Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 55–71 | Cite as

The influence of perceived constraints during needs assessment on design conjecture

  • Jill Stefaniak
  • John Baaki
  • Brent Hoard
  • Laura Stapleton


Needs assessment is a fundamental step in the instructional design process where instructional designers must determine the difference between the current state of affairs and a desired state. Throughout the needs assessment process, the instructional designer must feel comfortable making decisions and assumptions based on the information that has been provided for a project. We refer to the ability to make these decisions with limited information as design conjecture. This research aims to explore the relationship between needs assessment and design conjecture by examining the influence of perceived constraints on instructional designers’ ability to make decisions. A total of 47 instructional designers participated in a design session where they were asked to design an intervention for a given scenario while using a think-aloud protocol. We dissected the design sessions to explore how the instructional designers conjectured over needs assessment topics. The results point to recommendations for how we can align and strengthen the relationship between analysis and conjecture in an instructional design context.


Design conjecture Needs assessment Think-aloud protocols 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill Stefaniak
    • 1
  • John Baaki
    • 1
  • Brent Hoard
    • 1
  • Laura Stapleton
    • 1
  1. 1.Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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