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“Teaching” Instructional Design Expertise: Strategies to Support Students’ Problem-Finding Skills
Donald A. Stepich and Peggy A. Ertmer

A common problem within professional education is the acquisition of conceptual knowledge that is essentially “inert” (Bransford, 1993, p. 174). That is, while students often graduate from educational programs with substantial conceptual knowledge, they are unable to apply that knowledge to solve the kinds of ill-structured problems they encounter in practice. Based on the premise that the purpose of professional education is to help students develop the ability to solve complex, “messy” problems, we have decomposed expert problem solving into identifiable components and have used that model to investigate problem finding among experienced instructional designers. In this article we describe the results of three related studies that examined problem finding among instructional designers. Based on the results of those studies, we then describe three strategies that professional educators can use to support the development of problem-finding expertise in their students.

Keywords: Expertise, instructional design, instructional design education, problem solving

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