A/B Testing on Open Textbooks
This study examined the feasibility of employing A/B tests for continuous improvement by focusing on user perceptions of quality of six chapters of a popular open textbook over the course of a year. Results indicated non-significant differences in all cases but also suggest that future work in this area should (a) employ A/B testing at a broader, less-granular (e.g., platform-level) scale to increase sample sizes, (b) explore autonomous approaches to experimentation and improvement, such as bandit algorithms, and (c) rely upon more universally collected dependent variables to reduce sample size limitations emerging from self-reports.
Applying the Design of Narrative Distance in Instruction
The field of instructional design has a history of exploring the possibilities of narrative in instruction. One aspect of narrative that has not received significant attention is the relationship between the indirect nature of narrative (narrative distance) and its power to create powerful transformative experiences. This article builds upon Taeger and Yanchar’s (2019) qualitative study of storytelling experts by offering practical applications of the indirect nature of story into instruction. Numerous examples and design patterns are offered in order to illustrate how instructional designers (IDs) can use the potentially transformative effect of narrative distance.
Enabling Interactivity through Design: Outcomes from a Gamified Health Insurance Onboarding Course
The purpose of this study was to examine new hires’ learning outcomes and perceptions of an interactive gamified e-learning course in a health insurance organization. The conceptual framework drew from literature surrounding the Understanding by Design process and the relationship between engagement and interactivity in e-learning. The researchers also explored the role of course design to support interactivity. This article employed a pre-test, post-test, and a survey implemented to 121 new hires to examine learning outcomes and perceptions of a gamified e-learning course. To provide an in-depth understanding of the quantitative data, the authors followed up with 10 semi-structured interviews. Results from this study highlighted that participants experienced high levels of engagement and understanding of foundational insurance information.
Chefs in Training! Engaging Pharmacy Students through Course Gamification
Gamification is defined as the “use of game design elements in non-game contexts” (Deterding et al., 2011, p.10) with the goal of promoting user engagement. Didactic courses that incorporate game elements such as rulebooks, elements of surprise, levels, challenges, and rewards provide intrinsic motivation through immediate feedback, goal setting, opportunity for mastery, and autonomy. In this design case, course coordinators use a modified ADDIE process in collaboration with an instructional designer (ID) to effectively integrate gamification into an elective course to challenge students while providing activities that promote engagement and retention of information.
A Study of Instructional Design Master's Programs and Their Responsiveness to Evolving Professional Expectations and Employer Demand
As world and job market trends continue to evolve, so does our definition of the instructional design field. Recent study definitions, professional standards, and employer demand suggest that beyond designing and developing instructional solutions, other competency domains from needs assessment to evaluation are essential for improving learning and performance in a variety of educational and workplace settings. This study sought to elucidate the competencies that instructional design master’s programs consider essential as illustrated by their core curriculum. Findings suggest that while there is strong alignment in some competency areas, there is insufficient evidence of alignment in others.
Ladders and Escalators: Examining Advancement Obstacles for Women in Instructional Design
Careful analysis of survey data from Bond and Dirkin (2018) indicate the possible presence of a phenomenon known as the glass escalator, first put forth by Williams (1992; 2013), in instructional design. The glass escalator effect surfaced in female-majority professions, indicating that advantages are experienced by males due in part to their tokenism and social standing. The degree to which these factors are present varies from study to study and is impacted by the continuing evolution within the professions selected for investigation. The findings in this study note more significant experiences in leadership and more frequent involvement in functions extending beyond a traditional instructional design scope among male instructional designers, despite their minority status in the field. Though some factors that could account for the disparity are present, in other cases, conditions are contradictory or inconclusive. This analysis presents an area of research thus far absent relative to instructional design but a more common investigation into other similarly female-dominated fields. As the importance of instructional design increases, the need to more fully understand the field and areas affecting its practice likewise increase in importance.
"I Can Do Things Because I Feel Valuable": Authentic Project Experiences and How They Matter to Instructional Design Students
This paper examines how authentic project experiences matter to instructional design students. We explored this through a single case study of an instructional design student (referred to as Abby) who participated as a member of an educational simulation design team at a university in the western United States. Our data consisted of interviews with Abby that we analyzed to understand how she depicted her participation in this authentic project. In general, Abby found her project involvement to open up both possibilities and constraints. Early in her involvement, when she encountered limitations she did not expect, those constraints showed up as most significant and she saw the project as a place of disenfranchisement that highlighted her inadequacies. Later, in conjunction with changes in the project structure and help from a supportive mentor, she reoriented to the possibilities her participation made available, all of which disrupted the cycle of disenfranchisement in which she seemed to be caught. Abby saw more clearly opportunities that had previously been obscured, and she became one of the project’s valued leaders. We conclude by discussing implications of these findings for understanding how authentic project experiences can fit into instructional design education.
Exploring Faculty Perceptions of Professional Development Support for Transitioning to Emergency Remote Teaching
Professional development (PD) for instructors at higher education institutions offering online courses is important for assuring the quality of online programs. However, PD opportunities for faculty members have often been piecemeal and inadequate. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced instructors around the world to teach online, PD has become even more critical to the success of the instructors, students, and institutions themselves. This paper describes research conducted at a large university in the United States that used a survey developed to operationalize Baran and Correia’s (2014) holistic Professional Development Framework for Online Teaching (PDFOT). The survey identified strengths and weaknesses in PD support that could be targeted for growth and improvement. Key findings include a need to bolster support at each of the teaching, community, and organizational levels. Recommendations for addressing improvements are discussed.