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The Off-Shoring of ISD, and What You Can Do About It March 25, 2012

Posted by karlgrieb in Misc.

Program Description:

Gus Prestera delivered a sobering presentation on the Off-shoring of Instructional Design Work, and what we as designers can do to combat this in a dual format webinar/live presentation at the Drexel Lebow Campus


Session Overview:

 Do you think your job is safe from off-shoring because it’s client-facing and design-oriented?  A great deal of e-learning development has been off-shored.  For example, an  offshore vendor based in India now produces around 100 hours of e-leanring per month, and has approximately 200 billable resources, including 35 instructional designers, 20 rapid e-learning developers, and 70 graphic designers – this in a market that has experienced sluggish growth over the past few years.  Much of this work is being off-shored from the United States. But why?

Gus explained that countries like India and Costa Rica offer Low wages and cost of Living, a high English-speaking population, active government support, a young, educated workforce, a technology infrastructure, and vibrant economies. These advantages help in lowering the cost of designing and developing training overseas.

“Look at the job boards and you’ll notice that companies like Accenture are increasingly hiring instructional designers to work in places like Mumbai and Delhi, not Philadelphia and New York.  The same industry leaders that once taught American IDs how to design training effectively are being asked to visit off-shoring hotbeds to run presentations and workshops.  Clients are operating under tighter budget constraints and are becoming accustomed to off-shoring.  Online universities and online conferences are educating people from all over the world.  Guys and gals, it’s coming.  ISD work in the US is increasingly going to get done by people off-shore

So what can we do over the next few years to keep ourselves employed?  Gus explains that we must build on our advantages, specifically our proximity and intimacy to our clients. Instead of using the phones or webinars, schedule some face-to-face meetings and strengthen those relationships. We have the opportunity to build our contextual knowledge by learning more about the businesses we support, so that we can speed up the ramp-up time on projects. Strengthening our writing and speaking skills should also be a priority. As designers, we should already be strong writers, but research shows that we are neglecting this skill. As instructional designers, we need to keep abreast of innovation and continuously review our processes to increase efficiency and speed to market.  

Gus provides more detail around the off-shoring of ISD work in his blog – http://www.presterafx.com/wordpress/?p=159



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