I am pursuing a PhD in Instructional Technology, not because I am passionate about the subject, but because I want to be a rare expert who is able to make novel and enduring intellectual contributions to the world.
I didn’t select the field of Instructional Technology because I was good at it. On the contrary, I chose it because I was bad at it. A lot of us are. The field is constantly adapting to the newest technological advances and the education & training world is struggling keep up. I chose this field because I believe I can make a difference as an expert.
Findings which were once only published in academic journals, are now published on public wikis of 9th grade science classrooms. Every educator with a blog is sharing his or her ideas, successes, and failures with the world by the simplest means available. This is great to see the increase in participation in the field. However, most of these eager contributors are only casual participants; they post their findings and fade into the peripheral—back to the other demands of life. Most do not have the time to perform a comprehensive survey of the body of research. They do a tremendous service, but it’s not enough. This field also requires professionals—experts, who understand and are familiar with common failures, to stand at the center of the research and dig deeper, take chances, and drive the field where casual participants are unable to.
My current plan is not to become a professor. I aim to perform my PhD research on behalf of a large organization (and hopefully a future employer). I’d like to advance the field of study by developing business relationships that will allow me the resources to test out new hypotheses. For example, I’m interested in reaching out to the HR/Training departments of Adobe, Microsoft, and Univison, to name a few. A few areas I’d like to focus on include: cultural competency and globalization/localization, affective shepherding/motivation/trust-building, and streamlining business processes by more effective utilization of technology.