Apr 20, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

A new survey reveals that when instructional designers are involved in the creation of online courses, student engagement increases.

The survey, published by Quality Matters and Eduventures Research, compared student interaction levels at schools that require instructional design for online course development to those that either did not require instructional designers or where it was absent.

What did they find? Those at institutions that required instructional designers had higher perceptions of student engagement.

They also found that institutions that required instructional designers experienced more consistency in the creation of online pedagogy and technology. 

Despite the benefits of instructional designers, only 31 percent of those who responded required an instructional design team for online courses.

The report states, "The data indicates that faculty members are most often required to work with instructional designers and teams in course development in the largest online enrollment programs and in … for-profit programs." 

It adds, "Private institutions are nearly as likely to require faculty work with instructional and technical experts. At the other end of the spectrum, instructional design support is either absent or optional at the majority of community college and four-year public programs, as well as at institutions with mid-sized online enrollments."

Schools and programs without instructional design support state two reasons why they don't use it: lack of financial resources and a desire to preserve faculty autonomy.

Learn more about online education. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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