Preparing instructional design students for reflective practice

This was a fun little chapter I wrote that synthesized some of the scholarship on reflective practice, and teaching students to become more reflective practitioners. I also came up with a couple of my own pedagogical ideas for planning curricula to integrate reflective practice. What I’m particularly happy with is I was able to describe the two senses of reflective, and how both need to be addressed by design educators: the first in the sense of thinking about your own work, and the second in the sense of reflecting back through your intuitive responses the saliences the world presents you (like the way a good jazz musician reflects the contributions of collaborators during a performance).

From the introduction:

Typically, the formal processes, frameworks, and theories that characterize the field of instructional design and technology provide only a starting point in the work of expert practitioners. Professional designers tend to base decisions on reservoirs of prior experience and practical judgment that are flexible and adaptable, and that allow them to cope with the variability, nuance, and paradoxes that characterize authentic working conditions. In the literature this is known as reflective practice, or being a reflective practitioner. Given the importance of these capacities in instructional design, especially when solving the difficult problems that designers often face, helping students develop into reflective practitioners should be a key outcome of instructional design education. My purpose in this chapter is to provide guidance to instructional design educators in pursuit of this goal. I do this by reviewing the importance of reflective practice within professional contexts, and by describing strategies educators can use to help their students nurture the dispositions associated with reflective practice.


At ResearchGate

At BYU Scholar’s Archive


McDonald, J. K. (2022). Preparing instructional design students for reflective practice. In Stefaniak, J. E., & Reese, R. M. (Eds.), The instructional design trainer’s guide: Authentic practices and considerations for mentoring for ID and ed tech professionals (pp. 29-37). Routledge.