Robert A. Reiser Florida State University
Inasmuch as you are reading this book it is likely that you are, or will become, a professional in the field of instructional design and technology. We believe that professionals in any field should be knowledgeable about that field’s history. This chapter is intended to provide you with that knowledge. As was pointed out in the first chapter of this book over the year two practices-the use of instructional media and the use of systematic instructional design procedures-have been at the center of the field. In this chapter Bob Reiser discusses the .history of instructional media and the history of instructional design.
In addition to describing post events this chapter briefly discusses recent developments in the field’s history. These events include the performance technology movement the increasing interest in constructivism, and the rapidly growing use of the Internet and the World Wide Web for instructional purposes. (These recent trends are also discussed in greater detail in other chapters in this book) Therefore, this chapter should provide you with a dear picture of where our field has come from, as well as giving you a brief introduction to some of the current trends that are affecting our field.
Knowledge and Comprehension Questions
1. How is the term instructional media defined in this chapter? Why are teachers chalkboards, and textbooks excluded from the definition?
2. Describe one way in which each of the following events or movements are related to current ideas or practices associated with instructional media:
- School museums
- The audiovisual instruction movement
- World War II
- Post- World War II developments
- Communication theories
3. Many who have examined the history of instructional media have noted that as each new medium comes along, history repeats itself. Does this notion seem to apply to instructional films, instructional television and computers? If so, in what way(s) does it apply?
4. Describe one way in which each of the following events or movements ore related to current ideas or practices associated with the field of instructional design:
- World War II
- The programmed instruction movement
- The behavioral objectives movement
- The criterion-referenced testing movement
- The work of Robert M. Gagne
- The launching of Sputnik
5. During the 1970s and 1980s , interest in instructional design grew in some sectors and diminished or had little impact in others. Describe how interest in instructional design waxed and/or waned in the following sectors during the 1970s and 1980s.:
- Business and industry
- The U.S. military
- The international arena
- Public education in the United States
In the first chapter of this book, the following definition of the field of instructional design and technology was put forth:
The field of instructional design and technology encompasses the analysis of learning and performance problems, and the design, development, implementation, evaluation and management of instructional processes and resources intended to improve learning and performance in a variety of settings, particularly educational institutions and the workplace. Professionals in the field of instructional design and technology often use systematic instructional design procedures and employ a variety of instructional media to accomplish their goals. Moreover, in recent years, they have paid increasing attention to non-instructional solutions to some learning and performance problems. Research and theory related to each of the aforementioned areas is also an important part of the field.
As is clear from this definition statement, over the years, two practices-the use of systematic instructional design procedures (often simply called instructional design) and the use of media for instructional purposes-have formed the core of the field of instructional design and technology. This chapter will review the history of the field by examining the history of instructional media and the history of instructional design. From a historical perspective, most of the practices related to instructional media have occurred independent of developments associated with instructional design. Therefore the history of each of these two sets of practices will be described separately. It should also be noted that although many important events in the history of the field of instructional design and technology have taken place in other countries, the emphasis in this chapter will be on events that have taken place in the United States.
History of Instructional Media
The term instructional media has been defined as the physical means via which instruction is presented to learners (Reiser & Gagnt. 1983). Under this definition, every physical means of instructional delivery, from the live instructor to the textbook to the computer and so on, would be classified as an instructional medium. It might be wise for practitioners in the field to adopt this viewpoint: however in most discussions of the history of instructional media, the three primary means of instruction before the twentieth century (and still the most common means today) -the teacher, the chalkboard, and the textbook – have been categorized separately from other media (ef. Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970). To clearly describe the history of media, this viewpoint will be used in this chapter. Thus, instructional media will be defined as the physical means, other than the teacher, chalkboard, and textbook, via which instruction is presented to learners.
In the United States, the use of media for instructional purposes has been traced back to at least as early as the first decade of the twentieth century (Saettler, 1990). It was at that time that school museums came into existence. As Saettler (1968) has indicated, these museums “served as the central administrative unit[s] for visual instruction by [their] distribution of portable museum exhibits, stereographs [three-dimensional photographs], slides, films, study prints, charts, and other instructional materials” (p. 89). The first school museum was opened in St. Louis in 1905, and shortly thereafter, school museums were opened in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio. Although few such museums have been established since the early 1900s, the districtwide media center may be considered a modern-day equivalent.
Saettler (1990) has also stated that the materials housed in school museums were viewed as supplementary curriculum materials. They were not intended to supplant the teacher or the textbook. Throughout the past hundred years, this early view of the role of instructional media has remained prevalent in the educational community at large.
That is, most educators have viewed instructional media as supplementary means of presenting instruction. In contrast, teachers and textbooks are generally viewed as the primary means of presenting instruction, and teachers are usually given the authority to decide what other instructional media they will employ. Over the years, a number of professionals in the field of instructional design and technology (e.g., Heinich, 1970) have argued against this notion, indicating that (a) teachers should be viewed on an equal footing with instructional media, as just one of many possible means of presenting instruction, and (b) teachers should not be given sole authority for deciding what instructional media will be used in classrooms. However, in the broad educational community, these viewpoints have not prevailed.
The Visual Instruction Movement and Instructional Films
As Saettler (1990) has indicated, in the early part of the twentieth century, most of the media that were housed in school museums were visual media, such as films, slides, and photographs. Thus at the time, the increasing interest in using media in the school was referred to as the “visual instruction” or “visual education” movement. The latter term was used at least as far back as 1908, when the Keystone View Company published Visual Education, a teacher’s guide to lantern slides and stereographs.
Besides magic lanterns (lantern slide projectors) and stereopticons (stereograph viewers), which were used in some schools during the second half of the nineteenth century (Anderson, 1962), the motion picture projector was one of the first media devices used in schools. In the United States, the first catalog of instructional films was published in 1910. Later that year, the public school system of Rochester, New York, became the first to adopt films for regular instructional use. In 1913, Thomas Edison proclaimed, “Books will soon be obsolete in the schools…. It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture. Our school system will be completely changed in the next ten years” (cited in Saettler, 1968, p. 98).
Ten years after Edison made his forecast, the changes he had predicted had not come about. However, during this decade (1914-1923), the visual instruction movement did grow. Five national professional organizations for visual instruction were established, five journals focusing on visual instruction began publication, more than twenty teacher-training institutions began offering courses in visual instruction, and at least a dozen large-city school systems developed bureaus of visual education (Saettler, 1990).
The Audiovisual Instruction Movement and Instructional Radio
During the remainder of the 1920s and through much of the 1930s, technological advances in such areas as radio broadcasting, sound recordings, and sound motion pictures led to increased interest in instructional media. With the advent of media incorporating sound, the expanding visual instruction movement became known as the audiovisual instruction movement (Finn, 1972; McCluskey, 1981). However, McCluskey (1981), who was one of the leaders in the field’ during this period, indicates that while the field continued to grow, the educational community at large was not greatly affected by that growth. He states that by 1930, commercial interests in the visual instruction movement had invested and lost more than $50 million, and only part of the loss was due to the Great Depression, which began in 1929.
In spite of the adverse economic effects of the Great Depression, the audiovisual instruction movement continued to evolve. According to Saettler (1990), one of the most significant events in this evolution was the merging in 1932 of the three existing national professional organizations for visual instruction. As a result of this merger, leadership in the movement was consolidated within one organization, the Department of Visual Instruction, which at that time was part of the National Education Association. Over the years, this organization, which was created in 1923 and is now called the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, has maintained a leadership role in the field of instructional design and technology.
During the 1920s and 1930s, a number of textbooks on the topic of visual instruction were written. Perhaps the most important of these textbooks was Visualizing the Curriculum, written by Charles F. Hoban, Sr., Charles F. Hoban, Jr., and Stanley B. Zissman (1937). In this book, the authors stated that the value of audiovisual materials was a function of their degree of realism. The authors also presented a hierarchy of media, ranging from those that could present concepts only in an abstract fashion to those that allowed for very concrete representations (Heinich, Molenda, Russell, & Smaldino, 1999). Some of these ideas had previously been discussed by others but had not been dealt with as thoroughly. In 1946, Edgar Dale further elaborated on these ideas when he developed his famous “Cone of Experience.” Throughout the history of the audiovisual instruction movement, many have indicated that part of the value of audiovisual materials is their ability to present concepts in a concrete manner (Saettler, 1990).
A medium that gained a great deal of attention during this period was radio. By the early 1930s, many audiovisual enthusiasts were hailing radio as the medium that would revolutionize education. For example, in referring to the instructional potential of radio, films, and television, the editor of publications for the National Education Association stated that “tomorrow they will be as common as the book and powerful in their effect on learning and teaching” (Morgan, 1932, p. ix). However, contrary to these sorts of predictions, over the next twenty years radio had very little impact on instructional practices (Cuban, 1986).
World War II
With the onset of World War II, the growth of the audiovisual instruction movement in the schools slowed; however, audiovisual devices were used extensively in the military services and in industry. For example, during the war, the U.S. Army Air Force produced more than 400 training films and 6G0 filmstrips, and during a two-year period (from mid-1943 to mid-1945), it was estimated that there were over four million showings of training films to U.S. military personnel. Although there was little time and opportunity to collect hard data regarding the effect of these films on the performance of military personnel, several surveys of military instructors revealed that they believed that the training films and filmstrips that were used during the war were effective trainintools (Saettler, 1990). Apparelently, at least some of the enemy agreed; in 1945, after the war ended, the German Chief of General Staff said, “We had everything calculated perfectly except the speed with which America was able to train its people. Our major miscalculation was in underestimating their quick and complete mastery of film education” (cited in Olsen & Bass, 1982, p. 33).
During the war, training films also played an important role in preparing civilians in the United States to work in industry. In 1941, the federal government established the Division of Visual Aids for War Training. From 1941 to 1945, this organization oversaw the production of 457 training films. Most training directors reported that the films reduced training time without having a negative impact on training effectiveness and that the films were more interesting and resulted in less absenteeism than traditional training programs (Saettler, 1990).
In addition to training films and film projectors, a wide variety of other audiovisual materials and equipment were employed in the military forces and in industry during World War II. Devices that were used extensively included overhead projectors, which were first produced during the war; slide projectors, which were used in teaching aircraft and ship recognition: audio equipment, which was used in teaching foreign languages: and simulators and training devices, which were employed in flight training (Olsen & Bass, 1982. Saettler, 1990).
Post-World War II Developments and Media Research
The audiovisual devices that were used during World War II were generally perceived as successful in helping the United States solve a major training problem: how to train effectively and efficiently large numbers of individuals with diverse backgrounds. As a result of this apparent success, after the war there was a renewed interest in using audiovisual devices in the schools (Finn. 1972: Olsen & Bass, 1982).
In the decade following the war, several intensive programs of audiovisual research were undertaken (e.g.. Carpenter & Greenhill. 1956: Lumsdaine, 1961; May & Lumsdaine. 195x). The research studies that were conducted as part of these programs were designed to identify how various features, or attributes, of audiovisual materials affected learning, the goal being to identify the attributes that would facilitate learning in given situations. For example, one research program, conducted under the direction of ArthurA. Lumsdaine, focused on identifying how learning was affected by various techniques for eliciting overt student response during the viewing of instructional Films (Lumsdaine, 1963).
The post-World War II audiovisual research programs were among the first concentrated efforts to identify principles of learning that could be used in the design of audiovisual materials. However, educational practices were not greatly affected by these research programs in that main practitioners either ignored or were not made aware of many of the research findings (Lumsdaine. 1963. 1964).
Most of the media research studies that have been conducted over the years have compared how much students have learned after receiving a lesson presented via a particular medium, such as film, radio, television, or the computer, versus how much students have learned from live instruction on the same topic. Studies of this type, often called media comparison studies, have usually revealed that students learned equally well regardless of the means of presentation (Clark, 1983, 1994; Schramm, 1977). In light of these repeated findings, critics of such research have suggested that the focus of such studies should change. Some have argued that researchers should focus on the attributes (characteristics) of media (Levie & Dickie, 1973), others have suggested an examination of how media influence learning (Kozma, 1991, 1994), and still others have suggested that the research focus should be on instructional methods, rather than on the media that deliver those methods (Clark, 1983, 1994). In recent years, some of these types of studies have become more prevalent.
Theories of Communication
During the early 1950s, many leaders in the audiovisual instruction movement became interested in various theories or models of communication, such as the model put forth by Shannon and Weaver (1949). These models focused on the communication process, a process involving a sender and a receiver of a message and a channel, or medium, through which that message is sent. The authors of these models indicated that during planning for communication, it was necessary to consider all the elements of the communication process and not just focus on the medium, as many in the audiovisual field tended to do. As Berlo (1963) stated, “As a communication man I must argue strongly that it is the process that is central and that the media, though important, are secondary” (p. 378). Several leaders in the audiovisual movement, such as Dale (1953) and Finn (1954), also emphasized the importance of the communication process. Although at first, audiovisual practitioners were not greatly influenced by this notion (Lumsdaine. 1964; Mcierhenry, 1980), the expression of this point of view eventually helped to expand the focus of the audiovisual movement (Ely, 1963, 1970; Silber, 1981).
Perhaps the most important factor to affect the audiovisual movement in the 1950s was the increased interest in television as a medium for delivering instruction. Before the 1950s, there had been a number of instances in which television had been used for instructional purposes (Gumpert, 1967; Taylor, 1967). During the 1950s, however, there was a tremendous growth in the use of instructional television. This growth was stimulated by at least two major factors.
One factor that spurred the growth of instructional television was the 1952 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to set aside 242 television channels for educational purposes. This decision led to the rapid development of a large number of public (then called “educational”) television stations. By 1955, there were seventeen such stations in the United States, and by 1960, that number had increased to more than fifty (Blakely, 1979). One of the primary missions of these stations was the presentation of instructional programs. As Hezel (1980) indicates, “The teaching role has been ascribed to public broadcasting since its origins. Especially before the 1960s, educational broadcasting was seen as a quick, efficient, inexpensive means of satisfying the nation’s instructional needs” (p. 173).
The growth of instructional television during the 1950s was also stimulated by funding provided by the Ford Foundation. It has been estimated that during the 1950s and 1960s, the foundation and its agencies spent more than $170 million on educational television (Gordon, 1970). Projects sponsored by the foundation included a closed-circuit television system that was used to deliver instruction in all major subject areas at all grade levels throughout the school system in Washington County (Hagerstown), Maryland; a junior-college curriculum that was presented via public television in Chicago; a large-scale experimental research program that was designed to assess the effectiveness of a series of college courses taught via closed circuit television at Pennsylvania State University; and the Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction, a program that was designed to simultaneously transmit televised lessons from an airplane to schools in six states.
By the mid-1960s, much of the interest in using television for instructional purposes had abated. Many of the instructional television projects that were developed during this period had short lives. This problem was due in part to the mediocre instructional quality of some of the programs that were produced; many of them did little more than present a teacher delivering a lecture. In 1963, the Ford Foundation decided to focus its support on public television in general, rather than on in-school applications of instructional television (Blakely, 1979). Many school districts discontinued instructional television demonstration projects when the external funding for those projects was halted (Tyler. 1975b). Instructional programming was still an important part of the mission of public television, but that mission was now wider, encompassing other types of programming, such as cultural and informational presentations (Hezel, 1980). In light of these and other developments, in 1967, the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television concluded:
The role played in formal education by instructional television has been on the whole a small one … nothing which approached the true potential of instructional television has been realized in practice…. With minor exceptions, the total disappearance of instructional television would leave the educational system fundamentally unchanged. (pp. 80-81)
Many reasons have been given as to why instructional television was not adopted to a greater extent. These include teacher resistance to the use of television in their classrooms, the expense of installing and maintaining television systems in schools, and the inability of television alone to adequately present the various conditions necessary for student learning (Gordon, 1970; Tyler, 1975b).
By the early 1970s, the terms educational technology and instructional technology began to replace audiovisual instruction as the terms used to describe the application of media for instructional purposes. For example, in 1970, the name of the major professional organization within the field was changed from the Department of Audiovisual Instruction to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). Later in the decas’e, the names of the two journals published by AECT were also changed: Audiovisual Communication Review became Educational Communication and Technology Journal, and Audiovisual Instruction became Instructional Innovator Moreover, the group that the U.S. government established to examine the impact of media on instruction was called the Commission on Instructional Technology. Regardless of the terminology, however, most individuals in the field agreed that up to that point, instructional media had had minimal impact on educational practices (Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970; Cuban, 1986).
Computers: From the 1950s to 1995
After the interest in instructional television faded, the next technological innovation to catch the attention of a large number of educators was the computer. Although widespread interest in the computer as an instructional tool did not occur until the 1980s, computers were first, used in education and training at a much earlier date. Much of the early work in computer-assisted instruction (CAI) was done in the 1950s by researchers at IBM, who developed the first CAI author language and designed one of the first CAI programs to be used in the public schools. Other pioneers in this area included Gordon Pask, whose adaptive teaching machines made use of computer technology (Lewis & Pask, 1965; Pask, 1960; Stolorow & Davis, 1965), and Richard Atkinson and Patrick Suppes, whose work during the 1960s led to some of the earliest applications of CAI at both the public school and university levels (Atkinson & Hansen, 1966; Suppes & Macken, 1978). Other major efforts during the 1960s and early 1970s included the development of CAI systems such as PLATO and TICCIT. However, in spite of the work that had been done, by the end of the 1970s, CAI had had very little impact on education (Pagliaro, 1983).
By the early 1980s, a few years after microcomputers became available to the general public, the enthusiasm surrounding this tool led to increasing interest in using computer: for instructional purposes. By January 1983, computers were being used for instructional purposes in more than 40% of all elementary schools and more than 75% of all secondary schools in the United States (Center for Social Organization of Schools, 1983).
Many educators were attracted to microcomputers because they were relatively in expensive, were compact enough for desktop use, and could perform many of the functions performed by the large computers that had preceded them. As was the case whe other- new media were first introduced into the instructional arena, many expected that this medium would have a major impact on instructional practices. For example, in 1984. Papert indicated that the computer was going to be “a catalyst of very deep and radio: change in the educational system” (p. 422) and that by 1990, one computer per child would be a very common state of affairs in schools in the United States.
Although computers may eventually have a major impact on instructional practice in schools, by the mid-1990s, that impact had been rather small. Surveys revealed that by 1995, although schools in the United States possessed, on average, one computer for ever nine students, the impact of computers on instructional practices was minimal, with a substantial number of teachers reporting little or no use of computers for instruction purposes. Moreover, in most cases, the use of computers was far from innovative. In elementary schools, teachers reported that computers were being used primarily for … and practice; at the secondary level, reports indicated that computers were used main for teaching computer-related skills such as word processing (Anderson & Ronnkvi1999; Becker, 1998; Office of Technology Assessment, 1995).
Since 1995, rapid advances in computer and other digital technology, as well as the Internet, have led to a rapidly increasing interest in, and use of, these media for instructional purposes, particularly in training in business and industry. For example, a recent survey of over 750 training industry companies (Bassi & Van Buren, 1999) revealed that the percentage of training delivered via such new technologies as CD-ROM, intranets, and the Internet rose from less than 6% in 1996 to more than 9% in 1997 and was expected to rise to over 22% by the year 2000. Another recent survey reported that in 1999, 14% of all formal training was delivered via computers (“Industry Report 1999”, 1999).
In the past few years, interest in using the Internet for instructional purposes has also been rapidly growing in higher education and the military. For example, between the 1994-95 and the 1997-98 academic years, enrollments in distance learning courses in higher education institutions in the United States nearly doubled, and the percentage of institutions that offered distance learning courses rose from 33% to 44%, with 78% of public four-year institutions offering such courses. Moreover, whereas in 1995, only 22% of the higher education institutions offering distance learning courses used asynchronous Internet-based technologies, by the 1997-98 academic year, 60% of the institutions did so (Lewis. Snow, Farris, Levin, & Greene, 1999). In the military, in the year 2000, the Secretary of the U.S. Army announced that 5600 million would be spent over the next six years to enable soldiers to take distance education courses via the Internet (Carr, 2000).
Since 1995, there has also been a significant increase in the amount of technology available in schools in the United States. For example, results of a 1998 national survey (Anderson & Ronnkvist, 1999) reveal that whereas in 1995 there was an average of one computer for every nine students, by 1998 the ratio had been reduced to one computer for every six students. Moreover, the percentage of schools that had Internet access increased from 50% in 1995 to 90%/e in 1998. However,. as has been the case throughout the history of instructional media, an increased presence of technology in the schools does not necessarily mean an increased use of that technology for instructional purposes. Anderson & Ronnkvist (1999) also state that although the number of computers in schools has been increasing, most of the computers are quite limited in terms of the software they can run. Furthermore, they indicate that although the vast majority of schools now have Internet access, student access to the Internet is limited in many schools, with few students being able to use it for their schoolwork. These observations make it difficult to ascertain the extent to which instructional practices in schools have been influenced by the increased presence of media.
In spite of the uncertainty about the extent of media usage in the schools, most of the evidence cited above clearly indicates that since 1995, there has been a significant increase in the use of instructional media in a variety of settings, ranging from business and industry to the military and higher education. What are some of the reasons for this increased usage? In business, industry, and the military, the Internet has been viewed as a means of providing instruction and information to widely dispersed learners at a relatively low cost. Moreover, in many cases, the easy accessibility of computers makes it possible for learners to receive instruction and/or performance support (often in the form of an electronic performance support system or knowledge management system) when and where they need it, as they are performing particular job tasks.
In higher education, distance education via the Internet has been seen as a low-cost method of providing instruction to students who, because of a variety of factors (e.g., job and family responsibilities. geographic distance), might not otherwise have been able to receive it. However, questions about the cost-effectiveness of such instruction remain unanswered (Hawkridge. 1999).
Another reason that the newer media are being used to a greater extent may be their increased interactive capabilities. Moore (1989) describes three types of interactions among the agents that are usually involved in an instructional activity. These interactions are between learners and instructional content, between learners and the instructor, and among learners themselves. Because of their attributes, the instructional media that were prevalent during some portion of the first two third, of the past century (e.,.. films and instructional television) were employed primarily as a means of having learners interact with instructional content. In contrast, through the use of such features as e-mail, chat rooms and bulletin boards, the Internet is often used as a means of having learners interct with their instructor and with other learners, as well as with instructional content. This is one example of how some of the newer media make it easier to promote the various, types of interactions described by Moore.
In addition, advances in computer technology, particularly with regard to the increasing multimedia capabilities of this medium, have made it easier for educators to design learning experiences that involve more complen interactions between learners and instructional content than has previously been the case. For example, as the amount and type of information (e.g. print. video. audio) that can he presented by computers has increased, the type of feedback as well as the type of problems, that can be presented to learners has greatly expanded. These increased instructional capabilities have attracted the attention of many educators. Moreover, the ability of computers to present information in a wide variety of forms, as well as to allow learners to easily link to various content, has attracted the interest of instructional desiners having a constructivist perspective. They and others who are particularly concerned with presenting authentic (i.e.. “real world”) problems in learning environments in which learners have a great deal of control over the activities they engage in and the tools and resources they use, find the new digital technology more accommodating than its predecessors.
As some of the examples in the previous few paragraphs demonstrate, in the past few years computers, the Internet. and other digital technology have often been used to promote learning and performance via some nontraditional means. For instance, computerassisted electronic performance support systems. knowledge management systems, and learner-centered learning environments often serve as alternatives to training or direct instruction. When the present-day impact of instructional media is being considered, these types of applications should not be overlooked.
Conclusions Regarding the History of Instructional Media
Of the many lessons we can learn by reviewing the history of instructional media, perhaps one of the most important involves a comparison between the anticipated and actual effects of media on instructional practices. As Cuban (1986) has pointed out, as you look back over the past century of media history, you are likely to note a recurrent pattern of expectations and outcomes. As a new medium enters the educational scene, there is a great deal of initial interest and much enthusiasm about the effects it is likely to have on instructional practices. However, enthusiasm and interest eventually fade, and an examination reveals that the medium has had a minimal impact on such practices. For example, Edison’s optimistic prediction that films would revolutionize education proved to be incorrect, and the enthusiasm for instructional television that existed during the 1950s greatly waned by the mid-1960s, with little impact on instruction in the schools. Both of these examples involve the use of media in schools, the setting in which the use of instructional media has been most closely examined. However, data regarding the use of instructional media in business and industry support a similar conclusion, namely, that in spite of enthusiasm about the use of instructional media in business and industry, until recently media have had a minimal impact on instructional practices in that environment.
What about the predictions, first made in the 1980s, that computers would revolutionize instruction? As the data from schools reveal, by the mid-1990s, that revolution had not occurred. However, data from the second half of the decade indicate a growing presence, and perhaps use, of computers and the Internet in schools. Moreover, during the late 1990s, these media took on an increasingly larger instructional and performance support role in other settings such as business and industry and higher education. Will the impact of media on instruction be greater in the future than it has been in the past?
In light of the aforementioned reasons for the increasing use of the newer media, I think it is reasonable to predict that over the next decade, computers, the Internet, and other digital media will bring about greater changes in instructional practices than the media that preceded them. However, in light of the history of media and its impact on instructional practices, I also think it is reasonable to expect that such changes, both in schools and other instructional settings, are likely to come about more slowly and be less extensive than most media enthusiasts currently predict.
History of Instructional Design
As mentioned earlier, in addition to being closely associated with instructional media, the field of instructional design and technology has also been closely associated with the use of systematic instructional design procedures. As was indicated in Chapter 2, a variety of sets of systematic instructional design procedures (or models) have been developed and have been referred to by such terms as the systems approach, instructional systems design (ISD) instructional development, and instructional design (which is the term I will use in the remainder of this chapter). Although the specific combination of procedures often varies from one instructional design model to the next, most of the models include the analysis of instructional problems and the design, development, implementation and evaluation of instruction procedures and materials intended to solve those problems. How did this instructional design process come into being? This portion of this chapter will focus on answering that question.
The Origins of Instructional Design: World War 11
The origins of instructional design procedures have been traced to World War II (Dick, 1987). During the war, a large number of psychologists and educators who had training and experience in conducting experimental research were called on to conduct research and develop training materials for the military services. These individuals, including Robert Gagne. Leslie Briggs, John Flanagan, and many others, exerted considerable influence on the characteristics of the training materials that were developed, basing much of their work on instructional principles derived from research and theory on instruction, learning, and human behavior (Baker, 1973; Saettler, 1990)
Moreover, psychologists used their knowledge of evaluation and testing to help assess the skills of trainees and select the individuals who were most likely to benefit from particular training programs. For example, at one point in the war, the failure rate in a particular flight training program was unacceptably high. To overcome this problem, psychologists examined the general intellectual, psychomotor and perceptual skills of individuals who were able to successfully perform the skills taught in the program, and then developed tests that measured these traits. These tests were used to screen candidates for the program, those individuals who scored poorly being directed into other programs. As a result of using this examination of entry skills as a screening device, the military was able to significantly increase the percentage of personnel who successfully completed the program (Gagne, personal communication, 1985).
Immediately after the war, many of the psychologists who were responsible for the success of World War II military training programs continued to work on solving instructional problems. Organizations such as the American Institutes for Research were estiablished for this purpose. During the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, psychologists working for such organizations started viewing training as a system, and developed a number of innovative analysis, design, and evaluation procedures (Dick, 1987). For example. during this period, a detailed task analysis methodology was developed by Robert B. Miller while he worked on projects for the military (Miller. 1953. 1962). His work and those of other early pioneers in the instructional design field are summarized in Psychological Principles in System Dei’elopmenr, edited by Gagne (1962b).
More Early Developments:
The Programmed Instruction Movement
The programmed instruction movement, which ran from the mid-1950s through the mid1960s, proved to be another major factor in the development of the systems approach. In 1954, B. F. Skinner’s article entitled The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching began what might be called a minor revolution in the field of education. In this article and later ones (e.g., Skinner, 1958), Skinner described his ideas about the requirements for increasing human learning and the desired characteristics of effective instructional materials. Skinner stated that such materials, called programmed instructional materials, should present instruction in small steps, require active responses to frequent questions, provide immediate feedback, and allow for learner self-pacing. Moreover, because each step was small, it was thought that learners would answer all questions correctly and thus be positively reinforced by the feedback they received.
The process that Skinner and others (cf. Lumsdaine & Glaser, 1960) described for developing programmed instruction exemplified an empirical approach to solving educational problems: Data regarding the effectiveness of the materials were collected, instructional weaknesses were identified, and the materials were revised accordingly. In addition to this trial and revision procedure, which today would be called formative evaluation, the process for developing programmed materials involved many of the steps found in current instructional design models. As Heinich (1970) indicates:
Programmed instruction has been credited by some with introducing the systems approach to education. By analyzing and breaking down content into specific behavioral objectives, devising the necessary steps to achieve the objectives, setting up procedures to try out and revise the steps, and validating the program against attainment of the objectives, programmed instruction succeeded in creating a small but effective self-instructional system-a technology of instruction. (p. 123)
The Popularization of Behavioral Objectives
As indicated above, those involved in designing programmed instructional materials often began by identifying the specific objectives learners who used the materials would be expected to attain. In 1962, Robert Mager. recognizing the need to teach educators how to write objectives, wrote Preparing Objectives for Programmed Instruction. This small, humorously written programmed book, now in its third edition (Mager, 1997), has proved to be very popular and has sold over 1.5 million copies. The book describes how to write objectives that include a description of desired learner behaviors, the conditions under which the behaviors are to be performed, and the standards (criteria) by which the behaviors are to be judged. Many present-day adherents of the instructional design process advocate the preparation of objectives that contain these three elements.
Although Mager popularized the use of objectives, the concept was discussed and used by educators at least as far back as the early 1900s. Among early advocates of the use of clearly stated objectives were Bobbitt, Charters, and Burk (Gagne, 1965a). However, Ralph Tyler has often been considered the father of the behavioral objectives movement. In 1934, he wrote that objectives must be defined in terms that specify the behaviors a course should help develop (cited in Walbesser & Eisenberg, 1972). During the famous Eight-Year Study that Tyler directed, it was found that when schools did specify objectives, those objectives were usually quite vague. By the end of the project, however, it was demonstrated that objectives could be clarified by stating them in behavioral terms and that those objectives could serve as the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of instruction (Borich, 1980; Tyler, 1975a).
In the 1950s, behavioral objectives were given another boost when Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues published the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (1956). The authors of this work indicated that within the cognitive domain there were various types of learning outcomes, that objectives could be classified according to the type of learner behavior described therein, and that there was a hierarchical relationship among the various types of outcomes. Moreover, they indicated that tests should be designed to measure each of these types of outcomes. As we shall see in the next two sections of this chapter, similar notions described by other educators had significant implications for the systematic design of instruction.
The Criterion-Referenced Testing Movement
In the early 1960s, another important factor in the development of the instructional design process was the emergence of criterion-referenced testing. Until that time, most tests, called norm-referenced tests, were designed to spread out the performance of learners, resulting in some students doing well on a test and others doing poorly. In contrast, a criterion-referenced test is intended to measure how well an individual can perform a particular behavior or set of behaviors, irrespective of how well others perform. As early as 1932, Tyler had indicated that tests Could he used for such purposes (Dale. 1967). And later, Flanagan (1951) and Ehel ( 1962) discussed the differences between such tests and the more familiar norm-referenced measure. However,. Robert Glaser (1963: Glaser & Klaus. 1962) was the first to use the term criterion-referenced measur. In discussing such measures. Glaser (1963) indicated that they could he used to assess student entrylevel behavior and to determine the extent to which students had acquired the behaviors an instructional program was designed to teach. The use of criterion-referenced tests for these two purposes is a central feature of instructional design procedures.
Robert M. Gagne: Domains of Learning, Events of Instruction, and Hierarchical Analysis
Another important event in the history of instructional design occurred in 1965, with the publication of the first edition of The Conclirions off Learning, written by Robert Gagne (I965b). In this book, Gagne described five domains, or types, of learning outcomes-verbal information, intellectual skills, psychomotor skills, attitudes, and cognitive strate gy,ies-each of which required a different set of conditions to promote learning. Gagne also provided detailed descriptions of these conditions for each type of learning outcome.
In the same volume, Gagne also described nine events of instruction, or teaching activities, that he considered essential for promoting the attainment of any type of learning outcome. Gagne also described which instructional events were particularly crucial for which type of outcome and discussed the circumstances under which particular events could be excluded. Now in its fourth edition (Gagne, 1985). Gagne’s description of the various types of learning outcomes and the events of instruction remain cornerstones of instructional design practices.
Gagne’s work in the area of learning hierarchies and hierarchical analysis also has had a significant impact on the instructional design field. In the early 1960s and later in his career (e.g.,-Gagn6, 1962a, 1985; Gagne, Briggs, & Wager, 1992; Gagne & Medsker, 1996), Gagne indicated that skills within the intellectual skills domain have a hierarchical relationship to each other: To readily learn to perform a superordinate skill, one would first have to master the skills subordinate to it. This concept leads to the important notion that instruction should be designed so as to ensure that learners acquire subordinate skills before they attempt to acquire superordinate ones. Gagne went on to describe a hierarchical analysis process (also called learning task analysis or instructional task analysis) for identifying subordinate skills. This process remains a key feature in many instructional design models.
Sputnik: The Indirect Launching of Formative Evaluation
In 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first orbiting space satellite, a series of events began that would eventually have a major impact on the instructional design process. The U.S. government, shocked by the success of the Soviet effort, responded by pouring millions of dollars into improving math and science education in the United States. The instructional materials that were developed with these funds were usually written by subject matter experts and produced without tryouts with learners. Years later, in the mid- I960s, when it was discovered that many of these materials were not particularly effective, Michael Scriven (1967) pointed to the need to try out drafts of instructional materials with learners before the materials were put in their final form. This process would enable educators to examine the materials and, if necessary, revise them while the materials were still in their formative stases. Scriven termed this tryout and revision process formative evaluation and contrasted it with what he labeled summative evaluation, the testing of instructional materials after they are in their final form.
Although the terms formative evaluation and summative evaluation were coined by Scriven, the distinction between these two_ approaches was previously made by Lee Cronbach (1963). Moreover, during the 1940s and the 1950s, a number of educators, such as Arthur Lumsdaine, Mark May. and C. R. Carpenter, described procedures for evaluating instructional materials that were still in their formative stages (Cambre, 1981). However, in spite of the writings of such educators, very few of the instructional products that were developed in the 1940s and 1950s went through any sort of formative evaluation process. This situation changed somewhat in the late 1950s and through the 1960s as many of the programmed instructional materials that were developed during that period were tested while they were being developed. However. authors such as Susan Markle (1967) decried a lack of rigor in testing processes. In light of this problem. Markle prescribed detailed procedures for evaluating materials both during and after the design process. These procedures are much like the formative and summative evaluation techniques that are generally prescribed today.
Early Instructional Design Models
In early and mid-1960s, the concepts that were being developed in such areas as task analysis, objective specification, and criterion-referenced testing were linked together to form a process, or model, for systematically designing instructional materials. Among the first individuals to describe such models were Gagne (1962b). Glaser (1962. 1965), and Silvem (1964). They used terms such as instructional design, system development, systematic instruction, and instructional system to describe the models they created. Other instructional design models that were created and employed during this decade included those described by Banathy (1968), Barson (1967), and Hamerus (1968).
The 1970s: Burgeoning of Interest in Instuctional Design
During the 1970s, the number of instructional design models greatly increased. Building on the works of those who preceded them, many individuals created new models for systematically designing instruction (e.g., Dick & Carey, 1978; Gagne & Briggs, 1974; Gerlach & Ely, 1971; Kemp, 1971). Indeed, by the er.J of the decade, over forty such models had been identified (Andrews & Goodson, 1980). (For a discussion of many of the instructional design -models developed in the 1980s and 1990s, see Gustafson and Branch [1997b].)
During the 1970s, interest in the instructional design process flourished in a variety of different sectors. In 1975, several branches of the U.S. military adopted an instructional design model (Branson et al., 1975) that was intended to guide the development of training materials within those branches. In academia, many instructional improvement centers were created during the first half of the decade with the intent of helping faculty use media and instructional design procedures to improve the quality of their instruction (Gaff. 1975; Gustafson & Bratton, 1984). Moreover, many graduate programs in instructional design were created (Partridge & Tennyson, 1979; Redfield & Dick. 1984; Silber. 1982). In business and industry, many organizations, seeing the value of using instructional design to improve the quality of training, began adopting the approach (cf. Mager, 197: Miles, 1983). Internationally, many nations, such as South Korea. Liberia. and Indonesia, saw the benefits of using instructional design to solve instructional problems in those countries (Chadwick. 1986; Morgan, 1989). These nation- supported the design of new instructional programs, created organizations to support the use of instructional design, and provided support to individuals desiring training in this field. Many of these developments were chronicled in the Journal of Instructional Development, a journal that was first published during the 1970s and that was the forerunner to the development section of Educational Technology Research and Development.
The 1980s: Growth and Redirection
In many sectors, the interest in instructional design that burgeoned during the previous decade continued to grow during the 1980s. Interest in the instructional design process remained strong in business and industry (Bowsher, 1989: Galagan. 1989). in the military (Chevalier, 1990; Finch, 1987; McCombs, 1986), and in the international arena (Ely & Plomp, 1986; Morgan. 1989).
In contrast to its influence in the aforementioned sectors, during the 1980s, instructional design had minimal impact in other areas. In the public school arena, some curriculum development efforts involved the use of basic instructional design processes (e.g., Spady, 1988), and some instructional design textbooks for teachers were produced (e.g., Dick & Reiser, 1989: Gerlach & Ely, 1980; Sullivan & Higgins, 1983). However, in spite of these efforts, evidence indicated that instructional design was having little impact on instruction in the public schools (Branson & Grow, 1987; Burkman, 1987b; Rossett & Garbosky, 1987). In a similar vein, with a few exceptions (e.g., Diamond, 1989), instructional design practices had a minimal impact in higher education. Whereas instructional improvement centers in higher education were growing in number through the mid1970s, by 1983 more than one fourth of these organizations had been disbanded, and there was a general downward trend in the budgets of the remaining centers (Gustafson & Bratton, 1984). Burkman (1987a, 1987b) provides an enlightening analysis of the reasons why instructional design efforts in schools and universities have not been successful, and contrasts these conditions with the more favorable conditions that exist in business and the military.
During the 1980s, there was growing interest in how the principles of cognitive psychology could be applied in the instructional design process, and a number of publications outlining potential applications were described (e.g., Bonner, 1988; Divesta & Rieber, 1987; “Interview with Robert M. Gagnc,” 1982; Low, 1980). However, several leading figures in the field have indicated that the actual effects of cognitive psychology on instructional design practices during this decade were rather small (Dick, 1987; Gustafson, 1993).
A factor that did have a major effect on instructional design practices in the 1980s was the increasing interest in the use of microcomputers for instructional purposes. With the advent of these devices. many professionals in the instructional design field turned their attention to producing computer-based instruction (Dick, 1987; Shrock, 1995). Others discussed the need to develop new models of instructional design to accommodate the interactive capabilities of this technology (Merrill, Li, & Jones, 1990a, 1990b). Moreover, computers began to be used as tools to automate some instructional design tasks (Merrill & Li. 1989).
In addition, the relatively new performance technology movement, with its emphasis on front-end analysis, on-the-job performance, business results, and non-instructional solution, to performance problems. was beginning to have an effect on instructional design practices (Rosenherg. 1988. 1990: Rossett, 1990). It was during the 1990s, however, that the field was significantly affected by this movement.
The 1990s: Changing Views and Practices
During the 1990s. a variety of developments had a significant impact on instructional design principles and practices. As indicated above, one of the major influences was the performence technology movement, which broadened the scope of the instructional design field. As a result of this movement, many instructional designers began conducting more careful analyses of the causes of performance problems, and oftentimes discovered that poor training, or lack of training, was not the cause. In many such instances, instructional designers prescribed non-instructional solutions, such as changes in incentive systems or in the work environment, to solve such problems (Dean, 1995). Thus the types of activities many instructional designers engaged in greatly expanded. Chapter 9 of this text provides a detailed description of the performance technology movement.
Another factor that affected the field during the 1990s was the growing interest in constructivism, a collection of similar views (labeled, by some, as a theory) of learning and instruction that gained increasing popularity throughout the decade. The instructional ,principles associated with constructivism include requiring learners to (a) solve complex and realistic problems, (b) work together to solve those problems, (c) examine the problems from multiple perspectives, (d) take ownership of the learning process (rather than being passive recipients of instruction), and (e) become aware of their own role in the knowledge construction process (Driscoll. 2(00). During the past decade, constructivist views of learning and instruction have had an impact on the thoughts and actions of many theorists and practitioners in the instructional design field. For example, the constructivist emphasis on designing “authentic:” learning tasks-tasks that reflect the complexity of the real-world environment in which learners will he using the skills they are learning-has had an effect on how instructional design is being practiced and taught (Dick. 1996).