Survey and Case Study Analyses of the Professional Preparation of Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) Graduates for Different Career Environments
Larson, Miriam Bender
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Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) professionals practice their skills in a broad range of career environments and job roles. Each career environment has lists of competencies and unique knowledge and skill requirements that may or may not be communicated to students, since IDT programs do not typically distinguish themselves as preparing students for specific career environments. Not much has been written concerning how, and how well, IDT programs are preparing students for professional practice in different career or work environments. This study utilized a mixed method approach to carry out a two phase study. In Phase I, current IDT practitioners were surveyed concerning the match between their preparation program and their IDT work experience, and their opinions of exemplary programs for preparing students for their career environment. Respondents to the survey indicated that they felt somewhat to fully prepared for general instructional design practices, but over 25% felt that their program was not adequate for preparing them for the cultural aspects of their career environment. Survey respondents identified Indiana University (Bloomington) and Florida State University (Tallahassee) as top exemplary programs for preparing graduates for practicing instructional design for a variety of career environments. Phase I results informed Phase II of the research, which consisted of a case study of the Instructional Systems program at Florida State University. The case study identified the philosophies of educators at an exemplary program, the experiences those philosophies were based on, and specific ways the program instantiated those philosophies. Educators at Florida State use a pragmatic combination of situated methods and strategies that enable students to develop expertise through participation in communities of practice relevant to their career goals. The study concluded that, with respect to career environment preparation, the best approach to IDT preparation is a generalist approach that provides flexibility in coursework selection so that students can obtain coursework and authentic experiences to prepare them for the career environment of their choice.
- Doctoral Dissertations