When I told my friends and family that I had decided to pursue a career in instructional design, they usually replied, “Sounds great! What is that, exactly?” I usually mumbled something about corporate training and e-learning modules, and then we moved on to another topic of conversation. Thanks to our readings, I can now discuss the theories, methodologies, and products of IDT professionals. I can describe the elements of ADDIE (Cennamo & Kalk 2019), list the most common job functions of an instructional design (Carliner & Driscoll 2019), and briefly recount the history of IDT (Reiser 2001).
The concept that stands out the most to me so far is defining learner needs and characteristics. My previous role as a librarian taught me always to consider the user’s needs. Librarians (and other information services professionals) must assess the information needs of their users before completing a reference request or purchasing new materials. Similarly, instructional designers consider the learner’s needs before designing instructional activities and assessments. I have always found my professional work to live at the intersection of people, information, and technology, as laid out in the iSchool manifesto (Larsen 2009). I think that the IDT field covers similar ground, although I am now in the process of replacing “information” with “learning.”
I have learned during my short time in this graduate program that there is no shortage of models, frameworks, and processes. I find all these options a little overwhelming. There is value in each of these models, but it is challenging to imagine integrating theories with actual practice. To be fair, Cennamo & Kalk recognize that the real-world function of these models is not to provide a rigid guide, but rather “a global overview of where you are going and how you might get there” (2019).
Although I have learned from each of the readings, I had the strongest reaction to Bradshaw’s analysis of the instructional design historical timeline. Library science has a long history of involvement with social justice, and librarians are continually critiquing how the structures of their field affect patrons and practitioners of different identities. For example, the Dewey Decimal System, the classification system most frequently used in public and school libraries, implicitly imposes a Eurocentric perspective on the categorization of information based on the knowledge and values of Melvil Dewey (Wiegand 1998). Bradshaw also questions how the foundations of IDT reflect the circumstances of its creators, asking, “how does the instructional system itself reinforce structures of inequity, injustice, and oppression?” (2018). Although Bradshaw does not address the direct impact of any individual events on the IDT timeline, I found it impossible to read the article and not speculate on how a particular event influenced an IDT model or theory. I hope to continue Bradshaw’s work as I enter this field by conducting a thoughtful analysis of my designs and implementations.
Bradshaw, A. C. (2018). Reconsidering the instructional design and technology timeline through a lens of social justice. TechTrends, 62(4), 336–344. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-018-0269-6
Carliner, S. & Driscoll, M. (2019). An overview of training and development: why training matters [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com
Cennamo, K., & Kalk, D. (2019). Real world instructional design: An iterative approach to designing learning experiences (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
Larsen, R. L. (2009). History of the iSchools [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://ischools.org/resources/Documents/History-of-the-iSchools-2009.pdf
Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53–64.
Wiegand, W. (1998). The “Amherst Method”: the origins of the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme. Libraries & Culture, 33(2), 175-194. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25548614