Essential reading in educational technology

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The list of essential reading in and around educational technology

This is a first attempt to create an essential reading list on educational technology (EdTech, EduTech) and related fields. I sort of want to keep this relatively small. This list was mainly made in 2006-2007 and may need some updating. However fundamental principle do not change much over a decade ... Daniel K. Schneider (talk) 19:01, 14 July 2016 (CEST).

See also news links (keep in touch)

Research handbooks

  • Jonassen David H. (ed.) (2003), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, 2nd edition, London, Routledge.
  • Spector, J. Micheal M.; David Merrill, Jeroen Van Merrienboer, and Marcy P. Driscoll (2007). Handbook of Research For Educational Communications and Technology, 3rd edition. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Spector J. Michael, M. David Merrill, Jan Elen & M. J. Bishop (eds.) (2013) Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, Springer, ISBN 1461431840
    • These are excellent readers written by top experts in the field. However, DSchneider does not recommend buying them. Become a member of AECT and get free access to the on-line versions of the four editions + 2 free journals.
  • Mayer, Richard, E. (ed.) (2005). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521547512
    • The reference on multi-media learning. As a simpler alternative for practitioners, consider Clark and Meyer (2003, 2011), below.
  • Reigeluth (ed.) (1999). Instructional-Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory, Vol. 2 (Instructional Design Theories & Models), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0805828591
    • This is also one of the most cited readers with well written articles by top experts in the field.
    • A third edition is under preparation
  • Sawyer, Keith (ed.) (2006), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521607773
    • The main purpose of this handbook on the emerging field of learning sciences (that include cognitive science, educational psychology, educational technology, computer science, anthropology, sociology, neuroscience, ...) is to show how learning sciences could help to design more effective learning environments. This reader can be considered as a good handbook for constructivist educational technology.
  • Edyburn, Dave, Kyle Higgins, and Randy Boone (2005). Handbook of Special Education Technology Research and Practice, Knowledge Design. ISBN 0-9708429-6-1.
    • I can't vouch for this book since I didn't see it. Since there is a lot of interest for technology in special education I included it.

Textbooks for educational technology students and practitioners

"Textbook" is used in a broad sense here (see textbook genres and examples).


Related entry: Educational technology

  • Reiser, Robert A. and John V. Dempsey (eds). (2006). Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology, 2nd edition. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131708058
    • This book defines and describes in short chapters the converging fields of instructional design, educational / instructional technology, learning theory and performance technology. In particular section 2 with articles by Driscoll, Jonassen, Hannafin, Merril, Merriënboer is worth buying it.
  • Orey, M. (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology, University of Georgia. HTML
    • This is evolving e-book (Mediawiki) covering learning and cognitive theories and instructional theories and models.
  • Seels Barbara B. and Rita C. Richey (1994). Instructional Technology: The Definition and Domains of the Field, Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), ISBN 0892400722
    • Outdated, but still interesting for its discussion of the 5 domains (design, development, utilization, management and evaluation) and their sources of influence from other fields.
  • Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning, BCcampus.
    • Excellent free textbook. An introduction (> 500 pages) for practitioners and students interested by "doing it". Also includes information that can be useful to "experts".
    • Other languages are also available from here, e.g. a french version (also here).

Multimedia and e-learning contents

Related entry: Multimedia (follow the links)

  • Alessi, Stephen. M. & Trollop, Stanley. R., (2001) Multimedia for Learning (3rd Edition), Pearson Allyn & Bacon, ISBN 0-205-27691-1.
    • This is probably the best overall introductory textbook for interactive multimedia educational technology and related instructional design issues, but it is weak regarding CMC and e-learning.
  • Clark, Ruth Colvin and Richard E. Mayer (2011). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, Pfeiffer, 3rd Edition, ISBN 0787960519
    • A very good book if you are interested in e-learning content design. R. E. Meyer is a top researcher in multimedia presentation and animation. The 2003 edition includes examples with outdated graphics but is otherwise OK with respect to multimedia design principles.


  • Driscoll, M., Carliner, S. (2005) Advanced Web-Based Training : Adapting Real World Strategies in Your Online Learning, Pfeiffer. ISBN 0787969796
    • A pratical guide for advanced e-learning, i.e. the authors present a larger portfolio of design strategies than the one one could find in e-learning introductions à la systems design. Should be updated with a 2nd edition ....
  • Carliner, Saul, & Shank, Patti (2008). The E-Learning Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Learning. Pfeiffer.

Wiki-based learning

  • Ben-Zvi, D. (2007, October). Using Wiki to promote collaborative learning in statistics education. Technology Innovations in Statistics Education Journal, 1(1). [1]
    • This article makes a strong case for the use of Wiki to support collaborative learning experiences for students in the statistics classroom. The article presents several types of Wiki-based activities: collaborative writing, glossaries, discussion and review, statistical projects, self-reflective journals, and assessment.

Learning theory

Related entry: learning theory

  • Dirksen, J. (2015). Design for how people learn. New Riders.
    • An easy to read book for absolute beginners that teaches essentials. Nice illustrations. Refers to research.
  • Bransford, John D.; Brown, Ann L.; Cocking, Rodney R. (Eds.) (2000), How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience (2nd ed.) Washington, D.C: National Academy Press, ISBN 0309070368
  • Driscoll, Marcy P. (2004). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd edition). Allyn & Bacon ISBN 0205375197
    • Probably the best overall textbook dealing with learning theory and instruction)
  • Benassi, V. A., Overson, C. E., & Hakala, C. M. (2014). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site:
    • Quote (p.1): The overarching theme of this book is on the interplay between the science of learning, the science of instruction, and the science of assessment


  • Joyce, B., Weil, M., Calhoun, E. (2014). Models of Teaching (9th Edition) Hardcover, 9th edition, Pearson, ISBN 0133749304
    • This book is more difficult reading, but it is one of the best introductions to various pedagogical strategies to be used inside and outside classrooms.
Since this book is very expensive, an older edition can do too and will cost much less second hand, e.g. Joyce, B., Weil, M., Calhoun, E. : Models of teaching, 6th edition, Allyn & Bacon, 2000. ISBN 0205389279.
  • Laurillard, D. (2013). Teaching as a design science: Building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. Routledge.
    • Quote (p. 1) Teaching is not a theoretical science that describes and explains some aspect of the natural or social world. It is closer to the kind of science, like engineering, computer science, or architecture, whose imperative it is to make the world a better place: a design science.

Instructional Systems Design

Related entry: Instructional design

  • Morrison Gary R., Steven M. Ross, Jerrold E. Kemp (2004), Designing Effective Instruction, 4th edition, Wiley, ISBN 0471216518
    • This book is an introduction to "main-stream" instructional design.
  • Dick, Walter O, Lou Carey & James O Carey (1994). Systematic Design of Instruction (6th edition).Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 0205412742
    • Pick either Morrison (above) or this
  • Gustafson Kent and Robert Maribe Branch (2002), Survey of Instructional Development Models, 4th edition, Eric Clearinghouse on Information, ISBN 0937597554
    • Probably the best short overview book you can find, recommended by DSchneider. PS: It is not clear to me whether there is a long and a short version. Mine has 71 pages and it was cheap.
    • Related entries: Instructional design method

Constructivist Design

Related entry: constructivism (follow the links for various flavors)

  • Jonassen David H. , Jane Howland, Joi Moore, and Rose M. Marra (2002), Learning to Solve Problems with Technology: A Constructivist Perspective (2nd Edition). Prentice Hall, ISBN 0130484032
  • Jonassen David H. (2005). Modeling with Technology: Mindtools for Conceptual Change (3rd Edition), Prentice Hall, ISBN 0131703455
  • See also: The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (above)

Project-oriented learning

Related entry: project-oriented learning (follow the links for various flavors)

  • Uden, Lorna and Chris Beaumont (2005). Technology and Problem-Based Learning, Information Science Publishing, ISBN 1591407443
  • Markham, Thom et al. (2003), Project Based Learning Handbook, Buck Institute for Education, ISBN 0974034304


Related entry: Educational technologies, standards

DSchneider is not aware of any good really technical textbook that covers most of the popular technologies used in education.

Research methodology

There don't seem to be any textbooks that target specifically educational technology. See research methodology resources for a list of good resources and textbooks for social science methodology and techniques. Related entry: Methodology tutorial and Educational technology research approaches

  • Randolph, Justus J. (2007). Multidisciplinary Methods in Educational Technology Research and Development, HAMK Press, HTML / PDF. This is a free E-Book.

Further reading and journals

  • Search this wiki for for further reading. Most entries should have at least a few interesting references.


Other databases

  • No significant difference (NSD) A database with research articles initiated by Thomas L. Russell. The significant difference (SD) entries on the website are classified into three categories: (1) better results through technology - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered at a distance; (2) better results in the classroom - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered face to face; or (3) mixed results - some variables indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered at a distance, while others indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered face-to-face.