The book, “Handbook of Research in Educational Communications and Technology: Learning Design,” is in its fifth update. Revising it is a project that took four years to complete, but is critical as areas for research change as time goes along. Books such as these are published in most fields of scholarship. According to Boling, they pull together the state of knowledge in a field and outline areas for future research and are widely used in doctoral programs as readings that makes doctoral students and faculty scholars aware of the critical areas for research.
“The handbook represents what a field has accomplished in research and what should be priorities for the future. To be an editor on a handbook of research means to help define what is important in a field of study for the several years following its publication,” Boling added.
For this type of handbook, the hope is that researchers will reference it for what has been learned or established through research in the field. Boling says she also hopes practitioners find a reason to turn to this particular handbook, unlike any previous editions, because these descriptive chapters add to their store of knowledge regarding how their peers are grappling with real world problems and making design decisions. When it came time for revisions, Boling and her three co-editors decided it was time to refocus the book, rather than simply update it.
“Because this would be a major change, we assembled an advisory panel from across the field, including international scholars, to give us input on the new direction. We determined that, in addition to revising the topics and structure of the research chapters, we would include a section of design cases – concrete descriptions of instructional designs from multiple contexts ‘to guide future research and practice in the ways emerging technologies can be used to solve educational problems,’ ” she added.