The Collaborative Mapping Model: Relationship-Centered Design for Higher Education




Instructional Design Models, Collaboration, Online Learning


Instructional designers list one of their primary obstacles as collaborating with faculty (Intentional Futures, 2016).  Additionally, instructional designers experience a high degree of role misperception and struggle to advocate for clear and defined roles (Drysdale, 2018).  In order to address these challenges, I created the Collaborative Mapping Model (CMM), a model of instructional design for higher education instructional designers that puts relationship at the center of design and addresses issues of scale, quality, and empowerment.  I first identified four primary roles of instructional designers in higher education by evaluating the industry standard models of instructional design, comparing their structure and usage for relevance to the consultative role designers assume in higher education. The collaborative designer role had no associated model of design, and led to the development of the model. Development was informed by several key theories, including authentic leadership theory (Kiersch & Byrne, 2015), shared leadership theory (Bolden, 2011), and appreciative inquiry (Kadi-Hanifi et al., 2014). After several years of implementation and refinement, I developed an action research study to determine the effectiveness of the model.  I administered a mixed methods survey to a group of 50 faculty who had designed a course in partnership with an instructional designer through the CMM.  Among other results, 92% of respondents (n=37) indicated an improvement in the quality of their courses and 73% (n=37) saved time by working with an instructional designer in the CMM.  Key themes from the qualitative survey question included value and respect for the expertise of the instructional designer, a significant improvement to the online courses designed and developed through the CMM, and enthusiasm for continued collaboration with instructional designers.  This study describes the development of the model, an overview of theoretical influences and processes, and the effectiveness of the Collaborative Mapping Model of instructional design.

Keywords: instructional design, instructional design models, collaboration, faculty partnership, advocacy, leadership, course mapping, curriculum design, professional roles

Author Biography

Jason T Drysdale, University of Colorado Denver

Jason is the Director of Instructional Design and Program Development for CU Denver's Office of Digital Education. He earned his Doctor of Education degree in organizational leadership in 2018, and researches organizational structure, instructional design, leadership in higher education, online learning, and models of instructional design.


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2019 OLC Conference Special Issue