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Instructional Designer Profile – Oma Singh

August 20, 2010

The field of Instructional Design (ID) is still relatively new and professionals enter this work in a variety of ways. The possible projects, work settings, methods, job titles and descriptions are many. The goal of this planned series of posts is to introduce you to practicing instructional designers so that you can learn more about their perspectives and work.

Meet Oma Singh!

Oma is currently the Assistant Director for Assessment for a faculty support center at a large public university. Oma received her Ph.D. in Instructional Technology with a cognate in Adult Education from the University of South Florida. She has extensive experience and education in the field of Management Information Systems, and has held positions as a computer programmer, instructional designer, and instructor to name a few. Oma believes in putting theory into practice and is committed to lifelong learning and helping others learn through innovative use of technology.

Q:  How did you enter the field of instructional design/technology?

A:  I wanted to move from a business perspective of technology use to an educational perspective of technology use. I have found that an educational perspective is personally more rewarding for me.

Q:  What is the most rewarding part of your work?

A:  Actually seeing the course you developed up and running smoothly online. It felt good.

Q:  What is the most challenging part of your work?

A:  Getting the Subject Matter Experts (SME) to provide accurate content on time. Guiding the SMEs to avoid plagiarism and to keep their content authentic, to the point, and original, while avoiding fluff and fillers. This is especially true for online learning.

Q:  What do you wish you knew more about?

A:  I would like to learn more about different content development tools.

Q:  Are you currently involved in professional development activities?

A:  I attend and present at various conferences and teach myself tools that IDs are using currently. I subscribe to instructional design related blogs and journals.

Q:  What advice do you have for someone entering the instructional design field?

A:  Develop a set of skills that are considered valuable in the instructional design field – going beyond PowerPoint! Subscribe to ID blogs. Download free trials and create your own online course or a mini-course. Create an ePortfolio, putting your examples online, and make it professional for job hunting. Volunteer to develop courses or online interactions for school, home, church, community – anything that will get you some experience. If you are in school, get a part-time ID job!

Q:  If you had to name/predict the most important trends for the future, what would they be?

A:  More learning interventions that are similar to apps developed for the iPad. More 3D type simulations. Interactive eBooks.

Oma’s responses provide us with a quick look at the work of an instructional designer in higher education administration supporting faculty with the development of online educational experiences. Did any of her responses surprise you? What else would you like to know?

Photo credit: Stock.Xchng

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucinda Mendenhall permalink
    March 12, 2011 10:34 pm

    Motivation, or lack there of, seems to be one of the most pressing issues in educating youth today. In the “olden days” grades were considered a great reward. Students had drive, whether it was for reward, punishment, or self-gratification. Now, only students who have intrinsic motivation will work within the cognitivism or constructivism models with their own need and desire to do well.

    Students in this day and age seem to be more extrinsically motivated and the use of technology helps. The kids of today are used to instant-gratification and fast paced input. With this fast paced input it is a challenge to get students to think cognitively. I love the idea that more 3D graphics and apps are the wave of the future, kids need that kind of input. Designing instruction, one should put the interests of those being instructed first, making the instruction relevant and interesting.

    Thank you for the helpful hints and insights into the Instructional Design field!
    Cindy

    • March 13, 2011 2:51 pm

      Cindy – thanks for sharing your perspective on motivation and learning. You’ve hit on a number of important design considerations here, not the least of which is “making the instruction relevant and interesting.” Important for all learner age groups I think. Technology is constantly evolving giving us more options as instructional designers, but also the challenge of making sure we evaluate and select wisely for use in learning environments. Thanks for stopping by Design Doc!

  2. Ravish permalink
    January 3, 2013 7:38 am

    The field of Instructional Design is continuously evolving with the technology. I have seen Instructional Designers challenging the traditional approaches of learning and coming up with innovative and effective learning approaches, making Instructional Design an art like painting and poetry. Today, ID has become more learner centered than ever before. Language style used, choice of ID technology, ID techniques, delivery medium, learning content, content presentation, etc., are selected only after analyzing and understanding the learners’ requirements. At design phase usually the first question that IDs asked was “What content has to be taught to learners in this course”? But, today IDs ask, “Why is this course offered to the learner”? There is an attitude change. When I started ID 3 yrs back, we were not that much concerned about why learner will use our learning material and how is it going to impact the learning of the learner. Reason, customer defined the requirement and our major concern was to deliver what customer asked for. I hardly saw anyone really analyzing the learner requirements seriously. Today, IDs are becoming learning consultants. They not only develop and deliver learning material, but they also offer learning solutions. Correct me if I am wrong, I personally feel that an instructional designer can evolve to become a good instructional designer if and only if he is a good learning consultant.

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