Educational theory

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One may differentiate between education and instruction (pedagogy). The latter is related to art, craft or science of teaching. The former is more global, i.e. is interested by the whole process within which learning happens.

See also: pedagogical theory (aliased from instructional theory

The role of educational theory in educational technology

Also see the discussion in the educational technology article.


In the mid-sixties that also gave birth to computer-based training, behavirorist instructivist approaches to learning design became popular.

Cognitivism and constructivism became the dominant learning theory paradigms in the eighties and in turn influenced instructional theories. Firstly, behaviorist instructional design models incorporated lessons from human information processing research, second some constructivists started promoting discovery learning designs.

More recently, either Situated Learning or socio-constructivist designs incorporating became dominant in educational technology research communities. Cognitivist/constructivist learning theory combined with strong guided instruction remains the dominant paradigm in the instructional design community.


  • Issroff, K. & Scanlon, Eileen (2002), Educational Technology: The Influence of Theory, Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2002 (6). [1]
  • Stahl, G. (2003) Building Collaborative Knowing: Elements Of A Social Theory Of CSCL, In J.W. Strijbos, P.Kirschner & R. Martins (ed.), What we know about CSCL in higher education, Amsterdam: Kluwer.