Instructional Designer quantitative survey

Thoughts on: Project Management in Instructional Design (Allen, 2020)

Reading this thesis was valuable because it showed how stark the difference can be between them. Where Amparo took a very qualitative, narrative driven approach to the research going narrow but deep with 3 people and case studies, Allen goes shallow but broad with this quantitative research into the most valued project management competencies for instructional designers (IDs).

Allen takes a deep dive into a comparatively rich pool of literature relating to the project management skills that best serve IDs, generating a comprehensive literature review that sums up the last decade or so of research in this space very effectively. She builds on it by conducting her own two stage survey of 86 IDs in a range of sectors (Higher Ed, corporate, ID project team leaders) to gather some rich quant data.

Nothing overly surprising emerges in terms of the favoured competencies, with the data largely aligning with the studies that had come before (but at a larger scale) but it did spark a few thoughts for me about my own work. Some of the competencies across the literature I personally found a little nebulous – things like “attention to detail” which are certainly valuable professional attributes but, coming from a competency based education background, I was curious about how that might be meaningfully measured or taught. This brought me back to realising that I need to think carefully about what practices, attributes and competencies mean in the data I am gathering.

The painstaking detail in the writing about the work undertaken, from the lit review to the data collection and analysis offered a useful benchmark for my own future writing.

It was also useful to scan the references and find a few promising leads that I’ve previously missed. These include:

Kenny, J. (2004). A study of educational technology project management in Australian universities. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(3), 388–404.

Allen, M. (1996). A profile of instructional designers in Australia. Distance Education 17(1), 7–32.

I don’t think I had thought to search for IDs in the Australian literature.