Instructional Designers as Researchers: A conversation about changing roles and opportunities to advance the science of teaching and learning
Concurrent Session 7
In this conversation, leaders from Oregon State Ecampus will briefly present findings from a national study about instructional designer participation in research. Attendees will discuss instructional designers’ current roles, barriers and opportunities inherent in current organizational structures, and potential benefits of engaging instructional designers in research on teaching and learning.
Recent literature has started to explore the importance of the role of instructional designers within higher education. However, one area that has received little attention in this literature is the role of instructional designers in teaching and learning research. In this conversation, leadership from Oregon State Ecampus will briefly present key findings from a national study about research preparation and engagement of instructional designers, which provides a better understanding of how instructional designers are using and engaging in research on teaching and learning in their current roles, what previous training they have received in research methods and design, and whether they feel prepared to conduct research on teaching and learning in their current roles.
To begin the conversation, the speakers will provide a brief overview of the study, focusing on five key takeaways from the research:
- Takeaway: Many instructional designers want to collaborate on teaching and learning research with faculty and their peers.
- Takeaway: Many instructional designers feel under-prepared to engage in research on teaching and learning.
- Takeaway: Although research on teaching and learning is not included in the job descriptions of the majority of instructional designers, a large number are engaging in research collaborations.
- Takeaway: Instructional designers face a range of obstacles when attempting to engage in research on teaching and learning.
- Takeaway: The majority of instructional designers in this study think that knowledge of research design and methods enhances their work and that they will be perceived as more credible if they are conducting research on teaching and learning.
From there, the speakers will lead attendees in a discussion about the roles of instructional designers as they currently exist on their campuses, will consider the opportunities and barriers inherent in current organizational structures, and will explore the potential benefits of engaging instructional designers in research on teaching and learning.
Discussion questions will include:
- How would you describe the role of instructional designers at your campus at present?
- What is working with that structure? What are some areas for possible improvement?
- Are instructional designers at your institution expected to collaborate on research?
- Are Instructional designers at your institution able to participate in research? Is this part of their job description?
- Are Instructional designers at your institution discouraged from participating in research?
- What barriers do your instructional designers face if they do wish to participate in research? (e.g., the ability to submit IRB, lack of a “seat” at the research table, perception of instructional design by academic researchers)
- What potential benefits exist if instructional designers were encouraged to participate in research?
- What kinds of preparations and professional development would be necessary for instructional designers to successfully participate in research? Other supports needed?
- How might participation in research impact the credibility of instructional designers?
- How might participation in research impact innovation in the science of teaching and learning?
- How might participation in research by instructional designers contribute or advance your institution’s or organization’s mission?
Participants in this conversation will explore the changing and maturing profession of instructional design, and will consider possible changes in current organizational systems that exclude instructional designers from research activity. Attendees will be encouraged to consider advantages of expanding the role of instructional designers to include research responsibilities for their institutions, for the profession of instructional design, and for the scholarship of teaching and learning.