Title

Empathy in Distance Learning Design Practice

Keywords

Distance learning, Empathy, Learner analysis, Practice, Stakeholders, Instructional design

Abstract

The notion of designer empathy has become a cornerstone of design philosophy in fields such as product design, human-computer interaction, and service design. But the literature on instructional designer empathy and learner analysis suggests that distance learning designers are generally quite removed from the learners with whom they could be empathizing. We describe a qualitative study conducted with practicing distance learning designers across the United States. We selected designers in varying sectors within the workforce, and interviewed our participants via videoconferencing. Our inquiry uncovered important tensions designers live with regarding empathy in practice. Designers struggle to know how much learner analysis is sufficient, which of many stakeholders to empathize with, and navigating constraints. Future work in this area could help designers practice more empathically and, in doing so, improve the learning environments they create for learners.

Original Publication Citation

Matthews, M. T., Williams, G. S., Yanchar, S. C., & McDonald J. K. (2017). Empathy in distance learning design practice. TechTrends, 61(5), 486–493. doi:10.1007/s11528-017-0212-2

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2017-07-11

Permanent URL

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/3927

Publisher

TechTrends

Language

English

College

David O. McKay School of Education

Department

Instructional Psychology and Technology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor