Instructional Design Skills, Methods, and Knowledge in the era of MOOCs: A Research Proposal
Sarohini Chahal Columbia University
Abstract The profession of instructional design continues to evolve as new technologies emerge. The exponential growth of e-learning technologies, such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), have provided the field of instructional design a variety of opportunities and some unique challenges. MOOCs, which are open, free, and can thus include an unlimited audience size, are accelerating. The total number of participants nationally grew from 16-18 million in 2014 to over 35 million in 2015. In 2015, 1800 new MOOC courses were announced, bringing the total to 4200 announced since its inception (Shah, 2015). Managing an increasingly compressed MOOC production plan and catering to massive audiences poses challenges of quick development and iteration. Unfortunately, little is known of current skills, methods, and knowledge instructional designers employ to successfully develop MOOCs for the aforementioned challenges.
The present work aims to address the following research questions: (1) What skills, methods, and knowledge do instructional designers employ for successful development of a MOOC course? (2) Which skills, methods, and knowledge do instructional designers find most important to the successful development of a MOOC course?
The present research consists of two phases. In phase 1, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with instructional designers that have previously or are currently developing MOOCs. The interview questions will seek to elicit a wide range of skills, methods, and knowledge that are relevant to instructional designers. In phase 2, we will synthesize findings from the qualitative research and conduct a quantitative survey among instructional designers to gain an understanding of relative importance of the skills, methods, and knowledge identified in phase 1.
Based on phase 1 interviews, we expect to arrive at a comprehensive list of skills, methods, and knowledge. The skills may include interpersonal skills (i.e. the ability to interact with colleagues, other instructional designers, managers, content experts, and end users), technical skills (i.e. use of instructional design techniques to develop products using hardware and software), analytical skills (i.e. ability to examine issues and data critically), communication skills (i.e. ability to write instructional text, audio and video scripts, and to effectively summarize and document information).
The methods may include ADDIE (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012), Agile Instructional Design (Pappas, 2015), Gagne’s Nine Steps of Instruction (Gagne et al, 2004), Dick and Carey Model (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012), Bloom’s Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002). The knowledge may include various learning theories, such as behaviorism (Ertmer & Newby, 1993), constructivism (Hannifan & Hannifan, 1997), cognitivism (Ertmer & Newby, 1993), connectivism (Siemens, 2005), and Merrill’s Component Display Theory (Merrill, 1987).
The findings will advance the field of instructional design in three ways: (1) inform the development of guidelines for instructional designers developing MOOCs, (2) inform instructional design professional development, (3) inform the development of graduate-level instructional design curricula.
MOOCs are changing the field of instructional design. However, not much is known with regards to the fundamental skills, methods, and knowledge required of instructional designers developing them. The findings from this work may hold significant implications for instructional designers as they prepare for the challenges of the MOOC era ahead.
Recommended Citation: Chahal, S., (2016). Instructional Design Skills, Methods, and Knowledge in the era of MOOCs: A Research Proposal. Proceedings of the EDSIG Conference, (2016) n.4187, Las Vegas, Nevada