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Instructional Designers or Multimedia Producers?

Am I an Instructional Designer or a Multimedia Producer? Sometimes, it feels as though the lines blur a bit.

You see, as an instructional designer for a small-ish online course development department, I find that I must produce most of my own multimedia. While this might not be an issue for larger corporations that can afford more staff, those on small teams or are the only person developing education/training must rely on their own innate skills to create effective learning, which includes multimedia.

When I begin the ID process, I must be very aware of what types of media (particularly interactivities) that I include because I typically don’t have enough time to create as much as I’d like.

This is an issue that can stifle creativity sometimes.

For example, on the latest course I developed, I ended up including only 2 interactivities and 1 interactive tutorial (created in Captivate and Flash). On top of that, I created the banners, chose images, and developed additional files for the course (developed with Photoshop and Acrobat). The course had the potential to include several more interactivities that could have made the connection between content and application a lot clearer.

However, I had to balance my work flow, time, and effort against the course outcomes, design, and deadline. I could have spent most of my time just on producing the multimedia rather than concentrating on making sure the course itself was solid.

While I enjoy creating the multimedia, I wonder sometimes, because I am a “one woman show” so to speak, that the production of multimedia distracts too much from the goal of creating solid education. While I don’t have a really good answer to this problem, I figure its a matter of perspective and restraint.

Perspective in the sense that whatever multimedia I do create must map directly back to the course outcomes and support the essential information that the learner needs to have. Multimedia shouldn’t be used just because it looks cool. It needs a purpose. Restraint goes hand in hand with purpose. Just because I can doesn’t mean I should. Each project is unique and the restraints of the project should dictate on how much time I can spend on developing multimedia.

So to answer the question posed at the beginning of the post, although I develop multimedia it does not mean I am a Mulimedia Producer. Rather, I am an Instructional Designer who uses multimedia production as a tool to develop effective and memorable learning.

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