Instructional technology

The educational technology and digital learning wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


DSchneider is not exactly sure wether Instructional Technology is a different field than educational technology. Our feeling is that Instructional Technology could be defined as a subset of educational technology that adopts a somewhat behaviorist/cognitivist instructional design perspective on learning and teaching and as colloray a a rather classic top-down design methodology.

  • Sara McNeil defines the Instructional technology like this:
    • Instructional technology is the systemic and systematic application of strategies and techniques derived from behavioral, cognitive, and constructivist theories to the solution of instructional problems.
    • Instructional Technology = Instructional Design + Instructional Development
    • Instructional technology is the systematic application of theory and other organized knowledge to the task of instructional design and development.

This definition puts more emphasis on pedagogical engineering, the art of implementing a design rule.

  • One of the definitions ties Instructional Technology to needs for industrial and military training. E.g. the Wikipedia entry states: “While Instructional Technology can apply to the military and corporate settings, Educational technology is instructional technology applied to a school setting (including charter schools, public schools, online and home schooling environments).”
While this project uses the broad concept of educational technology as its framework, we propose that the term instructional technology" describes a subset of that broad concept. Instructional technology refers to the concept, theory, and field that focus on facilitating learning through technology under conditions that are "purposive and controlled," as proposed in an earlier AECT definition of the field (AECT, 1977, p. 3). Although "educational technology" and "instructional technology" are sometimes used interchangeably, we propose that education and instruction refer to broader or narrower processes. Instruction is narrower than education in the sense that it refers to situations that are more purposive, that is, in which the learner is directed toward specific goals or objectives set by someone else, and more controlled, that is, using methods and resources planned and guided by someone else.
  • The same organization's "Standards for the accreditation of programs in educational communications and instructional technology (ECIT)" committee also puts forward the following definition on one of its [web pages]:
Instructional Technology is the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning. ... The words Instructional Technology in the definition mean a discipline devoted to techniques or ways to make learning more efficient based on theory but theory in its broadest sense, not just scientific theory. ... Theory consists of concepts, constructs, principles, and propositions that serve as the body of knowledge. Practice is the application of that knowledge to solve problems. Practice can also contribute to the knowledge base through information gained from experience. ... Of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation ... refer to both areas of the knowledge base and to functions performed by professionals in the field. ... Processes are a series of operations or activities directed towards a particular result. ... Resources are sources of support for learning, including support systems and instructional materials and environments. ... The purpose of instructional technology is to affect and effect learning (Seels & Richey, 1994, pp. 1-9).


  • AECT (1977). The definition of educational technology. Washington DC: AECT.
  • AECT (2004) The Meanings of Educational Technology, Washington DC: AECT, Definition and Terminology Committee document, June 1, 2004 #MN4.0 [[1]]
  • Seels, B., & Richey, R. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field. Washington, DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.