How do people come to think of themselves as instructional designers? This is partly a matter of acquiring expertise, e.g., the knowledge and skill sets found in professional standards, e.g., those of IBSTPI or AECT. But identity also involves adoption of new professional roles and affiliation and active engagement with professional communities. IDT academic programs facilitate and sport student in their induction into the field, but not always in a systematic, intentional way. Indeed in today’s world, IDT professionals may identify with different fields and roles depending on situation and context. This article explores these issues and provides a conceptual framework for understanding how people take on new IDT identities and the role played by academic programs in that process. The framework consists of a set of guiding principles and processes, A set of recommendations is then offered for IDT academic programs to begin seeing professional identity as a learning outcome and supporting students along that important journey.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Akhundov, E. (2016). Modern learners, their needs and expectations based on Deloite’s “Meet the Modern Learner” infographic. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/modern-learners-needs-expectations-based-deloittes-akhundov-chdt. Accessed Sept 2017.
Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1–26.
Bird, J. (2004). Professional navel gazing: Flexible learning professionals into the future. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE conference (pp. 123–133). Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/perth04/procs/bird.html. Accessed Sept 2017.
Bogost, I. (2016). Play anything: The pleasure of limits, the uses of boredom, and the secret of games. New York: Basic Books.
Bruss, K. V., & Kopala, M. (1993). Graduate school training in psychology: Its impact upon the development of professional identity. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 30(4), 685–691.
Campbell, K., Schwier, R. A., & Kenny, R. F. (2006). Conversation as inquiry: A conversation with instructional designers. Journal of Learning Design, 1(3), 1–18.
Caza, B. B., & Creary, S. J. (2016). The construction of professional identity [Electronic version]. Cornell University, SHA School site. Retrieved from http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/articles/878/. Accessed Sept 2017.
Cox, S. (2003). Practices and academic preparation of instructional designers. Unpublished master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
Cox, S., & Osguthorpe, R. T. (2003). How do instructional design professionals spend their time? TechTrends, 47(3), 45–47.
Cutler, H. A. (2002). The professional identity of student affairs practitioners. Doctoral dissertation. Retrieved from ProQuest. (UMI No. 3020341).
Davidson-Shivers, G. V., & Barrington, M. E. (2004). Revisiting the professional status of instructional design and technology and the specializations within. ERIC document reproduction service no. ED485073. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED485073.pdf. Accessed Sept 2017.
Davis, R. C. (2016). Four ways to mark up web content. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 35(1), 46–49.
de Vaney, A., & Butler, R. P. (1996). Voices of the founders: Early discourses in educational technology. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research in educational communications and technology (pp. 3–46). New York: Simon & Schuster/MacMillan.
DS106. (2017). About DS106. Retrieved from http://ds106.us/about/. Accessed Sept 2017.
Eisler, I. (2004). Living in several professional languages. Journal of Family Therapy, 26, 311–313.
Flyvbjerg, B. (2001). Making social science matter: Why social inquiry fails and how it can succeed again. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hannafin, M. J. (1986). The status and future of research in instructional design and technology. Journal of Instructional Development, 8(3), 24–29.
Hill, J. R., Bichelmeyer, B. A., Gibbons, A. S., Grabowski, B. L., Osguthorpe, R. T., Schwier, R. A., et al. (2004). Perspectives on significant issues facing instructional design and technology. Educational Media and Technology Yearbook, 29, 23–43.
Inouye, D. K., Merrill, P. F., & Swan, R. H. (2005). Help: Toward a new ethics-centered paradigm for instructional design and technology. IDT Record (pp. 1–27). Retrieved from http://www.indiana.edu/~idt/articles/documents/Inouye_print_version.pdf. Accessed Sept 2017.
Instructional Coordinators. (2015). In U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/print/instructional-coordinators.htm. Accessed Sept 2017.
Islam, G., & Zyphur, M. J. (2009). Ritual in organizations: A review and expansion of current theory. Group & Organizational Management, 34(1), 114–139.
Jebril, M. Y. (2008). The evolution and measurement of professional identity. Doctoral dissertation. Retrieved from ProQuest. (UMI No. 3311818).
Kelly, K. (1994). Out of control: The new biology of machines, social systems, and the economic world. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Keppell, M. J. (2007). Instructional designers on the borderline: Brokering across communities of practice. In M. J. Keppell (Ed.), Instructional design: Case studies in communities of practice (pp. 68–90). Hershey: IGI Global.
Komaski, P. K. (1987). Educational technology: The closing-in or the opening-out of curriculum and instruction. Syracuse: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources.
Kuh, G. (2008). High impact educational practices: A brief overview. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/leap/hips. Accessed Sept 2017.
Lowenthal, P., & Wilson, B. G. (2010). Labels do matter! A critique of AECT’s redefinition of the field. TechTrends, 54(1), 38–46.
Maddrell, J. (2014). Service-learning instructional design considerations. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 26(3), 213–226.
Norman, D. A., Gelentner, D. R., & Stevens, A. L. (1976). Comments on learning schemata in memory. In D. Klahr (Ed.), Cognition and instruction (pp. 177–197). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
Pavalko, R. (1971). Sociology of occupations and professions. Itasca: Peacock.
Polanyi, M. (1958). Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Reiser, R. A. (2012). A history of instructional design and technology. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed., pp. 17–34). Boston: Pearson.
Schön, D. A. (1990). The design process. In V. A. Howard (Ed.), Varieties of thinking: Essays from Harvard’s philosophy of education research center (pp. 110–141). New York: Routledge.
Schwier, R. A., Campbell, K., & Kenny, R. F. (2003). Instructional designers’ perceptions of their communities of practice. In Proceedings of the annual meeting of the association for educational communication (pp. 336–345). Anaheim, CA.
Schwier, R. A., Campbell, K., & Kenny, R. (2004). Instructional designers’ observations about identity, communities of practice and change agency. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(1), 69–100.
Schwier, R., Campbell, K., & Kenny, R. (2007). Instructional designers’ perceptions of their communities of practice: Tales of change and community. In M. J. Keppell (Ed.), Instructional design: Case studies in communities of practice (pp. 1–18). Hershey: IGI Global.
Schwier, R., Hill, J., Wager, W., & Spector, J. M. (2006). Where have we been and where are we going? Limiting and liberating forces in IDT. Educational Media and Technology Yearbook, 31, 75–95.
Sharif, A., & Cho, S. (2015). 21st-century instructional designers: Bridging the perceptual gaps between identity, practice, impact and professional development. RUSC Universities and Knowledge Society Journal, 12(3), 72. https://doi.org/10.7238/rusc.v12i3.2176.
Sharif, A., Cho, S., & Cervera, M. G. (2014). Hearing from instructional designers: Our identity and actual practice. Retrieved from http://www.tdx.cat/bitstream/handle/10803/277385/AfsanehSharifThesis.pdf?sequence=1#page=89. Accessed Sept 2017.
Sims, R. C., & Koszalka, T. A. (2008). Competencies for the new-age instructional designer. Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, 3, 569–575.
Smith, K. M., Hessing, J., & Bichelmeyer, B. A. (2006). Graduate students’ perceptions and expectations of instructional design and technology. TechTrends, 50(4), 17–27.
Suchman, L. (2007). Human-machine reconfigurations: Plans and situated actions (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thornton, R., & Nardi, P. M. (1975). The dynamics of role acquisition. American Journal of Sociology, 80(4), 870–885.
Toulmin, S. (2001). Return to reason. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Trice, H. M., & Beyer, J. M. (1984). Studying organizational cultures through rites and ceremonials. Academy of Management Review, 9, 653–659.
Van Gennep, A. (1960). The rites of passage (M. B. Vizedom & G. I. Caffee, Trans.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1909)
Veach, P. M., Bartels, D. M., & LeRoy, B. S. (2002). Defining moments: Catalysts for professional development. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 11(4), 277–280.
Wagner, E. (2011). Essay: In search of the secret handshakes of ID. The Journal of Applied Instructional Design, 1(1), 33–37.
Weidman, J. C., Twale, D. J., & Stein, E. L. (2001). Socialization of graduate and professional students in higher education: A perilous passage. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education report 28, no. 3. Association for the Study of Higher Education, Washington, DC.
Williams, J. L. (1998). What makes a profession a profession? Professional Safety, 43(1), 18.
Wilson, B. G. (2012). Developing a critical stance as an e-learning specialist: A primer for new professionals. In S. B. Fee & B. Belland (Eds.), The role of criticism in understanding problem solving: Honoring the work of John C. Belland (pp. 57–68). New York: Springer.
Wilson, B. G. (2013). A practice-centered approach to instructional design. In J. M. Spector, B. B. Lockee, S. E. Smaldino, & M. Herring (Eds.), Learning, problem solving, and mind tools: Essays in honor of David H. Jonassen (pp. 35–54). New York: Routledge.
Wilson, B. G., & Dunlap, J. C. (2017). Base camp: Using portfolios for strengthening professional Web presence among students and alums. Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Jacksonville FL.
Wilson, B. G., & Gregg, A. (2015). How human agency contributes to thinking about e-learning. In M. Simonson (Ed.), 2015 annual proceedings on the practice of educational communications and technology (Vol. 38(2), pp. 337–342). Retrieved from: http://www.aect.org/pdf/proceedings15/2015i/15_22.pdf. Accessed Sept 2017.
Wilson, B. G., Parrish, P., & Veletsianos, G. (2008). Raising the bar for instructional outcomes: Toward transformative learning experiences. Educational Technology, 48(3), 39–44.
Yusop, F. D., & Correia, A.-P. (2012). The civic-minded instructional designers framework: An alternative approach to contemporary instructional designers’ education in higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(2), 180–190. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01185.x.
This paper was envisioned to be part of the special issue, The Development of the Instructional Designer, Guest Editors Abbie Brown and Jill Stefaniak, which is Volume 30, Number 1 (April 2018).
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Wilson, B.G., Ozyer, A. The role of graduate programs in fostering IDT identities: reflections on an emerging profession. J Comput High Educ 31, 557–572 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-019-09211-4
- Instructional designer
- Graduate programs
- Professional identity
- Identity development
- Emerging professions