Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Instructional Design & Technology

Committee Director

John Baaki

Committee Member

Jill Stefaniak

Committee Member

Angela Eckhoff


Based on a phenomenological theoretical perspective, the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how instructional designers make decisions related to determining which layers and related instructional design activities to address based on time and tool resource constraints. To explore the topic, this study was guided by five research questions which included: (a) what type of time and tool constraints do instructional design practitioners experience, (b) how do instructional design practitioners make decisions based on time constraints when completing work projects, (c) how do instructional design practitioners make decisions based on tool constraints when completing work projects, (d) how do instructional design practitioners determine which layers or questions to address given project constraints such as time and tool limitations, and (e) what steps do instructional design practitioners omit during work projects that have time and or/tool constraints?

The study included 20 instructional designers (n=20) that work in various industries including higher education institutions, consulting, tourism, charity/nonprofit, health care, government, and retail. There were a total 14 female participants and 6 male participants. Upon the completion of 20 interviews and analysis of interview notes, six themes and three patterns emerged. The findings from this study show that in response to the constraint of limited time to design, develop, and implement instructional interventions, instructional designers modify instructional design processes that are based on traditional instructional design models. The findings suggested that when faced with tool constraints, instructional designers found ways to “figure it out” and worked within the constraints of the tools. The findings also highlighted that instructional designers reference prior knowledge and similar past projects in order to make decisions throughout the design process.


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