I recently contributed an essay to the inaugural issue of the Journal of Applied Instructional Design. This is a new journal, sponsored by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, aimed at giving the ID scholar - practitioner greater voice. I contributed an essay, called "In Search of Secret Handshakes of Instructional Design", that talked about the importance of finding the "know 'em when we seen 'em" attributes for recognizing fellow ID practitioners when we encounter them on the long and winding road to enterprise learning. I also observed that theoretical foundations guiding the study of the evolution of a field can fall awkwardly out of alignment with the evolution of a professional practice, particularly one so directly affected by the speed of technological change.
Here is a link to the full essay.
And here is a 5 minute summary:
Whether we use a constructivistic approach, a social learning approach, a connectionistic approach or a behavioral approach, IDs produce value through the design, development and distribution of learning solutions. We used to look more like teachers, trainers and psychologists than artists, scripters or programmers, but that balance seems to have shifted a bit. Today's IDs work with technology tools, because so much of today's learning and performance support is enabled / managed / distributed via technology. IDs create learning content and courseware. But IDs are not just elearning content authors, either. IDs are also engaged in supporting and enabling distance learning's web collaborations and with mobile learning's apps and mediacasts, too. AND running the LMS.
IDs used to mostly come to the practice out of graduate instructional design and educational technology programs. Today, perhaps as many as two-thirds of today's ID practitioners come to the practice of ID from applied settings. We come from creative professions (e.g. artists, designers, producers). We became IDs when assigned with learning and development responsibilities. We are the IT professional who is put in charge of the enterprise LMS. We are the training manager who gets put in charge of the new elearning – mobile learning – game based learning – virtual world learning – initiative that the enterprise wants to explore.
Regardless of our epistemological roots, our professional training, the number of or lack of our graduate degrees or the places where we work, we call ourselves IDs.
Do we know how to recognize each other when we see each other??
(Of course it will. You don't think I would get this all queued up and walk away do you??)