The People's Instructional Designer

Just read the scholarly research.

Awhile ago, I attended a conference session that had a panel of tenured University educators speaking to mainly instructional designers. The session was well-attended, and as I listened to the speakers share their insight about the field, one panelist suggested Instructional Designers should follow research-based theory of instructional design. Yes yes! You could see heads nod emphatically in agreement. I immediately thought of the question I often ask when I hear this statement: "Where do you suggest I locate said scholarly research on instructional design?" Apparently others had the same question as I did, and a woman asked the panel a similar version of my thought.

You could see the instructional designers shift forward in their seats, as the response would surely constitute that "this is worth the price of admission" conference moment.  Pause. The suspense was maddening! If they share some treasure trove of free, easily available research on instructional design strategies I am seriously going to jump up and down, and possibly sprain an ankle for the umpteenth time. Answer from panelist (for the most part): "I read the scholarly research, the journals, first thing in the morning." [Collective sigh and retreat to back of seat. The journals are unaffordable and rarely read or accessed by those of us who create eLearning content.]

So this leads to the purpose of this article, and to some degree, this website. I have decided it is time to take matters into my own hand and explore questions like these with others in the field. With the people who design instruction all day, everyday, and most likely are too pressed for time to locate scholarly research, let alone pay the cost for a subscription. So stay tuned as I round up unsuspecting colleagues who will be summoned to share their wisdom on the topics of design and teaching and learning.