Over the years, various labels have been used to identify the IT fields, including audiovisual instruction, audiovisual communication, instructional design, educational technology, performance improvement so on and so forth. In 2008, ACET committee updated the new definition "Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources." Here are the differences between the 2008 edition and 1994 edition: ​

IT Definition
  • The replacement of "instructional" with "educational" which extended enlarged the domain of the subject's fields

  • The 2008 definition emphasized improving performance

  • Although the domains are no longer mentioned by name, the use of creating, manage, and use encompasses the systematic activities of the former domains

  • Especially, the definition still holds true to the systematic process but now is allowing for a variety of mindsets and instructional systems Design models

IT History
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The slides present IT (Instructional Technology)  history through times by decade(s) to worship the everchanging media:


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Behaviorism focuses on the observation of input and output and behaviorists believe proper reinforcement will contribute to the final output (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). The behaviorism theories are commonly used for simple concept acquisition and well-structured problems in solving scenarios. 

Information Processing- Computer Analogy


Cognitivism focuses on how the information received, organized, stored, and retrieved by the memory which looks like how the computer works (Christensen, 2008). By using schema, IDers should better chunk and cluster concepts and create understandable scenarios to help learners better interpret their own understanding. Driscoll (2012) stated Cognitive theories such as information processing and schema theory shifted the focus of the ID field to attributes of learners and the role of prior knowledge in learning new knowledge and skills.

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Constructivism focuses on collaborative learning and how the teacher scaffolds students to explore their own beliefs based on their own prior knowledge.  ZPD points the learner is capable of reaching new knowledge under the guidance of teachers or in collaboration with peers. Constructivists doubt about the real learning effect based on the hierarchical information and isolate subject analysis and instruction (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). Constructivists believe rootlike growth and development through the interaction with the environment and others. Constructivists also emphasize that learning should be involved in an authentic environment, how to better scaffold student to learn and create collaboratively is a top issue.


Currently, we live in a time where technology is embedded in the fabric of our lives, both personally and professionally. In regards to Instructional Technology (IT) trends, there are 5 ubiquitous consensuses as below: 

  • VR/AR applications aligned with subjects learning to solve ill-structured problems

  • Gamification for student engagement

  • Providing a synchronous and asynchronous learning environment

  • Creating an online collaborative learning environment 

  • A wide range of Active Learning including learning through play, project method, group work, activity-based learning, and technology-based learning, etc.   

IT Heads


(1904 - 1990)

Elaboration & Reinforcement Theory

  • Skinner believed that effective teaching must be based on positive reinforcement which is, he argued, more effective at changing and establishing behavior than punishment

  • He suggested that the main thing people learn from being punished is how to avoid punishment

  • The Technology of Teaching, Skinner has a chapter on why teachers fail (pages 93–113): He says that teachers have not been given an in-depth understanding of teaching and learning. Without knowing the science underpinning teaching, teachers fall back on procedures that work poorly or not at all

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Jean Piaget

(1896 - 1980)

Genetic Epistemology

  • Genetic Epidemiologist: focused on the process of qualitative development of knowledge

  • He considered cognitive structures development as a differentiation of " biological regulation" 

  • 4 Stages:
    Sensorimotor stage ( from birth to age 2)
    Preoperational stage (2-7 years old)
    Concrete operational stage (7-11)
    Formal operational stage (11-16 and above) 

Sociocultural Development: ​​


Lev Vygotsky

(1896 - 1934)

  • Vygotsky focused on children and their development, the interactions they had with those around them, in the development of their cognition and their higher-order learning

  • MKO (More Knowledgable Others) is basically someone who has a better or higher competency than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process or concept. MKO is not necessary to be a teacher or older instructor, but a learner's peer or older sibling all can act as MKO  

  •  ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) is the area which bridges a learner's "Can Do area" to his/her "Cannot Do  Area"     

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  • Language: According to Vygotsky, language is the main means by which adults transmit info to children, and it's also a very powerful tool of intellectual adaption. His studies focused on children's internalized language (self-talking) and believed it can build up children's social competence. He basically told us thought is a result of language

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Personal Education Philosophy

I believe education brings hope and shapes the future. There are two philosophers (Zhu, Xi & Sigmund Freud) continuously bring me ideas and inspirations to explore my  goals, forms, methods, and meaning of education: 

  • Goals: To figure out students' real needs and make them succeed (The Ego and ID)  

  • Forms: To build up safe learning and teaching playground/community and track their growing data 

  • Methods: To be creative, immersive, active and adaptive activities and playforms 

  • Meaning: To arouse mutual love and empathy 


Looking back, the most frequent learning theories I approached were behaviorism and cognitivism. When I was little, I learned easily with stimulation and feedbacks. As we grow up, we will quickly realize that we need to cooperate with others and should respect others' contributions. Based on social collaboration needs, responsible educators should consider more complex learning scenarios and provide real-world learning context for our students (Ertmer P. & Newby T., 2013).  The real-world knowledge might not possible to be divided with a single subject and well-structured instructions may not happen in our real world. Especially for higher-level learners the educators should guide and teach them to deal with complex and in ill-structured problems. 

  1. Christensen T. (2008). The role of theory in instructional design: Some views of an ID practitioner. Performance Improvement. 47(4), 25-32. DOI: 10.1002/pfi.199

  2. Ertmer, P., & Newby T. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features From an Instructional Design                    Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly. 26(2), 43-71. doi: 10.1002/piq.21143

  3. Koszalka, T. A., Russ-Eft, D. F., Canela, F. A., & Wallington, C. J. (2013). Instructional Designer Competencies. Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC.

  4. Naested, I., Potvin, B., & Waldron, P. (2004). Understanding the landscape of teaching. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Education Canada.

  5. Piaget, J (1979). Comments on Vygotsky's critical remarksArchives de Psychologie. 47 (183) 237–249.

  6. Reiser, A. & Dempsey J.(2018). Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.