Resisting the Deprofessionalization of Instructional Design

Resisting the Deprofessionalization of Instructional Design

Matthew M. Acevedo, Gustavo Roque
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4975-8.ch002
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In this chapter, the authors present the argument that instructional design as a professional field in higher education spaces is at risk of deprofessionalization, resulting from their common utilization as technical or production personnel, coupled with the fact that development of and within online and technology-enabled learning environments is increasingly accessible to faculty members and non-experts. As learning management systems and multimedia production platforms continue to become increasingly easy to use and normalized, the technical expertise of technically oriented, development-focused instructional designers risks becoming obsolete, irrelevant, or redundant. This chapter charts the trajectory of this deprofessionalization and presents strategies for how instructional designers—and the field as a whole—should assert its value through a scholar-practitioner approach that privileges the specialized faculties of instructional design (e.g., learning theory, design process models, pedagogy, design thinking) over production or development skills.
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Instructional Designers In Higher Education

Instructional design as a field of practice within higher education manifested in tandem with the increasing adoption of the Internet as an educational platform (Reiser, 2011), and the growth in the need for instructional designers was concomitant with the growth of online learning offerings. The multi-faceted skill sets of instructional designers, experts in learning and adept with technology, were leveraged in order to assist in transitioning traditional, face-to-face courses to the online environment (Rubley, 2016). Today, instructional designers in higher education number at least 13,000 in the United States (Intentional Futures, 2016), playing a critical role in the experience of 5.5 million students enrolled in distance education courses at nearly 5,000 degree-granting postsecondary institutions (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 2015), as well as numerous technology-enabled and hybrid or blended learning experiences.

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