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  • Research Articles
  • Open Access

21st-Century Instructional Designers: Bridging the Perceptual Gaps between Identity, Practice, Impact and Professional Development

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201512:12030072

  • Received: 15 May 2014
  • Accepted: 15 October 2014
  • Published:


The purpose of this paper is to discuss instructional designers’ current status through a brief discussion of the history of instructional design, comparison of instructional design models, and a presentation of a perspective on how instructional designers cope with their current identity and profession while seeking professional development. In this paper, we identified various reasons for addressing why professional development effort is less than ideal for instructional designers. These include a lack of priority given to professional development at an organization level, budget and funding, individual workload, and departmental visions and priorities. In order to address and overcome these factors, we recommend an instructional designer community of practice within institutions. As the landscape of education is constantly transforming, the designers’ field cannot stay static. To respond to all the changes, instructional designers not only need to strive for continuous learning but also to adopt a more collaborative practice, where they can share and exchange ideas and best practices.


  • instructional design
  • professional development
  • instructional improvement
  • instructional innovation