CEC Theses and Dissertations

Campus Access Only

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Martha Snyder

Committee Member

Laurie P Dringus

Committee Member

Ling Wang


The instructional design theory-practice gap is a recognized problem within the research literature. Emphasis on studies that aim to identify how instructional design theories and models are applied in everyday practice has shed light on the need for further investigation into instructional designers' decision-making processes. In particular, given the pervasiveness of computing technology in education, it is important to understand what role technology plays in the design of instruction in higher education settings.

The goal of this research was to explore the theory-practice gap in instructional design decision-making within the context of designing technology-enhanced instruction in higher education and determine what can be learned from other design disciplines that will inform the development and refinement of instructional design theories and models.

In this qualitative research study, the researcher collected and analyzed data from a web-based questionnaire and follow-up phenomenological interviews. Data analysis employed the use of both content analysis of the questionnaire responses and interpretative phenomenological analysis of the interview transcripts.

Findings indicate that instructional designers' decision-making processes are influenced by several factors during the design process. Designers view the roles differently, depending on their position within the design process. Furthermore, concepts of design decision-making which have been contributed to architectural design can be applied to how instructional designers practice. Finally, while technology is an integral part of online course design, its perceived role is dependent on the position of the designer within the designer process.

The results build on previous research in the area of instructional design, and add to the body of knowledge about how designers think when making design decisions, as well as, and the role which technology plays in these decisions. Themes uncovered in this study identified specific areas for further study which will help researchers and practitioners connect existing instructional design theories and models to current practices.

To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid nova.edu OR mynsu.nova.edu email address and create an account for NSUWorks.

  Contact Author