Learning Design, Phronesis, Theory


My purpose in this chapter is to offer a reimagined view of theory in the field of learning design and technology (LDT). Instead of viewing theory as an external storehouse of knowledge, or a rule-like system for professionals to apply, in this framework theory is viewed as an orienting aid that supports practitioners as they refine their personal capacities for perception, discrimination, and judgment. Theory plays this orienting role as it offers insights into LDT-relevant practical knowledge, productive heuristics, points professionals towards opportunities to act, or identifies significant patterns and forms of excellence to which they can pay attention as they attempt to improve their craft. The chapter concludes with some implications for this framework for future research and practice in the field.

Original Publication Citation

McDonald, J. K. (2022). A framework for phronetic LDT theory. In Leary, H., Greenhalgh, S. P., Staudt Willet, K. B., & Cho, M-H. (Eds.), Theories to influence the future of learning design and technology. Ed Tech Books. Retrieved from

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Ed Tech Books




David O. McKay School of Education


Instructional Psychology and Technology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor