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Reconsidering the Instructional Design and Technology Timeline Through a Lens of Social Justice


A combined timeline project of major events in the field of instructional design and technology (IDT) and concurrent events in the broader social context was engaged as part of an effort to understand why social justice issues seem to be perceived as irrelevant to and disconnected from professional work in IDT. A brief review of IDT is presented, including an example reinforcing tendencies toward mechanistic thinking, and key moments when the field shifted in response to attention being called to areas previously neglected. Several interesting juxtapositions found in the combined timeline are then presented. Our lack of critical attention to the social, historical, and cultural contexts in which our field has developed and continues to evolve contributes to perpetuation of a culture of ignorance regarding systemic injustice and related issues, which therefore may be overlooked and reinforced in our work. This tendency will continue unless we make a needed shift to the field.

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    It is worth noting that, while calling oneself and one’s practice constructivist or interpretivist has become more mainstream, most of what is done under the constructivist label is still measured and researched empirically, although constructivism is a rationalist perspective.


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Correspondence to Amy C. Bradshaw.

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Bradshaw, A.C. Reconsidering the Instructional Design and Technology Timeline Through a Lens of Social Justice. TechTrends 62, 336–344 (2018).

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  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Social justice
  • History