The Future of Instructional Technology Research

Professor Barbara Lockee, Virginia Tech,USA

Overview of the ed2015-09-07_0513educational technology research and discuss some of the challenges we’ve had.

Educational Technology has been around for many years and it’s interesting to note the speed of change.

We’ll look at three threads.

The first thread is media.

The second thread is computing.

The third thread is instructional design.

So these are the three “streams” or “threads” that comprise educational technology

Furthermore EdTech is situated at the nexus of three fields: Psychology, Media and Computer Science.

Media comparison studies started with comparing students on campus with distance students. Comparing the results of students on and off campus – is that a good question to ask?

Some of the issues with media comparison studies: they lack a theoretical basis – it’s evaluation, not research. Maybe it is limited by the way in which it had to be delivered, received, etc. Many variables could impact the outcome of the studies. Most of these studies have no significant impact. They don’t tell us anything. “Garbage in, garbage out.” If you ask a bad question, you get a worthless answer.

To make it worse, these studies with the results that there isn’t a significant difference – these results are then being interpreted.

What are the good questions? There are issues on micro level and on macro level. What really makes a difference? Micro level: How can these systems deliver our design plans? What are the characteristics of our audience – doesn’t that matter? Macro level: looking at our systems. How can they bring effective learning conditions? You can also include the broader context of learning.

If I want to demonstrate, can I zoom in, can I pause, can I engage the learners in problem-based learning, can we collaborate in real time? Does all of this matter? The features of the system need to support this.

Adaptive Learning Systems – there is a very heavy front-end investement.

Mobile learning is popular, but imagine designing for a tiny screen

The next generation research. Still a feeling that we have to validate what we do online by comparing it to what we do face to face. E.g. comparing the use of Khan Academy vs not using it – what about the other variables?

Hoping for some more … leveraging research on virtual humans that have been used in the military to engage learners with science education. E.g. Ada and Grace as virtual museum guides.




One comment

  1. Good observations here:) Phil Hill also spoke about the problem of comparing (traditional f2f vs online teaching). The slides you cite suggests the person is from instructional design where the ADDIE model and the idea of content delivery are dominant. How might we compare a learning design approach which grapples with educational challenges first? You might also want to check out this review of Neil Selwyn’s new book Herrington, Reeves and others also talk about the tradition of comparing media (tablet versus textbook, etc) when discussing how DBR differs to other kinds of educational technology research, see what might this perspective offer that instructional design might not?


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