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Agency and Instructional Design

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

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Agency and Instructional Design

  1. 1. Change Agency and Instructional Design <ul><li>Richard Schwier University of Saskatchewan </li></ul><ul><li>Katy Campbell </li></ul><ul><li>University of Alberta </li></ul><ul><li>Richard Kenny </li></ul><ul><li>Athabasca University </li></ul>Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, Canada 2.5
  2. 2. Traditional ID Practice <ul><li>Linear, systematic, prescriptive approach </li></ul><ul><li>Design of neutral learning environments in isolation from learning contexts </li></ul>
  3. 3. Instructional Design as Moral Practice <ul><li>Agency refers to doing & implies power </li></ul><ul><li>Designer agency most powerful from foundation of moral coherence </li></ul><ul><li>Moral coherence when designer's values align with those of clients & their institutions </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research Design <ul><li>3 year, SSHRC funded, study </li></ul><ul><li>Research team, Katy Campbell - University of Alberta; Richard Kenny - Athabasca University; Richard Schwier - University of Saskatchewan </li></ul><ul><li>49 research conversations with > 20 IDers </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative inquiry & storying of experience </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose to capture participants’: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cultural constructions of experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>seminal personal & professional encounters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>moral & ethical development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>understanding of work as IDers </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Why Narrative Inquiry? <ul><li>Socially constructed practice = socially constructed description </li></ul><ul><li>Mimics natural conversations </li></ul>
  6. 6. And especially because… <ul><li>Narrative important for community building, practical reasoning, personal perspective, semantic innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative has moral, emotional, aesthetic, & intellectual dimensions </li></ul><ul><li>…and so does ID </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Multivariate Nature of Agency
  8. 8. Interpersonal Agency <ul><li>Bi-directional, moral commitment to other people involved in projects </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on collegial engagement & advocacy for learners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Professional Agency <ul><li>Feeling of responsibility to the profession </li></ul><ul><li>Act in professionally competent & ethical manner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Institutional Agency <ul><li>Considers the way that IDers align work with institutional goals </li></ul><ul><li>May be expressed in tension felt between organizational goals and personal values </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Societal Agency <ul><li>Need to know work contributing to more significant societal influence </li></ul><ul><li>Disconnect between perceived responsibility & authority to influence change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The Multivariate Nature of Agency
  13. 13. Intentional Dimension of Agency <ul><li>Related to principles or values associated with actions </li></ul><ul><li>Deciding which things are important & those things we mean to do </li></ul><ul><li>Personal judgments about what is significant, preferential, moral or ethical </li></ul><ul><li>Risk of making design decisions inconsistent with underlying intentions of the work </li></ul>
  14. 14. Operational Dimension of Agency <ul><li>Practical implications or expression of particular intentions, principles or values </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with concrete actions or outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Several operational expressions can be consistent with single intentional dimension </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Multivariate Nature of Agency
  16. 16. Advice to the Designer <ul><li>ID is social practice, not rote application of instructional models </li></ul><ul><li>Change agency involves moral relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Actions are not value neutral </li></ul><ul><li>Consider how intentional & operational dimensions of design may conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Units of faculty development work closely with faculty & designers to align values </li></ul>