Reservations about instructional design
Mar 01, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Criticisms of instructional design. "Instructional designers are increasingly the tools of management, not folk helping academics. In an increasingly managerialist sector, the 'correct' directions/methods for learning and teaching are increasingly being set by government, government funded bodies (e.g. ALTC and AUQA) and subsequently the management and professionals (e.g. instructional designers, staff developers, quality assurance etc.)" In a comment over the weekend suggested we defer to cognitive scientists who have "developed an understanding of how people learn." My own assessment of cognitive science is that it is as often political as scientific, intended to serve a management purpose rather than to achieve what ought to be the goal of learning, personal empowerment and fulfilment. This post hits right at that divide. Related, David Jones on cognitive science and instructional design: "Cognitive theory has been incorporated into instructional design, but behaviourism influence remains and that causes problems." Total: 147
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Re: Reservations about instructional design

Stephen, you are right about the cognitive scientists - for that matter any discipline - being political etc.

What I think I'm trying to get at - and it is still a work in progress - is that what the instructional designers are doing is more at the behest of government rather than being informed by what we know about people, learning, systems etc. It has to become more critical and that critical perspective also has to apply to the "what we know" stuff.

There is no silver bullet, but there are some obvious flaws in what's going on now.

Will have to work on that. [Comment] [Permalink]

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