Establishing and Forwarding the Instructional Technology Mission
Major Developments of the 20th Century
R511: Instructional Technology Foundations
Week 13 Deliverable
10 April 2006
As proposed by Molenda (2001a), the mission of instructional technology includes the underlying values of efficiency (providing better payoff for the resources invested), effectiveness (achieving positive outcomes), access (providing educational access to more people) and humaneness (adapting instruction to learner’s needs). This report examines major developments in the 20th Century that played a role in establishing and forwarding this mission. For the purposes of this analysis, instructional technology includes both: (a) the use of instructional media (defined as “the physical means via which instruction is presented to learners” and (b) systematic instructional design ideas and procedures (Reiser, 2002, p. 28).
The major instructional media (hard technology) and design (conceptual) developments are presented within the following categories:
Education and Instruction Research,
Military Personnel Training,
Technology Innovation, and
Employee Performance Improvement Initiatives
Education and Instruction Research:
Schrock (1995, p. 12) notes that “major ideological breakthroughs occurred with the advent of scientific investigation into human and animal learning.” These education and instruction research contributions within the 20th Century are assessed within the following time periods:
Early Century: Learning and education originally occurred informally in one on one apprenticeship (Rosenberg, Coscarelli, Hutchison, 1990). Thorndike is credited as the first to apply research methods to instructional problems (Saettler, 1990). His research at Columbia University resulted in his advocacy of social engineering, the idea that instruction should pursue pre-specified, socially useful goals, as well as educational measurement a research tool and then a field “that became very important in establishing education as a science” (Schrock, 1995, p. 12). Schrock (1995) and Saettler (1990) summarize the vast research conducted through the period from researchers such as Thorndike, Montesorri, and Dewey that provided support for learning and instructional principles that are fundamental to many of today’s instructional technology processes, including: establishment of educational objectives, individualized instruction, objective analysis, sensory based learning, self-instructional materials, problem solving and reflective methods, contract learning and mastery learning.
Mid-Century: As discussed further below, the World Wars had a great impact on the field. Researchers such as Gagne, Briggs and Flanagan were instrumental in the research and development of instructional material and models used by the military (Reiser, 2002). In the post war period, educational research was impacted by:
The need to effectively and efficiently prepare the record number of students (including returning servicemen) entering college: The Eight Year Study was “designed in response to postwar pressures to revise the prevailing college preparatory high school curriculum in order to meet the needs of increasing numbers of students who in earlier years would not have gone beyond elementary school.” (Schrock, 1995, 14). This study influenced the adoption of behavioral objectives and formative evaluation that have carried through to modern instructional technology design principles.
The continuation of behavioral research: Research through the 1950s furthered the behavioral research that had been instrumental in developing effective and efficient military education and training during the World Wars (Reiser, 2002). In addition, these developments form the foundation for the Human Performance Technology movement that began later in the century (Molenda, 2001b). Examples of behaviorist influences cited by Schrock (1995) include:
the Programmed Instruction Movement by Skinner,
advances in analytical procedures and task analysis by Flanagan and Miller;
the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Bloom.
Late Century: Developments in this period include:
An explosion of research in instructional systems development: In 1962, Glaser (as cited by Schrock, 1995, p. 16) noted “breach between psychological research on learning and educational practice and the need for professional actively engaged in developing the science of instructional technology.” This breach was soon overcome during an explosion of research and development in instructional systems. The movement toward perfecting instructional design models continued from the 1960’s through the 1970’s when multiple versions of instructional system design models were identified and graduate programs specializing instructional systems technology were formed (Reiser, 2002).
A countermovement against behaviorist theories: Led by cognitive theorists such as Bruner and Chomskey, the 1980s saw a movement toward research viewed as a “countermovement” against behaviorists (Molenda, 2001b). However, Reiser (2002) reflects, “while there was growing interest in how the principles of cognitive psychology could be applied in the instructional design process . . . the actual effects of cognitive psychology on instructional design practices . . . were rather small.” By the end of the century, constructivist principles (some quite similar to the early century learning theories) gained popularity including: problem based learning, learner collaboration, learner centered instruction, and authentic learning tasks Reiser, 2002).
Military Personnel Training:
As noted in the classic quote attributed to Plato, necessity is the mother of invention. Molenda (2001c) observed that affects of the World Wars made rapid mass training “not nice to do, but must do.” The World Wars forced the military to find efficient and effective training for the large numbers of military personnel drafted into service. This led to advances in instructional media, as well as instructional theory and research. For example, Reiser (2002) cites that between 1943 and 1945, the U.S. Army Air Force produced 400 training films and 600 filmstrips resulting in over four million showings. The perceived effectiveness of utilizing such instructional media led to significant audiovisual research in the decades to follow, as addressed in more detail below.
Throughout the 20th Century, technology innovations have propelled the use of instructional media. Reiser (2002) outlines instructional media developments beginning with school museums in the early 1900’s through the Internet in the present day, including (a) the visual instructional movement, (b) the audiovisual and radio instruction movements and (c) instructional television funding.
Adoption of instructional media innovation has typically been based on the desire to provide an efficient means to deliver increased access to instruction. Examples of this include the 1965 Elementary and Secondary School Act, as well as the formation of the Ford Foundation, that both provided funding for instructional television and video research and programming (Molenda, 2001b).
Advanced in instructional media in turn affected instructional theory and processes (Molenda (2001c). Dale’s “Cone of Experience” is an example of a theoretical model borne out of this analysis. Dale (1946b) proposed the cone as “an aid” to understand sensory experiences. Experiences are classified within his cone in terms of more or less concreteness and abstractness, ranging in bands of experiences that involve (a) doing, (b) observing and (c) symbolizing (Dale, 1946b).
Employee Performance Improvement Initiatives:
Beginning in the 1970s, American businesses began to adopt instructional technology media and design models as a means of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of employee training, a focus that continued through the 1980s (Reiser, 2002). By the late 1980s and 1990s, the scope broadened. Traditional training interventions were connected with other performance improvement interventions within the Human Performance Technology movement (Molenda, 2001d). In 1995, Schrock summed up the significant impact that the corporate employee performance improvement initiatives had on the field by stating that the “cutting edge of elaboration and applications of performance technology seems to be well outside the realm of schools and even of universities (p. 18).”
20th Century developments in education and instruction research, military personnel training, technology innovation, and corporate employee performance improvement initiatives have established and forwarded the Instructional Technology mission. The underlying values of efficiency, effectiveness, access and humanness are evident as summarized in the major developments of the 20th Century:
Education and instruction research has improved the effectiveness and efficiency of instructional process, increased the access to education and helped learners reach their potential.
The instructional research and practices that were borne out of necessity for training military personnel during the world wars focused attention on the need for efficient and effective training.
Technology innovations have provided increased effectiveness, efficiency and access to education while providing instructional opportunities that support the learner’s individual needs.
Employee performance improvement initiatives have brought renewed emphasis on creating effective and efficient development opportunities within the workplace.
Dale, E. (1946a). Effective Learning. From Chapter 1 in Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching. New York: Dryden Press (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston). Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Dale, E. (1946b). The Cone of Experience. Chapter 4 in Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching. New York: Dryden Press (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston). Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Molenda, M. (2001a) Contemporary Issues in Instructional Technology. [PowerPoint Presentation] Retrieved March 13, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week11.shtml
Molenda, M. (2001b) Modern History of Instructional Systems Technology: Post WWII 1979 - 1946 [PowerPoint Presentation] Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Molenda, M. (2001c) Modern History of Instructional Systems Technology: Pre WWII 1945-1900 [PowerPoint Presentation] Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Molenda, M. (2001d) Performance Technology. [PowerPoint Presentation] Retrieved March 16, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week5.shtml
Molenda, M. (2004). Reader Comments: On the origins of the "retention chart:" An addendum to Subramony. Educational Technology, p. 64. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Reiser, R.A. (2002). A history of instructional design and technology. Chapter 3 in Reiser, R.A. and Dempsey, J.V. (ed's) Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall, pp. 26-53. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Rosenberg, M. J.; Coscarelli, W.C.; and Hutchison, C.S. (1999) The origins and evolution of the (performance technology) field. Ch. 2 in Stolovitch & Keeps (Eds) Handbook of Human Performance Technology, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Saettler, P. (1990). Beginnings of a science and technology of instruction: 1900 - 1950. Ch.3 in The Evolution of American Educational Technology (pp. 53 86). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml
Shrock, S.A. (1995). A brief history of instructional development. In G.J. Anglin (ed.) Instructional Technology: Past, Present, and Future, 2nd ed. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, pp. 11-18. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from Indiana University R511 online Syllabus http://www.indiana.edu/~istr511/hubbard-welsh/week13.shtml