Pearl Chen


This paper focuses on preparing effective instructional design and technology professionals through field experiences. A graduate-level internship seminar combining academic learning and onsite experience of working as an instructional technologist was analyzed through the lens of situated learning theory. Using a convergent mixed-methods analysis, this study examined the nature of learning that takes place in authentic practice and how learning is shaped by immersing in real-world instructional technology settings. The findings of this study suggest that legitimate participation in lived practice is conducive to active learning and engagement; moving from peripheral to central poses a special challenge for students in their role as an intern; apprentice-like learning situations may not be productive without requisite modeling and coaching; and learning from complex enculturating environments requires a good balance between experiential and reflective learning. Finally, the negative aspects of learning in a community of practice are discussed along with suggestions for future research.