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Inscribing Ethics and Values in Designs for Learning: A Problematic


Educational Technology Research and Development Volume 64, Number 5, ISSN 1042-1629


The exponential growth in technological capability has resulted in increased interest on the short- and long-term effects of designed artifacts, leading to a focus in many design fields on the ethics and values that are inscribed in the designs we create. While ethical awareness is a key concern in many engineering, technology, and design disciplines--even an accreditation requirement in many fields--instructional design and technology (IDT) has not historically focused their view of practice on ethics, instead relying on a more scientistic view of practice which artificially limits the designer's interaction with the surrounding society through the artifacts and experiences they design. In this paper, we argue for a heightened view of designer responsibility and design process in an ethical framing, drawing on methods and theoretical frameworks of ethical responsibility from the broader design community. We then demonstrate the frequency of ethical concerns that emerge in a content analysis of design cases that document authentic instructional design practice. We conclude with two paths forward to improve instructional design education and research regarding the nature of practice, advocating for increased documentation of design precedent to generatively complicate our notions of the design process, and for the creation and use of critical designs to foreground ethical and value-related concerns in IDT research and practice.


Gray, C.M. & Boling, E. (2016). Inscribing Ethics and Values in Designs for Learning: A Problematic. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(5), 969-1001. Retrieved October 18, 2019 from .

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