Much of the recent instructional design (ID) practice research can be parsed into three key categories: ID professionals, ID preparation, and the isolated differences between novice and expert designers (Sugar, 2014). However, not one of these three categories examines the transition experience of ID practitioners from their preparation to practice in the world of business. The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain further understanding of the practical lived experiences of five instructional designers in their first years in the business world as they negotiated different sets of expectations placed upon them. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyze interview and artifact data, collected over two years. Woven together, these data tell the collective narrative of the participants' transition story. The findings of this study resulted in eight themes and several subthemes. The most salient finding was the discovery of the ID practitioner transformation framework, which comprises the first seven findings. This framework revealed that these participants' transition was not finite. In fact, they experienced a pattern of continuous personal and organizational growth long after their initial transition into the workplace. In addition to these findings, this study offers transition-related recommendations to multiple stakeholders, including prospective IDs, ID graduate programs, and businesses that hire IDs. Future research could expound on these findings by expanding participant criteria, examining the phenomenon of ID transition from the perspectives of others, and validating the newly discovered ID practitioner transformation framework using a larger sample size.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





instructional design, phenomenology, job role, transition, transformation, practice



Included in

Education Commons