Doctoral Qualifying Exams: Part 9 – Instructional Technology Exam Question 2

For my Instructional Technology doctoral qualifying exams I was given one question each week for three weeks.  I had to answer the question in a week’s time, open source, open book.  This was question 2.

Question 2: Choose either Option A or Option B

Option A: Generate a research agenda

Format: memo, no rigid rules on formatting, but do follow the format requirements given on the grading rubric.

Style: Use APA citation style as though this were a student paper.

Preface.  Many critics of research in instructional technology have complained that there has been little additive value in the research conducted because many researchers are all following independent whims.  The questions they ask and the methods they use are all different and disconnected.  This is your chance to propose a coherent research agenda.

Scenario.  Imagine that a well-funded National institute of Instructional Technology (NIIT) has been established to encourage coordinated research in this area.  You have been invited to sit on the Advisory Board of the NIIT.  The first task of the advisory board is to lay out the agenda for the research that will be supported by the NIIT.  Each board member has been asked to submit a memo suggesting initiatives that should be supported.

Your task.  Write a succinct memo recommending the highest priorities for research to be supported by the NIIT.  Please keep the following points in mind:

  • Related fields, such as Instructional Psychology and Adult Education already have their own institutes, so focus on issues that you feel are most nearly unique to Instructional Technology
  • Give your own synthesis, but also refer to the advice of other experts

Rather than trying to cover the whole field, select one major subset of the field (such as one of the items in the list below) and focus your recommendations on that area.  In your memo, include:

  1. The most important knowledge goals to pursue in the area,
  2. The most promising current lines of work toward those goals, and
  3. The most important next steps for developing knowledge toward each of those goals (discuss the questions to be pursued and the methods that seem most promising).

Please include citations to support your claims.  (Citations are OK in this sort of memo).

Some subsets of Instructional Technology

  • Instructional design theory
  • Instructional development process
  • Front-end analysis
  • Learning analysis
  • Task analysis
  • Message design
  • Media design and production
  • Evaluation
  • Implementation / Dissemination / Change Management
  • Systems theory
  • Learning environments
  • Application of instructional theories

Option B: Support or criticize the field of Instructional Systems Design (ISD)

Format: Journal Article

Style: APA “final” manuscript style

In recent years there has been some uneasiness expressed in the field of Instructional Systems Design (ISD) concerning the appropriateness of the “systems approach” to instructional development…which some claim to be the dominate paradigm at this time.  What are the major weaknesses or limitations that are being claimed?  What should instructional designers do about the criticisms: Keep  ISD?  Drop ISD?  Adapt ISD?  Adopt some other approach?

Some examples of criticisms and proposals for alternatives:

  • Zemke, Ron and Rossett, Alison.  “A Hard Look at ISD.”  Training, February 2002, pp. 27-35.
  • Dick, Walter.  “Better Instructional Design Theory: Process Improvement or Reengineering?”  Educational Technology, Sept/Oct 1997, pp. 47-50.
  • Willis, Jerry. “Alternative Instructional Design Paradigms: What’s Worth Discussing and What Isn’t.”  Educational Technology, May/June 1998, pp. 5-16.
  • Willis, Jerry and Wright, Kristen E.  “A General Set of Procedures for Constructivist Instructional Design.”  Educational Technology, Mar/Apr 2000, pp. 5-20.
  • Dills and Romiszowski, Instructional Development Paradigms.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 1997.  This entire book provides alternative Instructional Design alternatives

Your article, for a journal of your choice (tell us what the journal is), should respond to criticism and proposals such as these.  Of course, which criticism you consider to be the most important…and your response to them…will depend on what specific audience you choose to address (e.g., teachers, corporate trainers, professors of instructional technology, new grad students, and so on.).  Of course, your response could either support the critics of ISD or rebut the claims of those critics.

Please cite relevant literature to support your claims.

About Taylor Halverson

I love learning. I love connecting. I love interdisciplinarity.
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One Response to Doctoral Qualifying Exams: Part 9 – Instructional Technology Exam Question 2

  1. Pingback: Doctoral Qualifying Exams: Part 1 « Taylor Halverson

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