Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
What is instructional design? It's not clear. Reiser & Dempsey defined it as a "systematic process that is employed to develop education and training programs in a consistent and reliable fashion." If you're a "true believer," as Ellen Wagner was, you made clear the underlying links between ID theory and practice. But in the workplace, "the object lesson (was) that theoretical foundations guiding the study of the evolution of a field can be awkwardly out of alignment with the evolution of a professional practice." This is especially the case if instructional designers come from a technical background - they see the work as supporting a technical process, not a learning process. "There is no emphasis on learning theory. There is no emphasis on instructional theory. There are no assessments."

On the other hand, IDs from the educational disciplines are prepared for a quite different task, unprepared to cope with changing technology. "We used to look more like psychologists than artists, scripters or programmers, but that balance has shifted. ID must work with technology tools, because so much of today's learning and performance support is enabled / managed / distributed via technology." Maybe it's time, suggests Wagner, to stop thinking of ID as a process, and to start thinking of it as part of product development. "If an ID model can effectively guide production,
then all IDs must be able to produce." Via Cammy Bean.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Copyright 2021
Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 11:19 a.m.