The world is a place full of so many different professions that need people to train to be regarded as professionals of a specific area. Doctors, managers, engineers, drivers, teachers, professors, lecturers and so many other professionals are qualified because the people did some kind of training. The training offered by the relevant institutions were not just conducted without guidelines, there were and there are still guidelines showing what is required when one wants to become a qualified professional.
These guidelines are implemented in a process that has the specific instructions developed in a systematic manner known as the instructional design. Instructional design is an out line of well organised specific instructions on a specific profession guiding trainers on how to produce quality education and profession in a learning environment (Teaching Center, 2004). An instructional design always have four major steps though different models have different ways of showing these steps.
It always has the design and the analysis step, the implementation and the production step, the developing step, and the review and evaluation step (Teaching Center, 2004). Why would an institution look for this kind of a process? Performance of an organisation depends on the employees, and the skills these employees have must be of importance to an institution. Another issue is that no organisation or institution would like to have a bad reputation of producing low quality professional skills, institutions would work towards the standards required by the public.
Instructional design helps quality skill and performance production (Whiddett and Hollyforde, 2003). Professional Development Professional development is the manner in which the skills a person requires to maintain a specific line of career are developed or maintained. It is usually offered through continued education and training. Professional development is always a role left to the human resource manager or professional trainers in development departments in the organization. Teachers, lecturers and other educational trainers also play a big role in the professional development.
The teachers and education organization trainers offer professional skills to students under various fields of study or profession. They are therefore required to know the steps and instructional designs used for the development of students professionally as Graff et. al note in their book (2006). Professional development involves the formal kind of education for example university education, post secondary education or even polytechnic education that enables a person to obtain a certificate or a credential that will enable him/her to get employment and retain it due to the knowledge the person has gained.
The process of professional development therefore involves teaching on the various topics of the profession and other training procedures like practicals and internships (Gaff et. al, 2006). A teacher is required to organise how this professional development will be done on his/her students over a given period of time. There are other ways that professional development could be done, for example personal coaching can lead to one gaining the relevant knowledge and required training for a certain profession. This is mostly done through professional development individual and informal programs.
Professional development in a work place enhances the individual skills on the processes and tasks at work. These skills that can be improved are such as team management skills, effectiveness skills and the system of and organization’s thinking skills. The task skills that can be enhanced by professional development are such as skills on training safety, applications on computer software and skills on customer services (Cindy et. al, 2000). Professional development can also be a choice of the already employed.
In this situation the individual under the current occupation undergoes the relevant training to improve his/her skills on the specific profession. Examples of normally desired skills for this kind of professional development are; leadership skills for the managers and skills on specific training techniques on different professions for example the training skills on, metal work equipments, engineers, medical practitioners and many others. There are different requirements for different professions in professional development.
The kind of training that a medical student undergoes is not the same as the kind of training an accounting student would undergo. The different fields require different knowledge, skills and internships. An example of a professional development is in the health care profession that involves the development of skills, knowledge and attitude of the students or the workers to ensure that they work effectively and confidently (Work Cover 2003). In order to gain the knowledge, skills and the attitude, the students or the health care workers have to be trained, mentored and supervised.
Organisational structures have to be created and maintained as well to ensure team work in the medical field and support for the individuals (National Society, 1986). Another example of professional development is training of customers which is normally done by manufactures with new machines and would like to train their customers on how to use the machine. This is normally referred to as an after sales service that aims to prevent misuse of the equipment, technology or a system (National Society, 1986).
Instructional Designs There are so many definitions to an instructional design. An instructional design can be defined as an organised out line of a teacher’s or a trainer’s program on how professional development will be conducted or performed. It can also be referred to as a model developed for a competency based system. Another definition according to a learning and teaching center indicates that an instructional design is an effective transfer tool with instructions used by teachers and learners to organise communication technology (2004).
The instructional design is organised based on the profession to be developed, the students to be trained, the time available for training, available resources and the requirements of the course of the specific profession. Why would there be instructional designs? Different professions have different requirements and standards of performance. One has to be a doctor or a manager after learning the skills required in those respective fields of study. The world is changing gradually and the skills required before are either improved or are no longer used, there are standards too to guide the kind of skills in a specific profession.
In order to determine if a person has accomplished the requirements of a specific profession and has undergone the training, there has to be a guide to it. This guide is the instructional design. The designs have the instructions on what should be done on the competency systems, how it should be done, the time the system or the professional development requires and is according to the national standards of specific professional requirements. An example is in the information technology field. Information technology has experienced great changes in the technological methods.
The technology professionals need a standard method to use in monitoring the performance of information technology firms to determine if they are up to competency standards. Performance of an organisation always depend on the type and quality of skills employed in the firm. Just as other firms need qualified personnel in their fields, its the same way the information technology requires qualified personnel too (Harless, 1970). Evaluating if an information technology firm has the competent group of professionals depends on the kind of training of the professionals.
Professionals have to have undergone some kind of training with specified standards qualifying one as a professional. These standards are always integrated in the instructional design, therefore it is important that an instructional design guides the information technology professionals in the evaluation of the competency of the firms. Instructional designs offer guidelines to evaluation as well as guidelines to professional development (Harless1970). When the right guidelines are used in the evaluation of an organisation, the performance of the organisation is sure to be of standard.
Instructional Design Models There are various models that can be used to develop instructional designs. Teachers and trainers select the models they find appropriate for the process of profession development. This discussion will only give more information on three models among the many models of instructional designs. The three models are; the ADDIE model, Carey and Dick model and rapid prototyping model. Other models though not thoroughly discussed here are the Rajan’s and Smith’s model, and the Kemp, Rose and Morrisons model (Gilbert, 1978). Carey and Dick model
This kind of model does not consider the instructions in an instructional model as separated components, but as a collective system. It out lines the various components of an instructional design. The system of an instructional design as argued by Dick and Carey has so many components as shown. The goals, analysis, contexts and learners, aims of performance, the materials of the instructional design, strategy to be used in the instructional design, design evaluation, design instruments and the process of revising the instructional design (Dick et. al. , 1978).
The process of instructional design planning and development requires several steps as Carey and Dick indicate in their book (1978). The first step in instructional design creation is the identification of the goals of the instructional design that a trainer or teacher would like to accomplish with the students. The second step involves analysing the instructions of the design. A third step involves analysing the contexts and the learners then noting the performance aims. The next step in this process according to Dick and Carey is looking for the instruments of assessment and developing them.
A strategy is developed, materials for professional development selected, instructions evaluated based on the formulated evaluation method and the instructions revised. The last important step done is the evaluation of the whole system of instructional design as noted by Dick et. al. The formulators of this model believe that the system of instructional design integrates all the components of the system to work together towards the goal of the design, which is desired student outcomes (1978).