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Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology

8 March, 2016

In education, instructional technology is “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning,” according to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Definitions and Terminology Committee.

Instructional technology is frequently referred to as a part of educational technology but the usage of these terms has changed over the years.

Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. Labels do matter! While instructional technology covers the processes and systems of learning and instruction, educational technology comprises other systems used in the process of developing human capability.

Its first use cannot be credited to a specific person or time. Many histories of instructional technology start in the early 20th century, while some go back to the 17th century. This depends on how instructional technology is defined. Definitions that focus on a systems approach tend to reach further back in history, while those definitions focused on sensory devices are more recent.

The use of audio and visual instruction was boosted as a military response to the problems of a labor shortage during World War II in the United States. There was a definitive need to fill the factories with skilled labor. It offers a methodology for training in a systematic and efficient manner.

With it comes the use of highly structured manuals, instructional films, and standardized tests. Thomas Edison saw its first value in films but did not formalize the science of instruction as the US military did so well.

Current status
Instructional technology is a developing field of study which uses technology as a means to solve educational challenges, both in the classroom and in distance learning environments. Moore (1989) claims that there are three types of learner interaction (learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner interactions). In the years since Moore’s article, several philosophical views have surfaced that relate it to these types of interaction.

Most traditional researchers (those subscribing to Cognitivism) claim that learner-content interaction is perhaps the most important endeavor of Instructional technology. Some researchers (those subscribing to constructivism) argue that Moore’s social interactions, (learner-instructor and learner-learner interactions), are as beneficial as learner-content interaction.

Razavi (2005) supports the idea that educational technology covers instructional technology. It involves instructional technology and the field study in human teaching and learning. So, educational technology is wider than instructional technology and itself comprises of two major parts: one is teaching technology and the other is learning technology. In the education industry, the term “instructional technology” is frequently used interchangeably with “educational technology.”

Human Performance Technology (HPT) has a focus on corporate environments. Learning sciences is a growing area of focus dealing with instructional techniques and learning theories.