Posted by: Richard Schwier | October 25, 2008

Cultures and Instructional Design

I’m off to Singapore to attend a small invited symposium of instructional design academics from points around the globe (13 of us, I think), to see if there is any appetite for a collaboration to look into an intriguing research question: Are there cultural differences that influence the practice and study of instructional design? Is instructional design conducted differently in different cultures, and how does that play out socially, institutionally, professionally and interpersonally? It seems to us, as North American ID scholars, that there must be important differences, and that we should understand them to to better deal with how we conduct ID, supervise ID, write about ID and train others to be instructional designers.

A confounding factor is that instructional designers come from many walks of academic life, yet many who are formally trained get their training at North American universities. This may have a leavening effect on the practice of ID generally, but it will make the instances of difference that much more interesting. If we find differences, then they may indeed be strong ones to overcome the considerable influence of North American influence on ID worldwide.

It will be a fascinating couple of days. I’m in transit as I write this, enjoying the amenities in the Maple Leaf Lounge in the Vancouver International Airport. It seems like this is the first opportunity I’ve had to blog in some time, and I’m enjoying the luxury. I’ll report anything interesting that comes up during the visit — although it may have to wait until I’m de-lagged following the trip.

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