Research comparing ID models with what instructional designers actually do for their jobs. The authors conclude that ID isn’t so much about following a rigid process, but about solving complex problems and making nuanced decisions.
Results showed that, while instructional designers apparently do make use of process-based ID models, they do not spend the majority of their time working with them nor do they follow them in a rigid fashion. They also engage in a wide variety of other tasks that are not reflected in ID models.
Rowland (1992) reported his results to be congruent with the research on expertise and indicated that expert instructional designers clearly employ a definable problem solving and decision-making process. He suggested that ID tools, unlike procedural design models, should foster a deep understanding of the system of concern and should include such characteristics as flexibility of structures and processes, a workspace for construction of problem representation, and mechanisms for making multiple links between problems and solutions. Rowland suggested that, rather than to be taught procedures or even problem-solving heuristics, novices need to develop experience in the design process and that a case-based method of teaching, providing involvement with real or realistic situations, might be the most appropriate way for new instructional designers to learn the design process.
Design is always about making judgments about design situations that are complex, rich and replete with tensions and contradictions.