Doctoral Dissertations

Orcid ID

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Instructional Technology and Educational Studies

Major Professor

Craig D. Howard

Committee Members

Craig D. Howard, Lisa C. Yamagata-Lynch, Harriet W. Bowden, Jean Derco


The design discourse of professional instructional designers (IDs) exposes the inner workings of instructional design because collaboration is integral to instructional design practice. Despite the importance of collaboration, there has been little examination of the collaboration in Instructional Design and Technology (IDT). To examine IDs’ collaboration, I examined the design discourse of IDs in design meetings with clients through a content analysis of their discourse. Analysis revealed areas of design expertise that frequented those discussions. I collected audio recordings of five discussions between one or more IDs and a client. Overall, six IDs and five clients participated in this study. A codebook of 16 codes provided ten codes of design discourse that appeared in the data and six subsequent codes that emerged as discourse management strategies.

Among IDs, the most prominent type of design discourse was problem solving. When aggregating design discourse types, discussions surrounding problems, users, and tools were the three most frequent types and accounted for almost three-fourths of the design discourse of these designers in these discussions. Further analysis of the design discourse types revealed that precedent and user experience were the most complex areas of design discourse, suggesting that expressing precedent and user experience are advanced design skills. An analysis by gender revealed that male and female IDs focused on different areas of design discourse in practice. Female IDs focused on user experience and problem solving while male IDs concentrated on problem solving and tools. These findings have implications for how learners in IDT are trained, how design expertise is recognized, and how the design process is understood.

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