Design considerations for bridging the gap between instructional design pedagogy and practice

This is an article with colleagues Jill Stefaniak from the University of Georgia and Rebecca Reese from the Colorado School of Mines. Our purpose was to capture some of the practical wisdom that we’ve developed about teaching instructional design in different contexts. There’s more than there’s a difference between schooling and practice. There’s also a difference between schooling and particular types of practice. That diversity is what we were drawing attention to in this article, along with some suggestions for coping in various kinds of situations.


Research indicates there is a gap between employers’ expectations of instructional designers’ roles and responsibilities, and what designers actually do. The purpose of this paper is to explore the unique nuances inherent in instructional design practices from a variety of work settings. Our paper is grounded in a practitioner’s perspective utilizing long-standing careers in the instructional design sectors and informal discussions with many practitioners. The goal of the paper is to highlight constraints and contextual considerations that instructional designers must address while working on projects. We also discuss how instructional design educators can support instructional design students to better prepare them for real-world instructional design contexts.


At ResearchGate

At BYU Scholar’s Archive

At the journal website


Stefaniak, J., Reese, R. M., & McDonald, J. K. (2020). Design considerations for bridging the gap between instructional design pedagogy and practice. The Journal of Applied Instructional Design, 9(3).

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