Project Management 5b. Instructional Design and Technical Communication Roles

The process of developing courses and communication products requires the skills of a variety of communication specialists. These specialists include the following.

Role About this Role
Project manager
The person within the organization has overall responsibility for a project and from whom you receive direction for the projectk. This person assign projects, establish budgets and schedules, secure resources for a project (such as computers, archives of similar projects, and prototypes of products) and resolve problems with in-progress projects. Sometimes they perform these tasks for you, in other instances, managers work with you to perform these tasks.  Sometimes, the project manager is also a departmental manager.  IN other instances, the project manager only has responsibility for the project; different managers have responsibility for managing the performance of people working on the project
Personnel manager
The person within the organization who is responsible for establishing your performance plan and conducting the performance evaluation. Ideally, the personnel manager also conducts interim, informal performance reviews and guides and advises in establishing a career development plan. In addition, the personnel manager is the person to whom the worker directs administrative matters, such as requesting vacation time and leaves of absence, and arranging for the use of work-related benefits such as training. In some organizations, the project and personnel managers are the same person. In other organizations, the two are separate people. In most instances, at least some of the people on a project have different personnel managers.
Instructional designer or technical communicator The person who plans the material and prepares the drafts of instructional program or communication product.On some projects, this is one person. On other projects, this is several people:

  • A designer (instructional or information) who designs the project. (Also called a content strategist, learning strategist or information architect.
  • Technical writers who prepare the drafts of the instructional programs and communication projects (work on both types of projects)
Editor The first reader of a course or communication product. Editors review drafts of courses and communication products to assess how readable the drafts are, to check grammar and usage, to make sure that the draft conforms to editorial guidelines, and to prepare the draft for production.This role contrasts with the roles of editors of newspapers magazines, and commercial websites, who have ultimate authority over what gets published, technical editors act in advisory capacity Editors offer suggestions for more effectively presenting content.  Instructional designers and technical communicators can usually choose whether or not to follow those suggestions.
Graphic artist The person who designs the physical appearance of the instructional program or communication product.
Human factors engineer The person who assesses the usability of a instructional program (electronic or workbook only) or communication product.
Illustrator The person who prepares drawings and similar images that appear in the instructional program or communication product
Production personnel The people who prepare courses and communication products for posting on the web or other types of duplication. The skills needed for production vary, depending on the communications medium of the final product.  Table 8 lists the types of skills needed for different media.Table 8: Production Skills Needed for Different Media

Medium Production Skills Needed
Printed materials Desktop publishing skills.
Online materials
  • Authoring and programming skills. Authoring is the skill of using specialized software, called authoring systems, to prepare content for presentation online.
  • Programmers assist with those situations when authoring systems can not present content as the instructional designer or technical communicator planned.
Video presentations Video production skills, which includes camera and sound technicians, video editing (the process of taking various scenes, usually shot out of order, and assembling them onto a single videotape), acting and narration, and directing.
Audio presentations Sound production skills, which include narration and sound editing (compiling recordings made at separate times into a cohesive whole).

In the Project Resources sub-section, check out the Worksheet for
Staffing an Instructional Design or Technical Communication Project.

Then continue with the next post: Manage an Ongoing Project.

© Copyright 1996-2012. Saul Carliner. All rights reserved.  If sharing or excerpting, should be properly cited.


About idmodelsandprocesses

Exploring, reporting, teaching, and advising on learning and communication for the workplace and consumers.
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