Reviewing and reflecting on the field of Instructional Design and Technology

Please note: This blog post is a course related assessment for the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology program at Royal Roads University.

Reiser’s (2001) articles A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part I: A History of Instructional Media and A History of Instructional and Design and Technology: Part II: A History of Instructional Design discussed the history of instructional design and instructional technology in the United States of America. Like other readings from this course, I enjoyed these articles, as it allowed for more insight into this ever-changing field. The biggest surprise from the readings was uncovering the importance of instructional media during the second world war and the impact that it had on quickly training American soldiers. After reviewing Reiser’s articles, it became evident that his work from 2001 is still relevant today. The industry of instructional media and technology continues to evolve, but with each evolution, we can learn lessons from the past approaches used.

A lesson from the past that I can apply to my current work

Although the three articles directly spoke to my full-time role as a learning technologies specialist at Durham College, the lesson that impacted me the most applies to my position as a part-time professor. Reiser (2001, p. 55) states “(a) teachers should be viewed on an equal footing with instructional media–as just one of many possible means of presenting instruction; and (b) teachers should not be given sole authority for deciding what instructional media will be employed in classrooms”. From my recent post-secondary experiences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Royal Roads University, learners are provided specific readings as part of the learning plan. The learner is also encouraged to find additional instructional media and take ownership of the learning experience by using other instructional media. Reiser (2001, p. 63) backs this logic when discussing the instructional principles that relate to constructivism, with one principle being for the learner to take ownership of their learning, rather than only following specific instructions. Going forward, I will discuss this approach with the students in my class each semester, to ensure they understand their crucial role in the learning process.

A lesson that conflicts with something that I do in my day-to-day work

A significant portion of my role as a learning technologies specialist is assisting faculty with the use of our learning management system (LMS). Weller (2018) briefly discusses the impact that LMS’s had on the field of education. Weller was reluctant to bring up the positive aspects an LMS can provide and merely mentioned tools that were mediocre and cited Groom and Lamb’s (2014) work, outlining how an LMS removes a faculty members ability to be innovative. After reviewing and reflecting upon what Weller (2018) and, Groom and Lamb (2014) stated in their articles, I had a very different perspective. I believe a Learning Management System does provide the opportunity to be innovative and can provide a positive learning experience for each learner. Through observation, it is usually a lack of knowledge on the capabilities of the LMS, digital competencies and available time that create an exnovation environment. If appropriate time was allocated for training, design, and development for courses within a Learning Management System, I believe we could see exemplary uses of the tools available in a learning management system. For example, in the Desire2Learn platform, intelligent agents can be programmed to perform specific actions after specific criteria occur, or release conditions can be applied to course material to only happen after particular requirements are met.

Final thoughts

Santayana (1905) stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Unit 1 of the Foundations of Learning and Technologies course has reminded me the importance of reviewing the histories of a subject, to see what has allowed us to be where we are today and to ensure our decision making is made with past research findings in mind.


Groom, J., & Lamb, B. (2014). Reclaiming Innovation. Retrieved from

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53-64.

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part II: A history of instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(2), 57-67.

Santayana, G. (1905), The Life of Reason, Vol. 1, Scribner’s, New York, NY.

Weller, M. (2018). Twenty years of EdTech. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from

0 thoughts on “Reviewing and reflecting on the field of Instructional Design and Technology

  • Hi Brandon, You bring up such an excellent point about the lack of understanding of all of the things an LMS is capable of doing. I feel like my LMS allows me a lot of freedom in designing and creating a course outside of the standard that is offered. It is very much a lack of training and knowledge on the users part. I am aware my LMS can do so much more than I use it for, and that I only know a few things. Someone with your depth of knowledge would be capable of being very innovative with your use. With budgets being tighter than ever, I am curious what you would suggest for a training model that would allow for the general user to have a better understanding? – Tanya

    • Brandon Carson says:

      Hello Tanya,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I would like to see just-in-time training modules created in the Learning Management System, for faculty to access. The modules would contain video demonstration, and text with images to show the step-by-step instructions for completing the task and the benefits of using the specific LMS tool. Do you think you would use this type of module in our LMS?

  • Great thoughts Brandon,

    I agree with your sentiments regarding LMSs and I would even suggest that not only do LMSs provide innovative opportunities for teaching and learning themselves, but with the add-ons and building blocks available, they have the potential to provide a central platform for many types of innovative tools and services. We have just moved to Brightspace and with that move is a strategy to focus, where possible, our adoptions of other new tools/technologies on what integrates with Brightspace.

    • Brandon Carson says:

      Jessica, if you would ever like to speak in more detail about using D2L, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It is a powerful LMS, and I enjoy talking about its capabilities.

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