Thursday, September 12, 2013

Are You an Educator or a Trainer?

While considering the theories, models, and frameworks surrounding Instructional Technology, I struggled with how corporate-focused most resources on the subject seem to be. Perhaps, this is why the majority of instructional technology jobs are in the corporate sector and in the military. These tend to focus on training and human performance. As a humanistic educator with experience in the liberal arts, I have often asked myself why I have such an interest in a field that seems so far removed from my own educational philosophy.

These questions came up again on Tuesday during a webinar I was moderating for work. Dr. Bruce Jackson, who was presenting the webinar, provided some final thoughts. One of them was perhaps the best comparison and contrast of pedagogy and andragogy I have seen. I'm not sure where he gleaned these definitions, or if he came up with them himself, but they were:

"Pedagogy: Instructional methods of teaching. Everybody learning the same thing and in the same way.
Andragogy: Everybody learning what s/he needs to learn and in his or her own way"(Jackson, 2013). 

I found myself asking how this idea of andragogy fits with the instructional technology frameworks I've been learning about, such as the Dick and Carey Model that is systems-based (Dick, Carey, & Carey, 2009). They seem to be more applicable to this definition of pedagogy. What's a designer to do if the instructional goal varies among students? What if the instructional goal is to help students become self-actualized? How do you write performance objectives for that? Morrison, Ross, and Kemp (2007) contrasted education and training without ever revealing how instructional technology fits into each. However, they also wrote, "Instructional design starts by first identifying the performance problem and never assumes that instruction is the answer to all problems." Perhaps, that explains why I have a much easier time using the various frameworks with a class on Ayurvedic pulse assessment, but a harder time applying it to a philosophy class. 

Some of the literature seems to suggest one needs to be a behaviorist, cognitivist, or constructionist to be an instructional technologist. Other literature suggest the theories, models, and frameworks of instructional technology can be applied to any course by anyone. I want to believe the latter of the two. I am still struggling with what that looks like. Hopefully, by the time I get through my program of studies, I will have a better grasp of it. Of course, I welcome thoughts, comments, and feedback on the topic from others.


Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2009). Introduction to instructional design. The systematic design of instruction (7th ed.) (pp. 1-13). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Jackson, B. H. (2013). Finding your flow: A personal leadership model for any meaningful life arena. (PowerPoint). The Institute of Applied Human Excellence. 

Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., & Kemp, J. E. (2007). Introduction to the instructional design process. Designing effective instruction. (5th ed.) (pp. xviii-26). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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