Best Practices for Interdisciplinary Design.


Published on

(Sample Instructional Design Work)

I developed this research paper in October 2006.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Best Practices for Interdisciplinary Design.

  1. 1. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 1 Running Head: INTERDISCIPLINARY DESIGN Interdisciplinary Design: Understanding the benefits of Instructional Design Practices in Interaction Design. Arturo Pelayo Western Illinois University
  2. 2. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 2 “Interdisciplinary Design: Understanding the benefits of Instructional Design Practices in Interaction Design.” I. Abstract II. Introduction a. Design: It’s not putting lipstick on a chicken. i. What is Design? b. Geography of thought.: Understanding the world around us. i. The influence of Outsourcing & Open Sourcing. III. Body a. Context-aware Cross Cultural Interactions. i. Challenges 1. Listening to designers giving business advice is like hearing a cat bark. a. Finding IDT’s Mojo. 2. IDT without the “T” is like Christmas with no Santa. a. The Digital Divide b. Developing context-aware collaborative & ethnographically adaptable collaboration frameworks. ii. Trends 1. Open standards & Usability Engineering IV. Discussion a. Instructional Design as a ‘Rosetta Stone’ i. Sustainability Common ground. ii. E Pluribus Unum 1. Synergy. V. Conclusions
  3. 3. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 3 a. Learning how to fish. VI. Bibliography & References
  4. 4. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 4 Abstract This paper surveys current movements in two fields of Design: Instructional and Interaction Design. It draws corollary pathways that can enhance the fields and conceptualize a pathway of interdisciplinary best practices resulting in substantial and positive impact. The paper’s objective is to understand and clearly identify the common ground that exists between the disciplines of Interaction Design (IxD) and the Instructional Design, as well as taking into account the dynamics and connections to the discipline of Industrial Design (ID). Global trends are discussed as this common ground is identified and defined while historical trends are also considered.
  5. 5. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 5 The Benefits of Anchoring Interaction Design in the Best Practices of Instructional Design. In tandem with other disciplines as Industrial Design (ID) and Interaction Design (IxD), the field of Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) can spearhead a crucial trend setting movement to conceptualize a pathway of interdisciplinary best practices for design. No other field like IDT has the theoretical foundation nor the vast array of influences in it’s footprint that are drawn from such a variety of schools of philosophy, emerging technologies and outstanding actors that continuously interact and bring more credibility to the field of IDT on a global spectrum. This paper will explore emerging frameworks that are interdisciplinary and are important as they represent how our society and the private sector have steadily driven an interconnect of current technology with products, services and new delivery systems. The main attempt will be to draw a ‘line in the sand’ of the opportunities, the actors, the trends and the challenges, while formulating a way to conceptualize universal best practices for all different aspects of what gives meaning to the word ‘design’. On par with common guidelines, partnerships and opportunities, the field of Instructional Design and Technology must be at the helm of the effort and formulate the delivery of instructional design services and their ramification in the global continuum. The creation of innovative scalable methodologies ( Interdisciplinary Instructional Design Practices) will act as catalysts of global change, challenge and equal opportunity. The challenges of incorporating context-aware learning systems that are ethnographically unbound and cross-culturally adaptable along with the roadblocks of cost, funding, and the digital divide must not be ignored as they are pivotal catalysts. The pace at which they are becoming more interwoven, however, poses cross
  6. 6. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 6 cultural Instructional Design challenges and development opportunities that must be seized in the ever expanding global network of open sourcing and outsourcing, either inside the classroom, in the community or in industry. Design: It is not putting lipstick on a Chicken. In order to properly understand how best practices of interdisciplinary design can be conveyed, we must first understand what is ‘design’. Each field, like Instructional Design & Technology, Interaction Design, and Industrial Design, give it a different spin, meaning and mantra. Design is the art of conceiving, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object. This definition allows us to define design in a way that can encompass all of the fields we have mentioned (ID, IDT, IxD). While many of the fields have remained an expression of human creativity in their own realm, the Information Technology (IT) revolution has greatly expanded the scope of each, quite ironically, by narrowing the gap each has to one another. IT has acted as a fuzzy interface because it was not a byproduct of IDT. It has been “fuzzy” because there has been no credible mediator that has established guidelines that can properly bridge how fields interact with one another. There is no “how to” manual nor there is a 1-800 number we could call. It is in the mist of the IT revolution that we are at a critical point in the integration and intertwining of practices and fields that had been vastly left running parallel to each other without even a minimum degree of interaction.
  7. 7. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 7 The pace at which each field is becoming more interwoven, however, poses cross cultural instructional design challenges and development opportunities given non-standard practices of interdisciplinary design. If we are to also conceive design as an art, not as an artifact, it is important to understand how individuals communicate with other individuals and how people communicate with people within their own culture and cross-culturally. It is at the core of human-to-human interactions that we can define what Interaction Design is “by first researching and understanding user's goals, expectations, behaviors, and needs and then deliberately designs to meet and exceed these needs and desires for designated user groups (Wikipedia, 2006). As we come to realize the tight relationship between Interaction Design and Instructional Design & Technology, it is relatively easy to acknowledge all the similar theories that have been interplaying readily in both fields. If “Interaction Design improves the usability and experience of the object or system” (Wikipedia, 2006), Instructional Design establishes such experience from the ground-up through rules, theories and models that relate more to the cognition of the user, who is involved through the whole workflow. Anchoring Interaction Design in the Best Practices of Instructional Design is done by acknowledging that the core of the notion of design is to give it away because it was never preconceived without the knowledge that was formulated from the user or artifact and his, her or its needs. Design is making sense for others – and by this – capturing territory that is lost in the communication pathway. Innovation is driven from the desire to bridge this loss. Another anchor that can help formulate Best Practices is that Design is focused on creating meaning, which is
  8. 8. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 8 brewing tangible criteria that connects solutions to problems, stake holders to products & services. Meaning will be what people bring to it as a snapshot in time of culture, economics, politics and their particular views of the world. Geography of thought. The Benefits of Anchoring Interaction Design in the Best Practices of Instructional Design are also prevalent as outsourcing and open sourcing are rapidly maturing movements that must not be ignored. While outsourcing is the work done for a company by people other than the company’s full time employees, open sourcing can be defined as non-binding, non-profit collaboration for the design, development, deployment, sustainability and improvement of many products (either hardware or software –like the Linux Operating System-) and services. Pervasive human-computer interactions (HCIs) continue to evolve and current technology has driven an interconnect of economies whose products and services can be provided by mass micropreneurs who tap onto global markets not necessarily with the appropriate training that could maximize their market insight partly because of a lacking base of knowledge that is located in the Instructional Design & Technology field. This may be great news for consultants, because it is clear that with such prevalent need for skills, guidelines, standards & best practices, the field of Interaction Design can be greatly benefited from such a strategic alliance. Micropreneurs have the courage, conviction and charisma to express, model and conceptualize their ideas while not necessarily intrinsically communicating the attributed meaning that a solution may have been conceptualized with. It is in this interaction that the field of Instructional Design and Technology
  9. 9. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 9 has a great repertoire of experience much more closely related with human cognition and in understanding how people think. Listening to designers giving business advice is like hearing a cat bark. In the field of Interaction Design, “the dynamics of interpersonal communication, speech and writing, the pragmatics of talk and interaction… become critical factors …described less by an approach steeped in the rational choice approach taken by cognitive science than that by sociology, psychology, and anthropology” (Wikipedia, 2006). Placing center stage in Instructional Design as a pivotal lean and efficient conduit for interactions, the delivery of pervasive instruction is plausible and its ramification in the global continuum is yet to be realized. Instructional Design is increasingly becoming a center stage of the outsourcing movement and it is readily making a more profound proliferation in the open sourcing movement. According to Friedman (2005), the world is becoming a flat place where the opportunity to receive and deliver services is only physically limited by the bandwidth of the IT infrastructure on both ends. No longer is a big company needed to steer the effort of creating a product or tendering services. Micripreneurs can tap into the global economies by partnering with other Micropreneurs that may be elsewhere in the world. The notion of sharing a space and a time zone is greatly challenged in our current world reality. Companies are time-shifted, resource-diversified and creatively unbound.
  10. 10. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 10 However, being creatively unbound and having the workforce or key aspects of product lifecycle management (PLM) spread across countries, languages, cultures and economies poses an intercultural business communication challenge if this work is done, literally, thousands of miles away. According to Gibson (11, 2000), the “differences in the way decisions are made, communication style, the role of meetings, structure versus informality, management style and the use of local language” are intrinsically critical challenges that have to be faced by any country. It could be conceived that many Eastern companies such as Samsung, LG and Sony have outsourced their Design efforts to Western countries while they manage the manufacturing in a controlled “home” environment. The Benefits of Anchoring Interaction Design in the Best Practices of Instructional Design are also evident in this context as the outsourcing bandwagon gets filled with a broader array of industries across countries and economic systems and even if they had jumped either willingly or had gotten carried along by its inertia, there will be a lot of passengers in this wagon that do not know how to communicate and share knowledge in effective ways. Even if their products are sold, their services are given, it would only be a marginal level of success compared to the potential that can be unleashed by acquiring best practices of Instructional Design & Technology. In recent years, the integration of information systems and the Internet have made such business practices extremely efficient in market-based economies. The past two decades, knowledge- driven Information Technologies have tremendously simplified, invigorated and challenged the field of Instructional Design. Perhaps one of the core issues with the perception for the field of
  11. 11. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 11 Instructional Design and Technology is that in a global context, the field has many different names which are also changed routinely. According to Paquette (2004), [Instructional Design and Technology] can be termed “Instructional Engineering”, integrating instructional design, software and cognitive engineering processes and principles.” Reigeluth (1983) and Merril (1994) further diversify the case by contributing that “in American literature, this discipline is known as ‘Instructional Design (ID)’, ‘Instructional System Design (ISD)’ or ‘Instructional Science’ ”. Montessori, one of the pioneers of the IDT field, (1958) further explains that “in Europe, the term used is Scientific Pedagogy. In a sanity judgment, if IDT was a person, he or she would be diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. It is in this disarray of terms, interchangeable acronyms and doubtful credibility that has been carried along since the IDT field had more formality after WWII. The IDT field’s biggest challenge in finding its ‘Mojo’ is the fact that its status quo is challenged from within with all the variety of nomenclatures. The Benefits of Anchoring Interaction Design in the Best Practices of Instructional Design are also plausible as new collaborative models that are location-free and 100% collaborative have steadily driven Instructional Design to a whole new realm. How is it then that the field of Interaction Design (IxD) can benefit from the best practices of Instructional Design when the field’s own mojo is spread across different ‘personalities’? Paquette makes the case of the relevance to drive common standards into the discipline by explaining that “The work on Educational Modeling Languages [Koper 2001], and the subsequent integration of a subset in the IMS Learning Design Specification, is the most important initiative to date to integrate Instructional Design in the Standards movement. In
  12. 12. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 12 particular, it describes a formal way to represent the structure of a Unit of Learning and the concept of a pedagogical method specifying roles and activities that learners and support persons can play using learning objects. Instructional Engineering, as defined above, and Educations Modeling Languages have much in common. They put the main emphasis on pedagogy and Instructional Design. They share a software engineering approach, EML being represented using the UML software modeling methodology.” With such a massive flow of information around us, standards are needed to prevent havoc and also to aid the conglomerate fields that have already propelled Instructional Design to a whole new ballpark. The Benefits of Anchoring Interaction Design in the Best Practices of Instructional Design are more clear in this context, as the DNA of any of the Design fields is usability, which “is typically described in terms of five characteristics: ease of learning, efficiency of use, memorability, error frequency and severity, and subjective to satisfaction”. (Nielsen, 1993). The opportunity at large is to acknowledge that most of the cognitive ‘legwork’ falls into the boundaries of Instructional Design and Technology. Developing creative, transparent and efficient intercultural collaborative models that are underlined by a common framework of standards, communication, best practices, continuous development, deployment, improvement and expansion gives Instructional Design a new personality, it becomes a ‘Rosetta Stone’ in this workflow. This framework must, at any rate, be intrinsically simple, ethnographically unbound and cross-culturally adaptable given the nature of most open source projects.
  13. 13. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 13 The field of IDT has no choice but get its Mojo back in order to play a credible role in other Design fields. Instructional Design & Technology is “a methodology mostly concerned with the processes and principles that will produce good specifications of a learning system” (Paquette) The keyword in this case is methodology. For more technology that we can think of, without a method, there is no added value to the scientific innovation inheriting to a specific device. Driving good methodologies that are simple, ethnographically unbound and cross-culturally adaptable is the key to Instructional Design. The ball has landed in the IDT court and it is time to make a play. It’s like Christmas with no Santa. What is the right mix of technology, methodology, know-how and innovation? The easy answer maybe the right answer, and such is that we can only know when we make it happen. It may be uncomfortable, you may be yelled at, or praised for, empathized with or derogated by. It is, paradoxically, an uninviting environment; yet it is unacceptable not to take action and remain on the sideline. The opportunity of discovery and growth is exquisitely irresistible and it is in such spirit that many thinkers, innovators and geniuses out there push the Human Spirit forward. Because we thrive for Global Justice and many of them tirelessly aim to make a better world around them. This is then the Human essence of why it is important to have standards, standards that must be implemented in methodologies that can be globally enhanced to spread knowledge. Technology is not the catalyst of change, it is the human behind it. Technology has come and gone and what makes people move forward is not the great version of a new software nor the next top-of-the-line device, it is a mental connection based on belief, hope and faith.
  14. 14. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 14 E Pluribus Unum “[Harnessing] the distributive powers of the Internet, [parceling] the work out to thousands, [using] their piecework to build a better whole – putting informal networks of volunteer coders in direct competition with big corporations. It works like an ant colony, where the collective intelligence of the network supersedes any single contributor.” (Thinkcycle, 2006) The Benefits of Anchoring Interaction Design in the Best Practices of Instructional Design are once again clear also in this context. Such practices provide instructional support for both Creative Professionals and end users is the key bridge that must be built through cross-cultural communication by the Instructional Designers in order to prosper in their creative endeavors with efficiency, and with solid building blocks of confidence in every area. According to the Wikipedia, to bridge the digital divide, “ease of access is a fundamental aspect, but it is not the sole factor. Effective access also depends on ability to use ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) effectively, and on the quality of digital content that is available and can be provided. The quality of connection, auxiliary services and other factors that affect effective use are also important (Davison and Cotten, 2003). Access can be through a range of devices and each provides a different level of support. Once an appropriate level of access is achieved, the individual then requires an education that includes literacy and technological skills to make effective use of it. From this point on, participation becomes possible because of the
  15. 15. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 15 wealth of usable information that becomes available coupled with the equally important capacity to provide information to others.” The best practices of the field of Instructional Design and Technology make IDT become the key broker –or bridge- in this relationship and has intrinsic benefits for creating better bonds in the cross cultural interactions that many times will happen, will indeed become a win – win relationship of synergy for both actors in the creative continuum. The relationships and the forged alliances must be established with enough cohesion to create synergy but not interdependency. In other words, if we are to engage in building solid relationships, as the saying goes “We must teach people how to fish”. Would there be a time when collaboration replaces corporation? We must keep our feet on the ground for the time being and gain an understanding of how we communicate within ourselves and with each of the other six billion people we share the planet with before we embark into a journey we have no conception off. . The time to act is now and it is only after we take the first step into this journey that we will discover much more than if we just stood still on the sideline. As Speer mentions: “talking the talk is easy... walking the walk is really hard”.
  16. 16. Best Practices of Interdisciplinary Design 16 References Friedman. (2005). The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 3. Gibson. (2000). Intercultural Business Communication: Fachsprache Englisch. Berlin, Germany: Cornelsen & Oxford University Press GmbH & Co, 11. Nielsen. (1993). Usability Engineering. Boston: Academic Press. Paquette. (2004). Educational Modeling languages: From an Instructional Engineering Perspective. Montreal, Quebec: Presses de l’Université du Québec. Peer to Peer (P2P) Foundation. (2006). Open Source Industrial Design. Retrieved July 2, 2006 from Speer. (2006). The Next Decade in Design: Paradigm Shift. Innovation,Spring 2006, 31- 35. Spolsky, Joel. “Great Design: What is Design?”. (2006). Retrieved October 1, 2006 from Wikipedia. Digital Divide. Retrieved July 5, 2006 from Wikipedia. (2006). “What is Interaction Design?”. Retrieved October 7th, 2006 from