Available Means for Teaching & Learning: Instructional Design and Technical and Professional Communication
Concurrent Session 4
A careful and systematic study of the connections between Instructional Design (ID) and Technical and Professional Communication (TPC) benefits both fields by identifying theories and frameworks they can share, supplementing applied work produced independently and in overlapping spaces. This emerging ideas session will explore the overlapping definitions between ID and TPC.
“Instructional design stripped to its basics is simply a process for helping you to create effective training in an efficient manner.”
Rhetoric is "the faculty of observing, in any given case, the available means of persuasion."
Design is an area of applied study that belongs to and has been studied by many disciplines. In the field of Technical and Professional Communication (TPC), design is one of many roles that a technical or professional communicator might perform. Caliner (2001) states technical communicators must at least “be able to identify opportunities to communicate visually and share the plans with graphic artists and production specialists” (p. 157). In Instructional Design (ID), design has been categorized as models that are informed by theories of education. A design focus is not the only area where ID and TPC overlap. Both ID and TPC share histories and connections with the sciences. Seel and Dijkstra (2004) state that “Most scholars agree that ID has its roots both in the psychology of learning and in cybernetics and system theory. As a consequence, we can find a lot of interesting correspondences between models of ID and learning-oriented didactics” (p. 3). Seel and Dijkstra (2004) also claim that several scholars “consider ID to be an engineering discipline” (p. 3), and Gropper (2017) argues that ID needs to be empirically tested in ways that ring similar to the way TPC tests its own designs. How might the overlapping interest areas and definitions of TPC and ID benefit both fields?
As with many applied fields that have a heavy communication component, ID can also benefit from the rhetorical theories that ground TPC. For example, “to Seels and Richey (1994), instructional design referred to the evaluation of processes and resources for facilitating the conceptualisation, development, implementation and management of learning” (Göksu et al, 2017, p. 86). The human centric grounding of rhetoric, like what we see popularized in user experience frameworks today, might help expand ID frameworks while much of the pscyhologically situated educational theories grounding ID could continue to benefit the field of TPC. While describing new aspects of the TPC field, Caliner claims “in addition to adding the role of the information designer, the emergence of online communication has fostered a convergence of marketing communication, training, and technical communication” (p. 161).
Although the comparing of ID and TPC may not be shockingly new, a careful and systematic study of the connections between these two fields benefits both by identifying theories and frameworks they can share and by supplementing applied work produced independently and in overlapping spaces. This emerging ideas session will explore the overlapping definitions between Instructional Design and Technical and Professional Communication. The presenters will visually present connections between the two fields and what they may gain from one another. Attendees will walk away with a reference list to continue their own reading, learning, and thinking.
Caliner, S. (2001). Emerging skills in technical communication: The information designer’s place in a new career path for technical communicators. Technical Communication, 18(2), 156-175. https://www.stc.org/techcomm/
Göksu, I., Özcan, K. V., Çakir, R., & Göktas, Y. (2017). Content analysis of research trends in instructional design models: 1999-2014. Journal of Learning Design, 10(2), 85-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/jld.v10i2.288
Gropper, G. (2017). Instructional Design: □Science □Technology □Both □Neither. Educational Technology, 57(1), 40-52. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44430539
Piskurich, G. M. (2015). Rapid Instructional Design: Learning ID Fast and Right, 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Seel, N. M., & Dijkstra, S. (2004). Curriculum, Plans, and Processes in Instructional Design: International Perspectives. Mahwah NJ: Routledge.