More tips for navigating the sometimes delicate instructor-instructional designer dynamic

May 10, 2017

The following lists, compiled by Jon Aleckson and Penny Ralston-Berg for their book MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts (Atwood Publishing), offer tips for faculty members working with instructional designers on online course development and visa versa. 

For Instructors Working with Design Teams

  1. Share your passion. Tell stories about why the subject matter is important to you.
  2. Keep in touch on a regular basis. Raise a flag when you don’t get a fair share of time.
  3. Help the team learn more about your subject matter; emphasize key points and common trouble spots.
  4. Solicit ideas for new technological elements or design strategies.
  5. Ask for alternative perspectives from team members.
  6. Talk over the objectives for the course and for each sub-lesson or module.
  7. Seek opinions and ideas that specifically relate to the learning objectives.
  8. Demonstrate your experience through discussions and examples.
  9. Ask how you can help move the process forward.
  10. Recognize the expertise of the design team and the value that the designers add in creating a powerful learning experience.

For Designers Working with Content Experts

  1. Emphasize you have a common goal -- to create a powerful learning experience.
  2. Frame your ideas as suggestions, knowing that the expert has final approval.
  3. Be conversant with current academic studies on how well-designed instruction can solve pedagogical problems.
  4. Explain the strategy behind the technology.
  5. Recognize faculty members' knowledge and experience and their importance in the online course design and development process.
  6. Use case studies of successful past projects or cases from the literature to illustrate your ideas.
  7. Employ an agreed-upon process for design and development.
  8. Demonstrate what you do and how you do it.
  9. Engage in traditional scholarship: co-present or co-author with experts.
  10. Remember that not everything needs to happen at once. Courses can be evaluated and revised.

For a roundup of tips and ideas from faculty members and instructional designers published today, click here. And for an expansive report in Inside Digital Learning on how institutions are boosting designer-faculty relationships, click here.


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