The Role of Management in Instructional Design

The Role of Management in Instructional Design

Tasha M. Brown (The University of Alabama, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1306-4.ch010


A great deal of instructional designers' time is spent designing the course content and managing projects. This chapter provides a comprehensive review of literature examining the project management knowledge, skills, and abilities performed by and expected of instructional designers from different sectors. To fully demonstrate the importance of management in the instructional design process, the author examines prior research and highlights the significance of reviewing the competencies and standards developed by professional organizations within the field. This chapter also discusses the importance of management to the instructional design process, how to successfully align and bridge the gap between instructional design models – ADDIE and SAM – and project management, as well as how the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) complements the instructional design process. The author examines project management, cost and budget management, people management, and timelines and deadline management. The author concludes by explaining how the chapter will benefit new instructional designers entering the field while also enhancing current instructional designers' knowledge about management trends and expectations.
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Instructional design is a thriving field and one that is constantly growing and evolving. Instructional designers work in various professions including business and industry, K-12, colleges and universities, military, healthcare, and government. Although the expectations for instructional designers may vary based on the sector, many are expected to be versatile and flexible while designing and developing quality, rich, and robust blended or online course content. Versatility and flexibility are challenging in and of themselves, as the instructional design field is a deadline-driven environment that relies on collaboration and interaction with other instructional designers, graphic designers, multimedia developers, technical support staff, learning management system administrators, faculty/subject matter experts, managers, marketing professionals, and so forth.

The roles and responsibilities of instructional designers have been well-documented in previous studies. Instructional designers analyze, design, implement, evaluate, provide faculty support and development, offer technical and student support, collaborate with stakeholders, manage projects, participate in committees, attend meetings, write learning objectives and assessment activities, identify the appropriate media and instructional strategies, use instructional design processes and models, apply learning theory, integrate technology, and examine tools (Association for Talent Development (ATD), International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), & Rothwell & Associates, 2015; Ritzhaupt & Kumar, 2015; Kumar & Ritzhaupt, 2017).

Given these roles and responsibilities, the nature of the projects instructional designers manage can vary tremendously for a single individual. Instructional designers engage in course development and improvement; faculty development and training; technology integration; learning management system implementation and support; technical support for online, face-to-face, and hybrid courses; research; and so forth (Ritzhaupt & Kumar, 2015). Instructional designers are informal leaders who are bridging the gap between instructions and technology while using their technical expertise to support faculty.

In spite of the wealth of knowledge and experiences instructional designers possess, the role for many have shifted to guiding subject matter experts through the development of content. Due to technology's evolution and ease of use, some companies are turning to the designers-by-assignment model to create instructional content. In this model, companies use existing professionals who have experience and knowledge of the subject matter rather than formally trained instructional designers to create the content. As a result, this arrangement decreases the need for instructional design professionals within a particular organization (Merrill, 2007). If this need decreases, how does the company ensure the content is sound, meets standards, follows guidelines, and is efficient and effective? This is where the role of instructional designers shifts from developing content to managing, training, and directing the work of designers-by-assignment (Merrill, 2007).

In Pesce’s (2012) analysis of designers-by-assignment, it was found that while subject matter experts are pressed to perform as instructional designers, subject matter experts still need to be supported by instructional designers (Merrill, 2007; Pesce, 2012). This relationship would allow the instructional designer to manage content development, provide recommendations for improving instructions, and identify tools that will aid in the development of content (Pesce, 2012). Whether the instructional designer is designing content or guiding subject matter experts, they are expected to be managers of some sort.

No matter the role, following instructional design models and processes and applying best practices do not guarantee the development of quality course content. One of the most essential tasks for an instructional designer is project management (Brill, Bishop, & Walker, 2006; Williams van Rooij, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Project Management: the use of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to enhance the instructional design process.

Instructional Designer: a skilled and trained individual who uses models and processes to analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate content or training materials.

ADDIE: a linear waterfall instructional design model with five sequential phases of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

Subject Matter Experts: the individuals with knowledge of the content.

IBSTPI®: instructional design standards and competencies used to govern the design and development of content.

People Management: the process of leading and training individuals while managing the client’s expectations, communicating effectively, building relationships, and guiding teams.

Timeline Management: the process of adhering to timelines and schedules to successfully deliver projects on time.

SAM (Successive Approximation Model): an agile instructional design model that focuses on iteration, collaboration, efficiency, and manageability.

Cost Management: the process of planning, controlling, and evaluating a budget to ensure the project is designed within the scope of the project.

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