Reflecting on Your Role in Instructional Design


It is refreshing to participate in a program intent on utilizing the tools being taught to the students.  For instance, each of the courses in the Instructional Design program culminates in a final reflection paper allowing the learner yet another opportunity to engage in transformative learning described by Mezirow as constructivist in nature, wherein the learner’s interpretation of individual learning experiences is central to creating meaning and results in learning (as cited by Kearsley, G., 2010, p. 1).  Reflection is further likened to problem solving as Mezirow discusses how individuals “reflect on the content of the problem, the process of problem-solving, or the premise of the problem.  Through this reflection we are able to understand ourselves more and then understand our learning better” (Kearsley, 2010, p. 1).  This description seems all the more appropriate in reflecting on the course of Instructional Design.  This reflection centers on instructional design, specific to the concept of and systematic design models used to accomplish the goals of an instructional designer, culminating in my vision of the future as an instructional designer.

Instructional Design

First, prior to making any decisions about where my future lies within the industrial design field, it is necessary to define instructional design from my personal perspective, i.e., how has my perceptions and interpretations of instructional design to date determined the learning integrated.  Clearly, instructional design is a field with a plethora of career opportunities in various types of organizations whether they are government, academic, medical, military, corporate or non-profit (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2011).  Even within organizations and career fields, the instructional design position varies to include the entire continuum from staff designer, creator, artist, development, up to and including project management and instructional design management (Cennamo & Kalk, 2005).  The possibilities are seemingly endless.  It is clearly established that an instructional design career has opportunities available; but what is instructional design?  There are numerous diversified opinions regarding the parameters of instructional design; however, the best descriptions are that instructional design is “using a systematic design process … based on what we know about learning theories, information technology, systematic analysis, educational research, and management methods” (Morrison et al., 2011, p. 6).  More simply stated, “Instructional design, stripped to its basics, is simply a process for helping you to create effective training in an efficient manner.  It is a system – perhaps more accurately a number of systems – that helps you ask the right questions, make the right decisions, and produce a product that is as useful and useable as your situation requires and allows” (Piskurich, 2006, p. 1).

Systematic Design Approach

Second, the term systematic design process needs to be deciphered.  This course provided many resources from which to constructively discover process and reflect on the various types of design processes available to the instructional designer.  Systematic design process simply refers to a series of steps or processes followed/structured in a particular fashion to maximize the ability of the designer to meet the instructional goals desired during a project.  The acronym, ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. The vast majority of design processes use some modified version of ADDIE.  The primary models analyzed and discussed were (1) Dick & Carey Model; (2) HPT (Human Performance Technology); (3) Rapid Prototyping; and, (4) Morrison, Ross and Kemp Model.

The consensus in the instructional design community is that the systematic design process incorporates the stages of ADDIE heretofore discussed, in addition to the following premises:

Premise 1:  The instructional design process requires attention to both a systematic procedure and specificity for treating details within the plan.

Premise 2: The instructional design process starts by identifying an instructional problem.

Premise 3: An instructional design plan is developed primarily for use by the instructional designer and planning team.

Premise 4: While planning, every effort should be made to provide for a level of satisfactory achievement rather than minimal achievement for all learners.

Premise 5: The success of the instructional product is dependent on the accuracy of the information flowing into the instructional design process.

Premise 6: The instructional design process focuses on the individual rather than the content. (Morrison et al., 2011, p. 10-11)


There are numerous advantages to utilization of a systematic design process as described herein, including cost effectiveness/savings to the organization in saved work hours, productive training, more proficient results, time savings because the organization will not need to retrain the employees repeatedly,  consistent and effective training specifically designed to maximize learner comprehension (Morrison et al., 2011; Piskurich, 2006).  Additionally, Piskurich points out additional benefits such as competitive advantage, training effectiveness evaluation and time effectiveness as relates to “just-in-time training” (Piskurich, 2006, p. 7-8).


The primary disadvantage of a systematic design process is time.  The design process does take time to work through appropriately, without skipping steps.  This is both an advantage and disadvantage.  In the competitive corporate market, it may be necessary to get training up and running quickly, in which case, models such as Rapid Prototyping would be beneficial; however, different design models have the ability to break apart different parts of the processes so that a team can work simultaneously to complete the product at the same time.  This was illustrated quite admirably in the course project application.  A team of six individuals worked together and managed to put together a remarkably thorough analysis, design, development, and implementation plan, with prospective outlines for production and evaluation.

The Future as an Instructional Designer (different roles of ID)

             Myself, my heart still lives in secondary science.  I miss teaching the students.  Fortunately, the skills learned in this program work hand in hand with being a better instructor.  One of the many aspects of the credentialing program left out was the systematic design process of instructional design.  There are no words for how lost and vulnerable a new teacher feels, thrown into a classroom with five classes of 9th graders, a benchmark plan, and nothing else.  As the subject matter expert (SME), I did make many mistakes trying to incorporate “like to know” in addition to “need to know” content information.  My confidence in effectively designing instruction for students in the future has been restored.  Truly, this program is allowing me to become a much better instructor.


Cennamo, K., & Kalk, D. (2005). The professional designer. In Real world instructional design (pp. 272-285). Retrieved from

Kearsley, G. (2010). The theory into practice database. Retrieved from

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., & Kemp, J. E. (2011). Designing effective instruction (6th Ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.


One thought on “Reflecting on Your Role in Instructional Design

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