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Instructional Designers and Software Architects. Are Instructional Designers Software Architects in Disguise? Michael Lang. Software Architect Software Designer System Architect System Designer Project Manager. Instructional Designer Instructional Technologist Learning Specialist

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Instructional designers and software architects

Instructional Designers and Software Architects

Are Instructional Designers Software Architects in Disguise?

Michael Lang

What are they called again

Software Architect

Software Designer

System Architect

System Designer

Project Manager

Instructional Designer

Instructional Technologist

Learning Specialist

Curriculum Developer

Project Manager

What are they called, again?

Roles and responsibilities

Software Architect

identifying requirements/needs

drafting deliverable specifications

designing the system’s layout/blueprint and development approach

verifying the specification

reporting the verification results

reporting the results of feasibility studies

Instructional Designer

working with a client

working with a subject matter expert (SME)

analysis of client needs, tools available, and end users

envisioning, developing, and creating the solution’s design

evaluation and verification of the design

working with other members in a team to bring about the design

Roles and Responsibilities

Instructional designers vs software architects
Instructional Designers vs.Software Architects

Instructional Designers

  • “With a good understanding of the client’s needs and the content, an instructional designer will develop a blueprint to be executed by other team members, such as programmers, artists, and video/audio specialists” (Liu et al, 2002).

    Software Architects

  • “Architects are seen as people who spend the lion’s share of their time up front: listening to clients, understanding the totality of their needs and resources, scrutinizing feasibility, forming a practical vision of a structure, and creating a blueprint” (Wiley, 2003, p. 72).

Addie vs waterfall







ADDIE vs. Waterfall


  • Requirements Analysis

  • System Design

  • Implementation

  • System Testing

  • Operation and Maintenance

Boehm spiral model a shared generic model
Boehm Spiral Model – a Shared Generic Model

Rapid application development
Rapid Application Development

  • In RAD, a prototype of the product is quickly created, tested for usability, and then revised.

  • Traditional design models invest a great deal of time on analysis and design prior to any product prototyping

Rapid application development vs instructional system design
Rapid Application Development vs. Instructional System Design

Rad can it work in idt
RAD: Can it work in IDT?

  • 2003 study by Lohr, Javeri, Mahoney, Gall, Li, and Strongin examined the use of Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodologies in an Instructional Setting.

  • Because RAD is just that, rapid, it brings with it a set of dynamics that most academic settings do not usually confront.

  • The lead designer for this study had previously been through RAD processes numerous times, albeit in corporate settings.

Rad can it work in idt1
RAD: Can it work in IDT?

  • The researchers in this study were initially reticent about its usefulness in an academic setting.

  • This study showed that RAD can be applied to an academic arena quite effectively!

Software development
Software Development

  • Not mature, but neither is Instructional Design

  • Fully aware of issues surrounding:

    • software development

    • software usability

    • systems architecting

    • social behaviorism as it applies to designing and developing software

  • Full time effort focused on these issues

Suggestions for instructional designers
Suggestions for Instructional Designers

  • Less focus on modeling design/development effort

  • Reduce isolation of the field’s studies:

    • Take advantage of current computer science research

    • Participate in large bodies such as IEEE that currently have potential to shape our field

  • Focus on instructional designs and learning theories; areas we excel at

Are we software architects in disguise
Are We Software Architects in Disguise?

If building architects can specialize into various areas (commercial, residential, steel, concrete, lumber, etc.), then…

Why can’t instructional designers be a highly specialized area of software architects?