Instructional Designers at Work: A Study of How Designers Design

Dennis Dicks, Cindy Ives, Canadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND, Mar 25, 2009
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a certain amount of tedium involved in reading this paper (and the next; see below) but there is something worth digging out and highlighting: "Our interviews appear to confirm the findings of Kenny, Zhang, Schwier, and Campbell (2004) that instructional designers do not do their work by following established models, nor by basing actions on theory. Instead, our designers' tactics suggest they view design as an 'ill-structured problem' (Jonassen, 2002; Schon, 1987) or 'wicked problem' (Becker, 2007) with many possible solutions, which they pursue with a large repertoire of social and cognitive skills." Which really forces the question of whether our discipline should continue its ill-founded focus on (this person or that's) theory. Also, again, as with other CJLT papers, ridiculous citations to the (putative) 'literature'. If you're going to cite someone for "wicked problems", at least cite Rittel and Webber's (1973) formulation, a source even a quick look at Wikipedia would reveal as more authoritative (in this topic) than Jonassen, Schon or Becker.
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