1. What is the History of the
Today, the field is fascinated with
the instructional possibilities presented by the computer as a medium of
communication and as a tool for integrating a variety of media into a single
piece of instruction. Video has replaced the educational film, and television
can be two-way and interactive.
At the turn of this century a number of technological inventions and developments
were made that provided new, and in some cases, more efficient means of communication.
In the 1920s, the motion picture passed through the stage of being a mere curiosity
to a serious medium of expression, paralleling live theater. Its usefulness
and influence on learning was explored. This educational research continued
into the 1930s, when new instructional projects such as teaching by radio were
implemented. Within 20 years both film and radio became pervasive communication
systems, providing both entertainment and information to the average citizen.
The advent of World War II created many demands for a new skilled workforce.
Media took a prominent place in educational and training systems attempting
to fill such needs, and much research centered on the use of these media in
a wide variety of teaching and learning situations. Media were among the innovations
that made possible the changes and growth in the industrial complex that were
so essential to the defense of the western world.
After the war, schools and industry alike attempted to settle back into the
old, familiar methods of operation. Within a few years, however, the increase
in the birth rate and public school enrollment forced a re-evaluation of the
older and slower approaches to education. Again, media were employed, this
time to upgrade the curriculum of the public schools.
With the late 1940s and early 1950s came considerable experimentation with
television as an instructional tool. Industry was expanding and began to develop
its own in-house educational systems. Simultaneously, a search was begun for
more efficient and effective means by which such education could be accomplished.
Concurrent with the introduction and development of the study of instructional
media, the notion of a science of instruction was evolving. The educational
psychologists provided a theoretical foundation which focused on those variables
which influenced learning and instruction. The nature of the learner and the
learning process took precedence over the nature of the delivery media.
Some of the early audiovisual professionals referred to the work of Watson,
Thorndike, Guthrie, Tolman, and Hull. But it was not until the appearance of
Skinner's (1954) work with teaching machines and programmed learning that professionals
in the field felt that they had a psychological base. Skinner's work in behavioral
psychology, popularized by Mager (1961), brought a new and apparently more
respectable rationale for the field. Lumsdaine (1964) illustrated the relationship
of behavioral psychology to the field, and Wiman and Meierhenry (1969) edited
the first major work that summarized the relationship of learning psychology
to the emerging field of instructional technology. Bruner (1966) offered new
insights that eventually led to broader participation of cognitive psychologists
like Glaser (1965) and Gagné (1985). Today, the field not only seems
convinced of the importance of the various aspects of cognitive processing
of information, but is placing new emphasis upon the role of instructional
context, and the unique perceptions and views of the individual learner.
Perhaps one of the most profound changes in instructional technology has come
in the expansion of the arenas in which it is typically practiced. From its
beginnings in elementary and secondary education, the field was later heavily
influenced by military training, adult education, post-secondary education,
and much of today's activity is in the area of private sector employee training.
Consequently, there is increased concentration on issues such as organizational
change, performance improvement, school reform, and cost benefits.
Use of the principles, products, and procedures of instructional technology,
however, continue to be vital to school effectiveness, especially in times
of school restructuring. In addition, the new technologies and new delivery
media offer expanded ways of meeting the special needs of learners and schools.
Instructional technology, and instructional design procedures in particular,
are also becoming more common in health care education, training, and non-formal
educational settings. Each of these instructional contexts highlight the diverse
needs of learners of many ages and interests, and of organizations with many
goals. The many settings also provide laboratories for experimenting with and
perfecting the use of the new technologies.
However, the disparate contexts also highlight a wide range of organizational,
cultural, and personal values and attitudes. Cultures vary among the different
communities, creating new issues and possibilities for new avenues of disciplinary
growth and development.
The historical context which has surrounded the development of the field has
implications that reach beyond the actual events themselves. This is equally
true of the development of modern technology responsible for an increasing
number of new media and new uses for existing media. Such developments have
redirected the energies of many people, causing today's society to be much
broader and richer than was ever contemplated in the early 1900s.
Prior to the twentieth century, the only formal means of widespread communication
was the printing press. The technological developments since then have provided
many different modes of expression, enabling ideas, concepts, and information
gained from experience to be conveyed in ways and with contextual richness
never before possible.
The unique means of expression that have expanded with each new medium have
added new dimensions through which creative talents can be applied. For example,
the photographic and cinematographic media have long been accepted as legitimate
avenues for creative work in the arts, and television has provided new avenues
for expanding views of society.
Still photography, motion picture photography, television, and the computer
have proved to be excellent tools for a variety of academic endeavors. Historians
consider film coverage of public events to be important primary documentation.
Psychologists now use film, computers, and interactive video to control experiences
and to collect data on a wide variety of problems in human behavior. Medical
researchers employ both color photography and color television in their studies.
In fact, it would be difficult for modern scholars to maintain a position of
leadership in their fields of investigation without the assistance from media
that present day technology makes possible. Further, the future of humanity's
understanding of the universe and the pursuit of greater self knowledge depends
upon increasingly sophisticated applications and utilizations of these technologies.
Alternative modes for teaching and learning are most important in today's educational
environment. Opportunities for self-directed learning should be provided by
institutions of higher education. Other forms of alternative teaching and learning
patterns which require increased student involvement and higher levels of learning
(application, synthesis, evaluation) also rely upon media as an invaluable
tool in the preparation of students.
Teaching and communication, though not synonymous, are related. Much of what
the teacher does involves communication. From the spoken word to the viewing
of the real world, directly or by means of some technological invention, communication
permeates instructional activities.
Media, materials, and interactive technologies, though not the exclusive ingredients
in learning, are an integral part of almost every learning experience. The
raw materials for scholarship increasingly reside in these means. The scholarly
experiences for the student can often be afforded only through these options.
The young scholar, the college student, is a deprived scholar without access
to these learning tools.
The scholar must have available all that modern technology can provide. Media,
materials, and interactive technologies have a crucial role to play in any
teacher education program if that program hopes to meet the needs of our dynamic,