Theory-Driven Research in Instructional/Learning Design and Technology Discipline (I/LDT)
In this paper, we argue that the Instructional/Learning Design and Technology Discipline (I/LDT) is a design discipline that belongs to the larger human tradition of design. Based on this premise, we recommend that I/LDT researchers: (a) Take advantage of the broader descriptive design theory and (b) rely on critical theory in order to provide context, explanation, and critique to the I/LDT discipline altogether. Drawing on specific examples from these theories, we provide specific recommendations for I/LDT researchers based on examples from precedent and high-quality I/LDT research.
Personalized Learning Design Framework
For over a decade, the United States National Educational Technology Plan has called for an increase in personalized learning across P–12 contexts in response to the increasing diversity of learners’ backgrounds, abilities, needs, and interests. Following emergency remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the diversity of learners’ abilities and needs may become even more extreme as many learners were ill-prepared for the self-regulation and increased agency of distance learning. As learners become increasingly diverse, it seems clear that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to learning will not work effectively. Based on the need for personalized learning across P–12 contexts, interviews about personalization practices with 62 P–12 teachers, and in response to broad perceptions of personalization across educational fields, the Personalized Learning Design Framework was created to describe elements of instruction that can be personalized, dimensions along which such elements can be personalized, the role technology may play in personalization, and a taxonomy of learner agency to guide a transition from instructor-centered to learner-centered practices.
A Framework for Phronetic LDT Theory
My purpose in this chapter is to offer a reimagined view of theory in the field of learning design and technology (LDT). Instead of viewing theory as an external storehouse of knowledge, or a rule-like system for professionals to apply, in this framework theory is viewed as an orienting aid that supports practitioners as they refine their personal capacities for perception, discrimination, and judgment. Theory plays this orienting role as it offers insights into LDT-relevant practical knowledge, productive heuristics, points professionals towards opportunities to act, or identifies significant patterns and forms of excellence to which they can pay attention as they attempt to improve their craft. The chapter concludes with some implications for this framework for future research and practice in the field.
Theoretical Considerations of Learning Experience Design
Researchers of learning design and technology (LDT) adopt theories from outside the field to design and evaluate educational technologies in a human-centered manner. We therefore propose a theory of Learning Experience Design (LXD) that draws from multiple traditions (i.e., user experience, learning design, and educational technology). The suggested LXD theory has the aim to guide designers, researchers, and educators in crafting effective learning experiences while taking into account the sociocultural, pedagogical, and technological dimensions of technology-mediated learning.
Maturation of Universal Design for Learning
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was conceptualized as a curriculum design framework grounded in neuroscience research addressing learner variability in the forefront of instructional design. We argue that over the past 30 years, UDL has “matured” from solely a curriculum design framework to now articulating key components characteristic of instructional-design theories. Framing UDL as an instructional-design theory further supports the mission of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) and other instructional technology and education research professional organizations working to advance scholarship and best practices that support equitable and accessible learning and instruction.