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Reported challenges for socio‐cultural curricula in instructional design

Wanjira Kinuthia (Learning Technologies, MSIT Department, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Article publication date: 8 June 2012




The purpose of this paper is to examine the perceived challenges of attempting to integrate topics related to social and cultural issues into the coursework in graduate programs in Instructional Design and Technology (IDT).


An open‐ended online survey instrument was developed for this study for three reasons. First, the study aimed at investigating what is actually happening in IDT programs in terms of integration of social and cultural issues into coursework. Using an online questionnaire, data were collected from IDT instructors and instructional designers.


Findings of the study indicated that while there is a general agreement and interest in infusing content that addresses socio‐cultural perspectives challenges into courses, the challenges include the existence of a common framework for defining and prioritizing socio‐cultural issues, and difficulties in identifying the most important issues to address, and appropriate instructional approaches to address sensitive topics.

Research limitations/implications

There were some limitations to this study. First, the data were collected primarily through a survey instrument as indicated above. Nonetheless, the qualitative data collected were rich and informative. Second, as noted earlier, a majority of the participants indicated they are based in the USA. Thus, study findings may be more specific to IDT programs in this context. Third, participation in the study was voluntary, hence demographics were not controlled for. However, this opened up opportunities for attaining multiple perspectives from the participants.

Practical implications

A recommendation that this study brings out is that while it is impossible practically to address all potential topics, a starting point may be to identify and address the most pertinent topics, such as those which may cause misunderstanding or reinforce the wrong ideas.

Social implications

While instructional designers and instructors cannot be expected to be cultural experts in every single context or topic, there are certain content issues, such as authentic activities and design strategies that would warrant further attention. Of course this will vary by content and context and instructors and instructional designers should at least be prepared to recognize these unique issues.


The paper highlights some issues worth discussing: the complexity of directly incorporating socio‐cultural issues into IDT curricula; the broad elusive nature of the knowledge of socio‐cultural issues; and the difficulty in defining socio‐cultural content, including what to teach and how to teach it. These three issues address the role of coursework in professional preparation, and the structure of instructional design courses and curricula.



Kinuthia, W. (2012), "Reported challenges for socio‐cultural curricula in instructional design", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 87-99.



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