Graduate education in instructional systems: A review of selected programs

Mark I. Patridge, Robert D Tennyson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


While demographic characteristics vary among programs, competencies and content emphasized in graduate study in instructional systems are common to a number of programs. For example, the master's degree is intended to prepare students for employment as instructional developers in business and industry. There is a noticeable lack of emphasis on preparation for employment in public or private elementary or secondary school settings, which is uncharacteristic of the typical master's degree program in education. Doctoral programs in instructional systems exhibit more variability in the areas of content, competencies, and the emphasis of competencies in an ideal program than do master's degree programs. Each program, along with an individual emphasis in a particular component of instructional systems, stresses research methodology. Thus, the faculties within the various programs and their respective graduates can pursue knowledge in instructional systems on a range of concerns. The most significant characteristic of the instructional systems programs surveyed is the nature of the curriculum and course offerings. Instructional development courses overwhelmingly outnumber all other courses, with secondary areas of emphasis being instructional psychology, visual technology, management, and research. The emphasis placed on content and competencies other than media is an indication of the present direction of instructional systems. Although many of the programs evolved from an earlier audiovisual orientation, present programs now represent a concern with process rather than product and show a healthy diversity of content emphases within instructional systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Instructional Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978

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