Purnima Valiathan

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What is Instructional Design

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is the creation of learning experiences by applying design principles with focus on the learner. This process is of great significance in K-12, Higher Education and Corporate Training programs as these increasingly move towards learning in a virtual environment.

What is the significance of Instructional Design?

The teaching-learning process is undergoing a change. It is becoming more and more learner-centric and technology-driven. Instructional Design as a process and a discipline helps you design learning material, which is learner-centric and technology-driven. It is applicable to every type of learning: Classroom-based, E-Learning, M-Learning, and Blended Learning. It is also applicable across all verticals: Corporate Training, K-12, Higher Education, Vocational Skills and Special Needs.

What are the career options in this field?

Industry Publishing Training & E-Learning Corporate Organizations
All verticals
Higher Ed
Vocational Skills
Function Designing and authoring Textbooks Designing ILT, E-Learning & Blended Learning Managing Learning & Development Designing Curriculum, Lesson Plans & Multimedia

Don’t you require subject matter expertise as well?

If you join a Training and E-Learning company, subject matter expertise is desirable, but not essential. However, in the publishing and education industry this will be an additional requirement.

What are the entry-level requirements for taking up a course in Instructional Design?

  • Graduate with good English-language skills
  • Basic computer skills
  • Teaching degree desirable, but not mandatory

What are the key skills required for this job?

If you work in Corporate Training:

  • Ability to quickly comprehend information with at least 75% accuracy (inaccuracies to be corrected by the Subject Matter Experts)
  • Stamina to consume volumes written by academics and Subject Matter Experts
  • Tenacity to keep learning new content
  • Research Skills
  • Understanding of adult learning principles
  • Content structuring skills

If you work in K-12/Publishing

  • Knowledge of the subject at the grade/level which you are targeting
  • A very good understanding of cognitive and developmental psychology
  • Creative Teaching Techniques – use of stories, games etc.
  • Ability to Visualize
  • Proficiency in using ICT tools

If you work in Higher Education/Vocational Training

  • A thorough understanding of the traits of the youth, and their needs
  • Ability to link concepts with practical application in the real world
  • Current knowledge of skill sets required in the industry
  • Proficiency in using ICT tools
  • Research Skills

I am a teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. How is Instructional Design different from what I already know? How will it make a difference to my career?

The focus of the curriculum in a B.Ed. program is typically the what and why of teaching and learning. Instructional design focuses on the how (methodologies). This knowledge will give you an edge in today’s world where technology proliferation has led to self-determined learning. If your content is not engaging, effective, immersive, and technology-driven, you may stand to lose out on your audience. By learning instructional design you get an edge – because you learn to design content that is learner-centric and technology-driven.

I am a Subject Matter Expert and a trainer? How will Instructional Design make a difference to my career?

Parameter Subject Matter Experts Researchers/Practitioners Instructional Designers
How knowledge is organized An expert’s knowledge is organized from an application, or a research perspective. An instructional designer’s knowledge of a subject is organized from a teaching or a learning perspective.
How knowledge is used Experts use their knowledge for either applying it at the place of work, or for contributing to the expansion of knowledge in the subject. Instructional designers use their knowledge as a basis for helping learners to understand concepts – by simplifying and structuring it in a manner that appeals to novice learners.

What is the typical growth path in this career?

Typically, there is a vertical or a horizontal growth path in the training industry. They are illustrated in the graph below.

Note:  If you plan to progress vertically, then you will need to develop project management skills and acquire certification in project management (Project Management Certification Program – PMCP)

Are the certification programs offered in this portal recognized?

Purnima Valiathan is a well-known expert in this field. Purnima holds a Masters degree in Education and has been a learning design professional for over twenty years. Purnima has been instrumental in setting up E-Learning and Instructional Design (ID) systems and processes in organizations, such as NIIT, Knowledge Platform, and Hurix Systems Pvt. Ltd. Papers authored by her on E-Learning and Instructional Design have been published by reputed forums/publications, such as ASTD and ISPI (USA), and Training Journal (UK). Purnima is recognized globally as an expert in Blended Learning, and is among the most frequently-cited authors by other scholars in this field as per research conducted by the department of Instructional Psychology and Technology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA.

Are there any academic institutions that offer courses in Instructional Design? How is it different from what this portal offers?

Yes. Mumbai University offers a certificate program and so does Symbiosis, Pune. However, these courses are very theory-driven, while what we offer here at ID Mentors is industry-oriented and designed by people who have 20+ years of hands-on experience in this field.

The course mimics the process and tasks performed by instructional designers in the workplace. Since this is in a blended mode (75% online & 25% offline), it puts you in the learners’ shoes and gives you an experience of online learning.

The courses we offer for Content Developers and Instructional Designers:

1) Discover ID for Beginners: A course on Instructional Design for beginners (Content Developers)

Discover ID is an interactive task-based course for Instructional Design Beginners.  It takes the learner through the complete Development Life Cycle (DLC) with specific focus on content development or scripting – the DLC activity most Beginners will be involved in when they join as novice or trainee Instructional Designers.


AUDIENCE: Who should take this course?

This course is aimed at Beginners – those starting off as Instructional Designers or Instructional Design Trainees who may have a certificate in the discipline but are not yet exposed to how Instructional Design is applied at work. The course is also meant for graduates with good writing skills, and who want to learn about the basics of Instructional Design.


KNOWLEDGE: What knowledge will you gain?

You will learn about the content development life cycle (DLC) with specific emphasis on the task of storyboarding/scripting, and designing session plans for classroom training. You will also learn the following principles and frameworks that drive the storyboarding process: Ruth Clark’s Content Types Framework, Merrill’s Content-Performance Matrix, Mager’s Objective Writing Format, Gagne’s Events of Instruction, and Visualization and Assessment Principles.


SKILL: What skill will you gain?

  • Storyboarding: Given sample content, develop a storyboard for E-Learning.
  • Developing Session Plans: Given sample content, design a session plan and PowerPoint slides for instructor-led training.


PROGRAM: How is the course designed?

The course is delivered in two modes:

  1. Self-paced online mode
  2. Blended mode

Write to us at info@purnima-valiathan.com to get the details.

2) ID @ Work for Practitioners: A course on Instructional Design for practicing IDs

Instructional Design @ Work is an experiential learning course on the entire process of Instructional Design, starting with Analysis and closing at Evaluation. It will empower practicing Instructional Designers who do not have any formal training or degree in the field of Learning and Design with insights and tools to complete their job effectively.

Audience: Who should take this course?

This course is aimed at all those who apply Instructional Design in any of these forms: Corporate Training, Textbook Authoring, or K-12 teaching and Multimedia creation. It promises to be a journey of discovery in instructional design for Practicing Instructional Designers, Corporate Trainers, K-12 Teachers and Subject Matter Experts.

KNOWLEDGE: What knowledge will you gain?

You will learn how to perform the Analysis and Design activities for creating learning material . You will also learn the following principles and frameworks that drive learning and motivation design: Behaviorist, Cognitive and Constructivist principles,  Bloom’s Taxonomy, Merrill’s Content-Performance Matrix, Ruth Clark’s Content-types framework, Keller’s ARCS, Gagne’s Events, Kolb’s Experiential Model, Kirk-Patrick’s Model of Evaluation, and Thiagi’s views on interactivity.


SKILL: What skill will you gain?

Analysis & Design: Given sample requirements and content, complete the following tasks:

  • Analysis of audience, learning outcomes, delivery environment and content
  • Creation of Content/Program Outline
  • Creation of a Detailed Design Document with the following: Objectives, Key Content, Presentation & Interaction Strategies, and Assessment.


How is the course designed?

The course is in the online self-paced mode with mentoring offered on demand. It is designed as a blend of the old and the new, a mix of theory and practice, presented in a simple, yet insightful way. It comprises of seven episodes, and each episode is structured as below.

  • Principles: Popular frameworks are analyzed and demystified in an engaging manner.
  • Reflections: Experiences and insights from the field are presented.
  • Exhibits: Deliverable is showcased with explanation of crucial parameters and valuable tips on creating it.


To qualify for your certificate from Purnima Valiathan, you must complete all episodes in this course and score 70% or more in the online course assessment.

Write to us at info@purnima-valiathan.com to get the details.


3) Art of Reviewing: A course for senior IDs and ID Reviewers

Art of Reviewing will provide you with insights, tools and techniques that will empower  you to review for adding value, as against reviewing for standard checks. What’s more, we will share some valuable performance-support tools that will make ID reviews easy and effective!

Who should take this course?

This course is meant for Instructional Designers with 5+ years of work experience as designers and analysts. Those who are driven, and want to learn how to review “design elements and “learning effectiveness” will benefit from this course.

How is the course designed?

The course is designed as a blend of insights and activities, and is structured as below.

  • Expert Speak: Tacit knowledge communicated through a video
  • Getting a Sense: A workplace review situation is simulated, and guidelines communicated through feedback
  • Exhibits: Job-aids and performance support tools are presented with implications, and explanations of each parameter


To qualify for your certificate from Purnima Valiathan, you must complete a review assignment.

Write to us at info@purnima-valiathan.com to get the details.

About Us

We are a small team of passionate people with 30+ years of combined experience in instructional design, training, technology and media. Our mission is to enable every kind of knowledge giver in the society to discover the power of Instructional Design, so that they may serve content, just right.


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