The role of graduate programs in fostering IDT identities: reflections on an emerging profession

  • Brent G. Wilson
  • Aysenur OzyerEmail author


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.


Instructional designer Graduate programs Professional identity Professionalism IDT Identity development Emerging professions 



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).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.LouisvilleUSA
  3. 3.AuroraUSA

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