The difference between the Instructional Design Document for an Instructor-led Design Document and a Stand-alone Design Document is basic. While the former is guided by a physically present instructor, (sometimes an instructor may be available via video conferencing), the latter has the instructions and/or lessons undertaken by the student or trainee without the aid of a secondary human instructor (Wehr, 1988, p.18).
Therefore, the process of designing the instructions for the Design Documents for the different settings will involve a different approach as discussed in the subsequent paragraphs. In Designing instructions for an instructor-led Document Design, the designer will have to factor in the software that accommodates the function of video conferencing and other requirements such as communication channels like VoIP to enable the interaction between the student and the instructor especially when the instructor cannot be physically present.
For the Stand-alone, the designer does not need to include the channels available for communication between the student and the instructor. Secondly, the instructions’ designer for the instructor-led Document Design has to structure the course content to include ‘Question and Answer Sessions’ that will occur between the instructor and the student.
One important feature and advantage of the Instructor-Led design is that, the student is able to ask questions in real time concerning the areas s/he has not understood (Clark & Lyons, 2004, p.12). The Instructional Designer of the Stand-alone on the other hand will have to design a sort of Knowledge Base, or provide a link through which the student will either access further information or ask questions that can be replied via a computer-based Knowledge Base.
The Instruction Designer of the Stand-alone has to ensure that the course contents/instructions prepared are as easily understandable as possible, thus reducing the need for referencing, which can be cumbersome and distracting.
Additionally, the Instructional Designer for the Instructor-led design document has the instructional freedom of including complex materials in the course content and instructions because the tutor will be available to aid the student in understanding the complex concepts. The Stand-alone instructional designer does not have the leeway to include concepts and ideas that may be hard for the student to understand.
As a core difference, the instructional material for the Instructor-led design document is deeper because of the ability of the instructor to explain the complex materials in the course of the lesson. The Stand-alone Instructional Designer has to design the instructions whilst factoring the level of computer literacy of the student.
The instructor has to ensure that the student attains a certain level of computer literacy, high enough to navigate the course content and the computer centered (web or network) lessons. The instructional designer for a Tutor-led design document has fewer concerns as long as the level of computer literacy of the student is concerned, because the tutor will help the student to navigate the lessons.
The instructional designer for the instructor-led Document Design has to factor in the guiding principles for the lessons, like discussion time and demonstration sessions by the tutor amongst others. The principles will aid in ensuring the gaining of a better understanding of the lessons by the students/trainees.
The Stand-alone instructions designer on the other hand has to ensure that the lessons are designed in a manner that allows time to the student to reflect on the course content since the student does not have the luxury of an instructor to further clarify the ‘matters arising’.
Clark, R., & Lyons, C. (2004). Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials. Duluth, MN: Pfeiffer Publishing.
Wehr, J. (1988). Instructor-Led or Computer-Based: Which Will Work Best For You? Training & Development Journal, 42(6), 18-20.