Purnima Valiathan

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Instructional Design as a Career

Instructional Designer: A bit like Tom Sawyer

What is Instructional Design?

Can you pull off something akin to what Tom Sawyer does in Strong Temptations—Strategic Movements—The Innocents Beguiled (Chapter 2 from Mark Twain’s famous book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)?


In this chapter, Tom is assigned the task of painting a fence, a task that he perceives as boring and arduous. So, what does he do? He gets his friends to complete the chore by making them believe it is fun. And, at the end of it all, Tom emerges wiser. In his own words, “He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it. Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.


Simply put, an instructional designer’s job is to transform any type of content into something meaningful, relevant and immersive so that learners enjoy the process of learning, and at the same time come out of the process with enhanced knowledge and skills. The learner could be a student (K-12), a young adult (Higher Education/Vocational Training), a working adult (Corporate Training), or a learner with special needs.


What is Instructional Design? What is the relevance of Instructional Design? What are the career options in Instructional Design? How do you become an instructional designer? What is the career progression? To find answers to these questions and more, check out our new section – Career in ID: FAQs.



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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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