The Rhetoric of Instructional Design Cases: Knowledge Building Via Examples of Process and Product

  • Craig D. HowardEmail author
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology: Issues and Innovations book series (ECTII)


This chapter introduces a venue created for the express purpose of capturing precedent contained in instructional designs, a scholarly journal: the International Journal of Designs for Learning (IJDL). I briefly address editorial practices the journal has explored with developing reviewers and then take a closer look at five problem areas authors have grappled with when writing designs cases about learning interventions. The chapter is written from the vantage point of the assistant editor, who edited, reviewed, and coordinated the reviews of design cases over a period of 2 years while also writing his own design case (International Journal of Designs for Learning. 2010;1(1)). The areas of concern common among reviews for these publications shed light on how the design case is developing into a rigorous form of educational inquiry. Those areas are (a) situating the design; (b) describing the design; (c) depicting the experience of the design; (d) developing trustworthiness through transparency, analysis, and reflection; and (e) removing aspects of design cases which confound their purpose. Specific examples from design cases that have gone through peer review describe how instructional designers may approach the dissemination of design precedent through the careful documentation of pedagogical designs.


Design case Case studies Design process Instructional design Design methods Pedagogical design Publication Precedent 



This study would not have been possible without the support of the many good-natured reviewers and authors of design cases at the Tech Trends’ feature the “ID Portfolio,” and the International Journal of Designs for Learning (IJDL). Colin Gray, Nate Prestopnik, and Gordon Rowland graciously provided their communications from within the editorial process to help make this article possible. Portions of this article appeared in IJDL in 2011, and are reprinted here under the creative commons licence: Howard, C.D. (2011). Writing and rewriting the instructional design case: A view from two sides. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 2(1), 40–55. Retrieved from Copyright © 2011, Creative Commons .


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas A & M UniversityTexarkanaUSA

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