The Pervasiveness of Design Drawing in ID

The Pervasiveness of Design Drawing in ID

S. Todd Stubbs (Brigham Young University, USA) and Andrew S. Gibbons (Brigham Young University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch807


This chapter is a survey of the literature of ID to look at the breadth and usage of design drawings in this discipline to better understand the emerging use of VIDLs to improve designs. To conduct this research, we sampled several ID textbooks, ID journals, software, and case studies looking for examples of design drawing. Design drawings found were then categorized using Gibbons’ (2003) seven ID layers as a taxonomy to understand the drawings purposes. We did not find the same pervasiveness or level of self-awareness as found in other design fields. Examples of design drawings were found, but were somewhat rare. Furthermore, we discovered that those examples we found tended to document only two of Gibbons’ seven layers, indicating narrow application. We believe this gap represents a serious shortcoming in ID, indicating a lack of tradition, skill, and standards for visual representations of design except in limited ways. At present, design drawing is a rare but growing phenomenon in ID, which, when fully understood and implemented, can only benefit the practice of ID.
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This chapter applies a layered concept of instructional design (ID) architecture described by Gibbons and Rogers (in press) to a taxonomy of design drawings described by Stubbs (2006) to produce a refined category system for describing the use of drawing and sketching in ID. The value of doing so is dramatized by Stubbs, who compares the use of design drawing in ID to its use in other design fields, detecting a large disparity. If Stubbs’ analysis is correct, then designers in other fields have a much richer tradition of the use of drawing in design and a literature that shows a much higher level of self-awareness in the use of drawings during design than most instructional designers would expect.

Design drawing might be considered the primitive of visual instructional design languages (VIDLs). In this chapter we hope to understand where we are with this basic form of VIDL to better understand where we are going.

Though instructional designers excel in the use of drawings of many kinds in their produced designs, it would appear that they lag behind other design fields in exploiting the value of drawings and sketches while designing.

This deficit has important consequences for the economics, quality, and quantity of instructional designs. Whereas other design fields have begun to capitalize on the power of computers as a design tool, instructional designers seem to be more at the mercy of the tools and design interfaces created for use by others who have more vibrant economies, such as Web and software design. Early attempts to create tools to express designs in the instructional designer’s vernaculars appear to have been swallowed up in the success of other design fields, notably the Web and Web development tools (Fairweather & Gibbons, 2000). Only recently has interest in the authoring of learning objects revitalized interest in design interfaces that emphasize ID structures, a trend that we hope will persist and broaden.

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