Resisting Technological Gravity: Using Guiding Principles for Instructional Design
Instructional designers face tremendous pressure to abandon the essential characteristics of educational approaches, and settle instead for routine practices that do not preserve the level of quality those approaches originally expressed. Because this pressure can be strong enough to affect designers almost as gravity affects objects in the physical world, the metaphor of "technological gravity" has been proposed to describe why designers choose one type of practice over another. In this article, the author discusses how designers can develop guiding principles to help them resist technological gravity. He describes three types of principles, in the areas of "what instruction is," "how instruction is made," and "what instruction is for." By developing strong principles in these three areas, designers will be better able to resist the influences that pull them away from high levels of instructional quality, and so better create instructional experiences that are meaningful, inspirational, and valuable.