Doctor of Education in Instructional Technology
Dr. Mark Taormino
Chief Learning Officer and Adjunct Faculty Member
Dr. Mark Taormino earned his doctorate in instructional technology from Nova Southeastern University in 2011. His research focused on distance learning and the use of electronic reading devices in both higher education and corporate training. He currently serves as the Chief Learning Officer at Learning Development Partners, Inc., a consulting company focused on education and training program design. In addition, Taormino works as an adjunct faculty member for New York University Online.
What drew you to education technology as an area of study?
Instructional technology is a blend of information systems and educational theory. I pursued a doctorate in instructional technology and distance education to further my knowledge of education and technology. I was teaching in higher education with a master’s degree and had little knowledge of how to teach at a distance. This drove me to my ultimate educational pursuit — the doctorate.
After starting the program, what did you enjoy and dislike about it?
I enjoyed learning more about principles of distance education and the integration of technology to support learning. Learning at a distance is markedly different than learning face to face.
What type of course work was required for this degree?
Students should expect to complete courses in learning theory, instructional design, technology tools, multimedia development, psychology, and leadership.
What skills from your educational experience do you find are most valuable?
Every course in a program has value. The cornerstone of instructional technology is understanding the principles of learning. Also, the dissertation process teaches one how to think critically and without bias in the pursuit of answers to research questions. One can learn the tools of the trade easily, but it’s a red herring. One can use a scalpel, but that does not make them a physician. Many people think they can “shortcut” formal preparation and just learn an e-learning software’s tools. One quickly learns during the study of instructional technology that knowledge in many disciplines makes one a genuine professional.
Organizations also value depth of expertise to solve challenging learning issues. I often work with organizations frustrated with e-learning results because they were led by someone limited to knowledge of a software tool.
What advice would you give to others who are interested in studying instructional technology?
I would advise them first to follow their passion. If it’s learning and technology, instructional technology is a growing field within education. Opportunities exist not only in formal education organizations, but also in corporate and government. They key is to complete the program of study to demonstrate ones commitment and gain entry to the field.
There are many programs out there, but make sure to attend one accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies. Students selecting a program should understand caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. There are vast differences across programs. Take the time to understand your needs, goals, and how the program can be a launch pad to your career.