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Agency and Instructional Design
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Agency and Instructional Design

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Instructional designers are agents of social change - interpersonal, institutional, professional and societal. Overview of research results.

Instructional designers are agents of social change - interpersonal, institutional, professional and societal. Overview of research results.

Published in: Education, Design

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  • 1. Change Agency and Instructional Design
    • Richard Schwier University of Saskatchewan
    • Katy Campbell
    • University of Alberta
    • Richard Kenny
    • Athabasca University
    Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, Canada 2.5
  • 2. Traditional ID Practice
    • Linear, systematic, prescriptive approach
    • Design of neutral learning environments in isolation from learning contexts
  • 3. Instructional Design as Moral Practice
    • Agency refers to doing & implies power
    • Designer agency most powerful from foundation of moral coherence
    • Moral coherence when designer's values align with those of clients & their institutions
  • 4. Research Design
    • 3 year, SSHRC funded, study
    • Research team, Katy Campbell - University of Alberta; Richard Kenny - Athabasca University; Richard Schwier - University of Saskatchewan
    • 49 research conversations with > 20 IDers
    • Narrative inquiry & storying of experience
    • Purpose to capture participants’:
      • cultural constructions of experience
      • seminal personal & professional encounters
      • moral & ethical development
      • understanding of work as IDers
  • 5. Why Narrative Inquiry?
    • Socially constructed practice = socially constructed description
    • Mimics natural conversations
  • 6. And especially because…
    • Narrative important for community building, practical reasoning, personal perspective, semantic innovation
    • Narrative has moral, emotional, aesthetic, & intellectual dimensions
    • …and so does ID
  • 7. The Multivariate Nature of Agency
  • 8. Interpersonal Agency
    • Bi-directional, moral commitment to other people involved in projects
    • Emphasis on collegial engagement & advocacy for learners
      • I need to be the learner before there is one. I design for people who don't usually have a voice in what happens to them in their educational lives, and I have to be their voice until they can speak for themselves.
  • 9. Professional Agency
    • Feeling of responsibility to the profession
    • Act in professionally competent & ethical manner
      • I needed to synthesize a wide range of experiences and educational considerations in order to make decisions. I often felt the need to vet these decisions with experienced designers; however, I also needed to prove that I was capable of being a designer in my own right. Finding an appropriate balance was a challenge.
  • 10. Institutional Agency
    • Considers the way that IDers align work with institutional goals
    • May be expressed in tension felt between organizational goals and personal values
      • There are some really huge issues that are moving forward in distance education, especially technology- enhanced learning issues. If the institutions-the academies-do not look at these issues very seriously, very soon, they're going to find themselves in policy nether land, where nothing works.
  • 11. Societal Agency
    • Need to know work contributing to more significant societal influence
    • Disconnect between perceived responsibility & authority to influence change
      • It's one of those things where you feel-you know-you make a difference. You know you have an impact at times, and sometimes you come away feeling really good about it. But rarely do I feel like it's a consistent difference. Rarely do I feel like it's a widespread margin of difference to my liking. So, I'm more frustrated than I am satisfied with the level of difference I make. I'm always looking to have impact on a large scale.
  • 12. The Multivariate Nature of Agency
  • 13. Intentional Dimension of Agency
    • Related to principles or values associated with actions
    • Deciding which things are important & those things we mean to do
    • Personal judgments about what is significant, preferential, moral or ethical
    • Risk of making design decisions inconsistent with underlying intentions of the work
  • 14. Operational Dimension of Agency
    • Practical implications or expression of particular intentions, principles or values
    • Deal with concrete actions or outcomes
    • Several operational expressions can be consistent with single intentional dimension
  • 15. The Multivariate Nature of Agency
  • 16. Advice to the Designer
    • ID is social practice, not rote application of instructional models
    • Change agency involves moral relationships
    • Actions are not value neutral
    • Consider how intentional & operational dimensions of design may conflict
    • Units of faculty development work closely with faculty & designers to align values

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