Friday, December 19, 2008

Should IDs Acquire the Knowledge of GDs

I have been thinking this for a long time whether instructional designers should learn to use software tools like captivate files and flash? I've come across many blogs where it has been debated that the role of instructional designers (ID) should not overlap the role of the graphic designers (GD).

But I strongly believe that if an ID has the knowledge of software programs like Flash, Captivate, SnagIT, Photoshop and such technical writing software tools, it can double the productivity of an ID.

But the question that arises here is that one needs to spend dedicated time in order to master these tools. If you are really keen on honing these skills then am sure you need to spend time, money, and energy and join an institute offering training on these tools.

Another way is to download the trial version and practice on your own. Recently, I had to edit some videos for a certain project, using captivate. And I really enjoyed doing it because that gave me an opportunity to learn something new. But I wonder whether training on these software tools should be made mandatory as part of OJT or whether one needs to take formal training for the same altogether?

7 comments:

as_him said...

I think learning a software helps you acquire GD skills in the same way you can learn to drive a car only by reading the manual.

The key here is to develop visual thinking (which has a much wider scope than graphic design). This makes you think about content in a whole new way.

I believe graphic skills for IDs are beneficial, not a necessity.

mysterious said...

I agree with Ashim. Acquiring GD techniques are not a necessity for an ID. A GD or an Animator requires high level of visual thinking, most cases they come up with really innovating things also. That is not just learning a software!!!

But I am sure that having a basic idea about the GD works and scopes will help IDs to think out of box.

For example, the ID who knows that videos can be integrated easily into flash, which help him/ her to utilize the same knowledge in introducing video in the design if necessary which in turn makes the course simple and effective!

Mousumi Ghosh said...

I agree with both of you Ashim and Nishana that acquiring GD skills is not a necessity. The point that I tried to make is that if we know how to use these software we can work not only as ID with added skill set, but later on we can look forward to working as technical writers as well.

Also as they say "little knowledge is dangerous", hence I believe that if am using a any of the software mentioned in the write up for a certain project, why not learn the whole of it to be more productive.

satya said...

If you are in the software product training space, learning Captivate is a must. Moreover, captivate is a not really a GD tool. It would be unfair to ask the GDs to understand how a task is done and take the screen capture from the product UI. You can ask the GDs to enhance the capture or add features to it, though. Tools like SnagIt also come handy while storyboarding for software products. However, learning tools like Flash or Photoshop may not really help an ID much. FYI, I am working in the technical course development space.

Mousumi Ghosh said...

Hi Satya, good to know about your opinion on my write up. This info was helpful. :-)

Preethi said...

I agree with you Mousumi that learning new tools is really interesting. Personally, I have learnt Photoshop, Camtasia, a little bit of Flash and Simulation authoring tools all on my own. I feel learning a couple of tools that hone your GD skills does help in understanding their contribution to a product or course, as well as how best we can make it more visually entertaining and learner friendly.

Plus, there might also be instances where IDs can pitch in with GDs and get a more wholesome output. But then again, it all depends on how the skills come handy. Learning is still learning, even if it's not one's core skill set. Its more fun and something to be proud of when the situation demands it :)

Mousumi Ghosh said...

Thanks for ur comment on my write up Preethi. I completely agree with you. Learning is learning and you many not know when it comes in handy.