Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 619

Trends and Issues in Instructional Design

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Group Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: MDDE 604 or equivalent.

Availability: Normally, Fall Term Only

Note: MEd program students must complete Mdde601 & Mdde602 prior to all other courses
Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


MDDE 619 Trends and Issues in Instructional Design examines recent developments relating to the professional practice of instructional design (ID). Beginning with a historical overview of the field, its practices and its models, we will examine published ID competencies and reflect on how they match current ID job descriptions. Consultations with practicing instructional designers for multiple perspectives on these questions are included. A consideration of the role of instructional designer as change agent in educational contexts leads us to also explore the connection of ID to allied professions in instructional technology and educational development. The course is grounded in the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and we examine the application of UDL to design in the distance education context. The course concludes with a discussion about the future of instructional design.

Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Synthesize a variety of instructional design theories and frameworks
  2. Differentiate common criticisms and controversy related to the use of established and alternative instructional design models
  3. Evaluate appropriate instructional frameworks for particular instructional design contexts
  4. Apply Universal Design for Learning principles in the evaluation of supportive learning environments in distance education applications
  5. Design a personal instructional design philosophy statement that establishes professional, ethical approaches in a distance education context
  6. Critically analyze future trends in instructional design

Course Outline

The course consists of four units:

  • Unit 1: Foundations: Definitions and History of Instructional Design, Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning
  • Unit 2: The Professional Practice of Instructional Design
  • Unit 3: Instructional Design Models and Approaches – Multiple Viewpoints
  • Unit 4: The Future of Instructional Design

Learning Resources


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Reiser, R. A. & Dempsey, J. V. (2018). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. Pearson Education.

Other Resources

Online Study Guide, readings and web-based resources

Student Assessment

Your final course mark will be based on three assignments and course participation.

Activity Credit Weight
Assignment 1: Write a short paper describing how an instructional design job advertisement, written position description, or reported daily requirements of a practicing instructional designer compares with published instructional design competencies. Conclude the paper with a revised position description. 20%
Assignment 2 : Write a short paper discussing the application of Universal Design for Learning principles and other accessibility issues associated with the design and delivery of distance learning materials. Assess an Athabasca University course or program (or other course with which you are familiar) to illustrate the application of these principles. 20%
In Assignment 3: Create a Learning Journal that critically reflects on each unit in the course, responds to the changing perspectives about the field and evaluates appropriate instructional design models for your particular context. Design a personal ID philosophy statement that articulates your personal professional and ethical approaches in a distance education context. 40%
Course Participation: Active engagement in discussions and forums 20%
Total 100%

Note: details of assignments are posted online in the course.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.