trainers and they suggested me the following:

1. Take some course in Instructional Design like PGDID from Symbiosis.
2. Attend some trainings like Train The Trainer from Dale Carnegie (I am from Bangalore)to hone your skills as a facilitator.
3. Join some Company that is in Corporate Training and get some work experience.

The above sounds workable and I have also been reading Wikipedia & other web links on this field to be very sure about what I will be getting into if I decide on this. Salary wise too I understand that I shall not be taking home what I was, even two years back. So far, my interest in it has only been growing and I want to work in this area.

Since you are working in this field (the ones I spoke to are not specialists in ID) I thought to seek your advice on this. Do the above 3 steps sound workable to you? I know I should be a 100% confident about what I want to do but I don't want to jump the wagon only on my instinct & interest without carefully studying the field which I have 0 work experience in.

Thanks & Regards,
Gunjan

Anonymous said...

Hi Manish,

I am currently working as an ID in an entry level position with a product based MNC. I was initially employed as a content development associate where my role was to develop and structure content for lessons. Later my designation was changed to instructional designer. Even though, I was part of the e-learning division, I did not get many opportunities for actual design of courses or core ID tasks.

I am now looking to move into technical writing. I am more interested in technical writing, since my core skills are writing, editing and reviewing. However, I am having a hard time getting any offer, since I neither have a technical background, nor relevant experience. This is despite a short training in technical writing, which gave me some exposure to technical writing concepts and tools, eg. FrameMaker, RoboHelp.
How can I get a break in this field? Is my experience as a course content developer relevant to a technical writing job?

Manish Mohan said...

@Candice:
Doing a course in Instructional Design will help in understanding and implementing ID better. More importantly, it will also help you establish your credentials in your company since you will have a formal certificate in Instructional Design. All the best.

Manish Mohan said...

@Stephine:
1) What is the starting salary can I reasonably expect based on my experience?
It really depends on the organization. Also it depends on the kind of content you will be working on. For example, companies developing content for schools hire teachers and train them. Their salaries might be different from companies hiring for corporate content development or web content development. From what I hear in the industry, with 6 years experience in school, you can probably expect a starting salary somewhere between 40K and 70K. Companies may also provide you with a CTC of 6 to 9 lacs per annum including benefits like PF, insurance etc.

2) My writing skills and lesson-planning skills are, quite frankly, really good and yet I feel that for some reason my profile doesn't fit in with what companies are looking for. Do you have any thoughts on this?
The companies need to evaluate and be the best judge of your writing and lesson planning skills. You have experience teaching in a school. It is possible that you might be applying to companies creating instructional material for corporates (adult education). This might be one of the reasons for mismatch. If you apply for content developer/ID job for school content development, it might be a better match.

3) I want to get into ID since I love education. Can you tell me what is the best thing I can do to achieve that aim?
You seem to have started our well with developing content. Doing a certificate course will help establish credibility. The best is keep working either as a freelancer or getting a job in one of the companies.

All the best.

Manish Mohan said...

@Gunjan
Corporate trainer and instructional designers are two separate professions. For either job having the knowledge of the other is an added advantage.

There is a good demand for corporate trainers in IT field. You can send me your resume or connect with me on LinkedIn. At my company we are always looking out for trainers with hands on experience. You could do corporate training as a freelancer or join a company doing corporate training.

Manish Mohan said...

@Anonymous:
For Technical Writers, companies prefer people with background in technology (education and experience of working on technology projects). I am not sure what kind of content you are developing at the MNC you are working. You could try to get into projects that involve content development for technology subject areas. Also since you are working in product-based MNS, you might also try to get a lateral movement into technical writing role.
All the best.

Jackie O'Brien said...

This is very interesting. We're actually looking for young software engineers to help us design brand new versions of our DCIM solutions for data centers. It's very interesting to learn a bit more about how much training is required for instructional design.

- Jackie

priyanka dey said...

Hi Manish,
Nice informative article. I am working as a content writer since last 4 years. But now I want to shift my career to ID field. I am planning to do an instructional design course from Symbiosis. Will it be of any help? Plzz suggest

Manish Mohan said...

@priyanka dey -- Transition from Content Write to Instructional Designer should be easy for you and the course will definitely help you get started. All the best :-)

abhilash said...

Hi...i am into teaching graduate and post graduate students in the field of animation film making and visual communication...with approx 9yrs experience..in Bangalore..i have a good flair for academic writing...with experience in writing thesis, research and technical papers especially on films..i am looking forward to shift my career where my research paper writing for films will hve more scope and growth. but not very clear..shud it be content writing..ID or some other profile. Also would request you to suggest companies/sectors where these skills are required..thanks. abhilash

Manish Mohan said...

@Abhilash -- thanks for writing in. I am not completely sure of the scope of growth for research paper writing for films. My guess is you could look at working closely with film institutes and other training schools in the field. You could also start your blog and establish your social presence and credibility in the field. All the best.

Natarajan S said...

Hi manish,
I am an Electrical engineer with a work experience of close to 2 years in manufacturing industry before I could quit my job for family reasons.. Now I want to restart my career, do some course which will help me find a good career option as well provide work flexibility.. Recently came across the 1 year PG diploma course from SICL.. How would you suggest this as an option with no prior experience any where close to this field..

Natarajan S said...

*SIDL

Natarajan S said...

Hi manish,
I am an Electrical engineer with a work experience of close to 2 years in manufacturing industry before I could quit my job for family reasons.. Now I want to restart my career, do some course which will help me find a good career option as well provide work flexibility.. Recently came across the 1 year PG diploma course from SICL.. How would you suggest this as an option with no prior experience any where close to this field..

Unknown said...

Hi Manish,

I am Deepali from Pune. I have almost 6 years of experience as a college professor, Corporate Trainer etc.( All technical). I used to teach all computer language.

So, Do you think Instructional Designing is a right choice to grow now ? I mean in India, does ID field has a chance for career growth ?

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Deepali from Pune

Yes you could try Instructional Design as a career. Your experience as a trainer and professor will give you the advantage of knowing your audience better.

All the best :-)

komal ethios said...

#TWB provides #Technical #Communication #Services and publishing services provider. #TWB course in #Technical #Communication, you can become a #Technical #Writer, a #Business #Communicator, technical writing and communication or an Instructional Designer. Each of these fields offers tremendous potential based on your writing abilities, and technology awareness.
TWB Technical Communication Services | Publishing Services Provider




Post a Comment

Sponsors

.

Subscribe to this blog

Get updates in your email. Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 Subscribe Posts feed

 Subscribe Comments feed

Blog Archive

Readers

Visitors

Related Posts with Thumbnails

About Me

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.

Blogroll