ERIC Identifier: ED320569
Publication Date: 1990-05-00
Author: Preston, Nancy R., Ed.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse
on Information Resources Syracuse NY.
Trends and Issues in Educational Technology: 1989. ERIC Digest.
This digest is based on "Trends and Issues in Educational Technology 1989,"
by Donald P. Ely, available from the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information
A content analysis was performed to determine the trends and issues in the
field of educational technology for the period from October 1, 1988 through
September 30, 1989. Sources for the analysis included four leading professional
journals in educational technology; papers given at annual conventions of three
professional associations; dissertations from five universities that have a high
level of doctoral productivity; and the educational technology documents that
have been entered into the ERIC database. The analysis was complemented by the
examination of supplementary documents to determine the political, social, and
economic reasons for the findings.
This digest features the top trends and selected issues identified in the
study. For a full discussion of the study methodology and findings, the reader
is referred to the source noted above.
TREND: CONCERN FOR DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF INSTRUCTIONAL PRODUCTS AND PROCEDURES DOMINATES THE PROFESSIONAL LITERATURE.
development are concerned with several subtopics: needs assessment, task
analysis, learner characteristics, message design, product development, and
motivational strategies. Instructional design focuses on the product itself and
the lesson is the unit of analysis; instructional development is broader and
usually deals with the course as the unit of analysis. From both perspectives,
the medium is usually secondary to goals, objectives, and context of use. The
increasing recognition of the importance of instructional material design and
the strategies used to deliver information is reflected in a swing away from the
preoccupation with hardware toward a concern for the systematic development of
software. Much of the literature emphasized the design of interactive,
multimedia products using new tools such as HyperCard (Apple Computer's
o How can instructional materials be designed to help learners
use higher order thinking skills?
TREND: EVALUATION IS BECOMING AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT PROCESS.
Evaluation seems to be
emerging as a distinct area within instructional design and development and has
established itself within the field of educational technology. Seventy-four
percent of the professional academic programs now include courses in evaluation
as part of the curriculum (Johnson, 1989). Evaluation can be subdivided into at
least four areas: product evaluation, process evaluation, cost-effectiveness,
and formative evaluation. Among the year's articles and conference papers
dealing with evaluation, product evaluation was the most popular topic. Most
frequently this discussed the effectiveness of computer programs used in schools
o Should evaluation competencies be developed independently of
design and development competencies (i.e., is evaluation
separate or integral in the process of instructional design
TREND: THERE IS INCREASING USE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT KNOWLEDGE TO SOLVE CURRENT PROBLEMS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING.
Much of the
year's literature consisted of summaries of research and development findings,
meta-analyses of research in specific areas, and reports of case studies. This
reflects a growing recognition of existing work as useful for current efforts.
When existing knowledge is synthesized it often becomes more useful than
separate and isolated facts, and when successful programs are publicized, they
are more likely to be adopted. The use of educational technology principles and
practices in teaching and learning is the focus of 40 out of the 250 approved
programs listed in the 1989 National Diffusion Network catalog, "Programs That
Work." The Southeastern Educational Improvement Laboratory's "Tapping the
Potential of Educational Technology" lists 105 technology-oriented projects.
o To what extent are existing research findings and case study
results applicable in new settings?
TREND: COMPUTERS CAN BE FOUND IN ALMOST EVERY PUBLIC SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES.
Quality Education Data (1989) reports that 76,395
of the 79,693 public schools in the United States (over 95%) have two or more
microcomputers. When the total number of microcomputers is calculated, there are
1,596,715 units, or an average of 19.8 units per school and an average
microdensity of 25.4 students per microcomputer. In addition, an ELECTRONIC
LEARNING (1989) survey of state education agencies revealed that 77% of the
states are planning new, technology-related programs, and 93% of the states
provide in-service computer education for certified teachers. While the momentum
for computer use in education is accelerating, the need to move beyond "computer
literacy" training and integrate computers more fully in the teaching and
learning process is receiving attention.
o How can computer-assisted instruction be integrated into the
TREND: INTERACTIVE VIDEO IS WIDELY ACCEPTED AS A RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PRODUCT, BUT NOT IN SCHOOLS AND HIGHER EDUCATION.
there were three times as many articles in the interactive video category as
there were in 1988. This reflects growth in the production and use of all forms
of laser discs. For Education, it is clear that interactive video is still in
its infancy and not ready for wholesale adoption. The POTENTIAL of interactive
video, especially for distance education, is recognized by educational
technologists and educational leaders alike, and pilot programs are being
reported in the literature. However, only a small number of schools have
videodisc systems, and it is likely that relatively few of these are being used
o Can interactive video be justified as a cost-effective
TREND: DISTANCE EDUCATION HAS BECOME ESTABLISHED AS A MAJOR VEHICLE FOR INSTRUCTION AT ALL LEVELS OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING.
education is prominent in the educational technology literature. While the
organization and management of distance education encompasses much more than
delivery systems, it is the delivery systems that bring distance education into
the realm of educational technology. It is possible that educational technology
may be redefined by distance education. The design and development of courseware
is critical for learners who are working independent of face-to-face contact
with a teacher. Like educational technology, distance education uses a full
spectrum of media resources to deliver content, requires a management system
that tracks each student, and has a major evaluation component with feedback
o Which face-to-face instructional functions can effectively be
replaced by distance education materials?
TREND: THE DEFINITION, CONDUCT, AND STATUS OF PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION IN THE FIELD CONTINUES TO PREOCCUPY PRACTITIONERS.
professionals in any field, educational technologists ask questions about their
changing roles and responsibilities; they worry about the education of future
professionals and the upgrading of current practitioners; they look for
recognition, especially from external colleagues; and they try to identify
leadership from among their ranks. Conferences frequently serve as a forum for
the expression of these concerns, many of which are generated in academic
settings. The Professors of Instructional Design and Technology (PIDT)
conference focused on four major themes which are consistent with much of the
literature: (1) redefining the field; (2) improving graduate studies; (3)
conducting research; and (4) identifying the role of educational technologists
outside academic programs (Klein, 1989).
o What changes are necessary in the programs to prepare
professionals for service in the field of educational
technology in light of the many technological changes that
have occurred recently?
TREND: THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON INDIVIDUALS IN THE SOCIETY
AT LARGE CONTINUES TO BE CONSIDERED BY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY
People within the field of educational technology are
asking questions about consequences of their efforts on individuals who use the
products and systems created by educational technology procedures. The effect of
commercial television on young children continues to be explored and debated.
The most recent analysis is an OERI publication, "The Impact on Children's
Education: Television's Influence on Cognitive Development" (Anderson & Collins, 1988). The authors conclude that while research is sparse, there is no
evidence that television has a mesmerizing effect on children's attention caused
by color, movement, and visual changes; that children get overstimulated by
television; or that television viewing displaces valuable cognitive activities.
o How can learners of all ages be taught critical viewing and
Anderson, D.R. & Collins, P.A.
(1988). The Impact on Children's Education: Television's Influence on Cognitive
Development. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement,
U.S. Department of Education.
Fox, J. & Saunders, C. (1989). Major Research Findings, Selected
Accomplishments, and Publications 1985-1988. Washington, DC: Office of
Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. ED number
Hope Reports. (1989). Educational Media Trends through the 1990s: A Sequel.
Rochester, NY: Author.
Hutchinson, J.A. & Rankin, P.M. (1989, September). 1989 AECT member
salary survey. TECHTRENDS, 34(4), 10-15.
Johnson, Jenny K. (1989, September). The degrees to which...TECHTRENDS,
Klein, J. (1989). Enhancing instructional design and technology academic
programs: a summary of the Fifth Meeting of the Professors of Instructional
Design and Technology. EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, 37(3),
National Diffusion Network. (1988). Educational Programs That Work (14 ed.).
Longmont, CA: Sopris West.
National Education Association. (1989). Educational Technology: NEA Special
Committee Report. Washington, DC: Author. ED number pending.
National Governors' Association. (1989). Results in Education: 1989. The
Governors' 1991 Report on Education. Washington, DC: Author. ED number pending.
Ninth annual survey of the states. (1989, October). ELECTRONIC LEARNING 9(2),
Quality Education Data. (1989). 1989-90 Catalog of Mailing Lists and
Marketing Services. Denver, CO: Author.
Southeastern Educational Improvement Laboratory. (1989, March). Tapping the
Potential of Educational Technology. Research Triangle Park, NC: Author. ED
United States Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. (1989). Linking for
Learning: A New Course for Education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office. ED 310 765.