Instructional Designers, Scholar or Practice

I just read a fascinating discussion that Cammy Bean and John H. Curry had on the Effective Design blog. They raised a number of great issues about instructional design and how the academic approach to it does not always match the work in practice.

Ahh, how I love when the gap between research and practice becomes so apparent. As a self-described scholar-practitioner in the area of human resource development (an a professional instructional designer), I found their conversation engaging and respectful, while also raising countless issues about the field of ID / ISD:

  • should there be professional certification?
  • are the certifications already out there not doing their jobs well enough?
  • who should decide?
  • does Corporate America care?
  • what will gap(s) will this type of certification fill?
  • who will make money from the certification process?
  • how if at all will universities change or even become part of this process?
  • is there enough of a market for this?
  • is there enough research to actually have a body of knowledge, or is it only best practice?
  • is research needed outside of best practice at all?
  • how have related fields, such as training, OD, HRD, workplace learning and performance, and what have you addressed this and to what success?

These are just my first thoughts from a conversation that occurred in the recent past. I wonder what can be next to consider with this?

3 thoughts on “Instructional Designers, Scholar or Practice

  1. Hey Jeffrey,

    Looking at your history and background, you seem to be in a unique position, straddling these two worlds of academia and practice. What do you think about this controversy? Does it matter? Is it just a lot of hot air? Or is there something to this debate?


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