Strategic Leadership in Instructional Design: Applying the Principles of Instructional Design through the Lens of Strategic Leadership to Distance Education

Strategic Leadership in Instructional Design: Applying the Principles of Instructional Design through the Lens of Strategic Leadership to Distance Education

Robin McDaniel
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch109
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The dynamic growth of distance education (DE) in the higher education poses a challenge for both leadership and instructional design strategies in post-secondary institutions. Curricular efficacy and sustainability are dependent upon institutions of higher education adapting to changes by implementing strategies that will work to address the increasing necessity for engaging curriculum for students in the DE environment. Strategic leadership (SL) skills, combined with instructional design (ID) strategy, may provide a pathway towards academic accomplishment for both students and instructors in the higher education sector. Instructional designers with strategic leadership skills may assist institutions in developing and implementing DE courses. The question is, how can instructional designers accommodate the needs of a diverse group of students in the growing technology-rich educational environment, and does strategic leadership play a role? If so, how can instructional designers act strategically to design and develop DE courses that encourage active learning and continued interest in educational attainment? The focus of this chapter is on how instructional designers can take on strategic leadership roles to enhance distance education curriculum and instruction for overall student engagement. For the purposes of this chapter, distance education is defined as learning that occurs over the internet. Discussion includes how integrating strategic leadership into the instructional design process in distance education courses may result in increased student and institutional effectiveness.
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Technological innovation, long a hallmark of academic research, may now be changing the very way that universities teach and students learn. For academic institutions, charged with equipping graduates to compete in today’s knowledge economy, the possibilities are great. (The Economist, 2008, p. 4)

The technology revolution has had a significant impact on education, and will continue to be a major influence in both the public and private sector (The Economist, 2008). The future of higher education lies in delivering robust and interactive online instruction. The realization of a successful online program will depend heavily on the vision of leadership within the institution (Wang & Berger, 2010). In addition, the rapid advancement of telecommunication technologies, along with an increased demand for distance education, has increased the need for design methods that can deliver content on a global scale (Garrison & Anderson, 2003; Sadykova & Dautermann, 2009).

Although distance education can be traced back to at least as early as the mid-19th century, when Isaac Pitman introduced the first correspondence course (Hall, 2013); the real DE revolution may have started with the advent of the information age. Sometimes called the digital age, this rapid period of technology growth may have sprung from several sources including the birth of the internet in 1969, the 1973 introduction of the Motorola mobile phone, or the launch of IBM’s first PC in 1981 (Hudson, 2016). All of these technologies helped bring about a shift from industrialization to digitalization (Hudson, 2016). The proliferation of computer technology, digital record-keeping and digital communication revolutionized industry and marked the early stages of the digital/information age, and laid the groundwork for the digital age revolution that was to come (Hudson, 2016).

The process of a knowledge based economy, combined with globalization and nationalization, has a direct effect on higher education (Altbach et al., 2009). The growth of post-secondary DE creates major leadership challenges, as educational organizations struggle to deal with quality standards and sustainability in their curricular offerings (Eaton, 2001). A 2011 report from Pew Research that surveyed 1,055 two-year and four-year college presidents from private, public, and for-profit colleges found that only 51% of those surveyed thought online courses offered equal value as those taught in the classroom (Parker, Lenhart, & Moore, 2011).

Dr. BÖrje Holmberg, became Professor of distance education methodology in 1976 and “Director of the Institute for Distance Education Research at the Fern Universität in Hagen, Germany,” and is a seminal author on the topic of distance education (Saba, 2014, para. 2). Once considered a non-traditional educational delivery method, distance education is becoming increasingly accepted at institutions of higher education as a valid teaching tool. DE was called “correspondence education until 1982 when UNESCO-affiliated International Council for Correspondence Education, changed its name to the International Council for Distance Education” (Holmberg, 2003). Distance education (DE), for the purposes of this chapter, will be defined as any instruction where student and instructor do not share a physical location (Wahlstrom, Williams, & Shea, 2003).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Stakeholders: A person or entity that has an interest or is invested some way in a business or organization.

Audial Learner: Audial or auditory learning is when a person learns by listening and speaking.

Nationalization: Move from private to state control.

Virtual University: A university that provides access to higher education programs through the internet or other electronic media format.

Multimedia: Using multiple forms of media to communicate (visual, audial, kinesthetic, and cognitive).

Instructional Design: Instructional development used following specific models and instructional theories, including an analysis of needs, goals and development of a system of delivery to effectively meet objectives.

Visual Learner: Data and ideas are communicated and learned using images and associated information.

Globalization: The process of an interconnected set of businesses, ideologies, concepts, philosophies, and technologies disseminating worldwide.

Needs Assessment: A systematic process of determining the gap, or need, between current conditions and desired conditions.

Online Learning: Learning that occurs through the internet. Can be autonomous, directed, and/or self-directed. Also referred to as elearning; distance education; virtual learning.

Distance Education: A method of teaching and learning that utilizes correspondence via the internet or other off-site resource to unite student, teacher, tutor and/or educational institution.

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