Video Production vs. Instructional Design

Standard

I’m sure many of my Instructional Design (ISD) friends will disagree, but I don’t think that there’s a lot of differences between video project development and ISD. I’ll wait for the ISDs to stop shaking their heads at their computer screens….it’s true. Some of the phases have different names, but the purposes are very much the same.
**Please note I’m talking about informative videos, not cute videos of your cat posted on YouTube or other videos created for entertainment.

Let’s compare…

Video

  • Audience Analysis
  • Requirements Collection
  • Interviews with Subject Matter Experts
  • Design & Development (write script, choose look and feel, etc.)
  • Evaluate

Instructional Design

  • Audience Analysis
  • Requirements Collection
  • Interviews with Subject Matter Experts
  • Design & Developments (write instructor guide, decide on look and feel of materials, etc.)
  • Evaluate

Even with writing there are similarities. You have to determine the most logical approach for the project. Where do you start? Where do you end? Whether you’re teaching or video taping a process you move from step-to-step in logical progression. The level of detail and end purpose may be different, but they way you go about it is essentially the same.

Whether I’m writing a script or writing an instructor guide I look at it as telling a story. Yes, there are differences but the fundamentals are the same. You need to get a point across. You want to have the viewer or learner leave knowing something that they didn’t know before.

I’ve come across more than one ISD or learning professional that will completely disagree with me. They are certain that the approach is completely different. And even when the instructional documents I completed were on par with what they completed (using their “vastly different” approach) they refused to believe that I used anything other than the same approach that they did.

I will agree that the level of detail, and the execution are different. And I know how hard it is to update video compared to updating and design document or instructor guide. I agree that there are differences. But most of the differences are in the fine print and not in the steps taken.

I’d like to think that video production folks, Instructional Designers, e-learning gurus, teachers, professors, and producers do more things alike than they do different. I think that it’s like having a different dialect. We’re all speaking the same language, we just have a different way of talking about things. The biggest differences come at the beginning of the project when the type of medium used and the purpose is decided (think back to the cute kitten video mentioned above – videos done for entertainment do not fit the approach I’ve described as well as a documentary or instructional video.)

Now, I’m sure that there’s someone out there reading this who is not happy with this line of thinking. I’m pretty sure that there are folks who could be down right angry. They’ll demand to know how someone like me – a video person for Pete’s sake! – could know anything about instructional design. I’ve spent most of my time in corporate video working with instructional designers on instructional videos. I also spent a few years working as an ISD developing a class complete with instructor guide and handouts. There are still people who I worked with then who don’t believe I developed the materials I did approaching it “my way.”

I say as long as the product does what it is intended to do, meets its objects and succeeds in training or educating someone, does it matter how you got there?

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