Exploring Dimensions of the Past: A Historiographical Analysis of Instructional Design and Technology Historical Works
Every academic field has a history valuable to understanding how a field developed (Ames,
2015). History can offer important insight into times, places, and people that have long been
considered less relevant to the present or future. Through re-examination of written histories
using new philosophical lenses or analytical approaches, researchers and practitioners are able to prevent stagnancy in historical research and uncover new perspectives or moments in history, specifically Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) history. This critical historiography of IDT’s written histories examines how various approaches to writing IDT history produce certain interpretations and understandings of IDT’s past. Historiography is the critical analysis of the written history of the history of a field or topic of study, such as IDT (Becker, 1938; Breisach, 2007; Cheng, 2012; Spalding & Parker, 2007). Historiography is useful in understanding how history has been written and how the act of writing and interpreting history impacts the understanding of history, the present, and the future (Cheng, 2012). This article introduces two major historical and philosophical paradigms evident in IDT history and explores associated research methods. The article then explores how historical record is thought about, shaped, and written to shed light on areas of IDT history previously unexplored and offer suggestions for future research and practice. A greater awareness of varied historical approaches and perspectives in academic inquiry can offer new ways to bolster or broaden research agendas and practitioner work in IDT.