Spector et al. review

Handbook of research on educational communications and technology - 3rd Edition

Below are my notes on the handbook. Comments welcome!

Historical foundations, M. Molenda Pg 4 Educational technology as a field has developed through a series of phases as new technologies have emerged. Its origins are in the use of visual and audio-visual systems, then radio, television, teaching machines, the design of instructional systems, computers and ultimately the use of the internet for both storage/processing of information and communication.

Pg 9 Barriers cited for the lack of use for audio-visual tools in the 1940/50s were identical to those cited for lack of use of computers in the 1990s. accessibility, lack of training, unreliability of equipment, limited budgets and difficulty in integrating into the curriculum.

Paradigm shifts in the field due to new thinking around learning theories from behaviourism, through cognitivism and finally constructivism. These theories led to the development of particular uses of technology designed to support the underpinning principles of the theories.

Theoretical foundations, J.M. Spector

Pg 21 Foundations of educational technology: the psychology of learning, communications theory, human-computer interactions and instructional design and development

Pg 23 Dewey How we think argues that we need to understand the nature of thought to be able to devise appropriate means and methods to train thought.

Pg 24 All learning involves language Vygotsky

Philosophical perspectives, K.L. Schuh and S.A. Barab

Pg 74 Merrills principles of ID

·      Task orientated approach

·      Activation principle

·      Demonstration principle

·      Application principle

·      Integration principle

Computer-mediated technologies, A.C. Graeser, P. Chipman and B.G. King

Pg 212 Most students do not know how to use advanced learning environments effectively, so modelling, scaffolding and feedback on their optimal use are necessary.

Technology-based knowledge systems, I. Douglas Pg 245 knowledge communities – ref for cloudworks

The learning objects literature D.A. Wiley

Pg 347 - 348 Wiley

Many different definitions of learning objects and a number of metaphors

Lego metaphor: small chunks of content which can be combined

Molecule metaphor: small chunks of content that according to their semantic and structural makeup have stronger affinities for binding with some learning objects, emphasises the role and importance of context

Bricks and mortar metaphor: small chunks of content which need some contextual glue to bind them together

Pf 351 the reusability paradox – the more reusable LOs are, the less instructionally effective they are and vice versa

Outcome-referenced, conditions-based theories and models, T.J. Ragan, P.L. Smith and L.K. Curda Pg 383 Outcome-reference, conditions-based theories and models Ragan Smith and Curda

Competencies for the new-age instructional designer, R.C. Sims and T.A. Koszalka Pg 574 term instructional design should be replaced with learner/learning design (Sims, 2006)

Cognitive task analysis R.E. Clark, D.F. Felden, J.J.G. van Merrienboer, K.A. Yates and S. Early Pg 579 Cognitive Task Analysis uses a variety of techniques and observations strategies to capture a description of knowledge that experts use to perform complex tasks.

Change agentry, B Beabout and A.A. Carr-Chellman Pg 620 despite the promise of technology, we are not seeing it revolutionise education, see also Cuban 1986 Cuban, L. (1986), Teachers and machines: the classroom use of technologies since 1920, New York: Teacher College Press.

Design languages, A.S. Gibbens, L. Botturi, E. Boot and J. Nelson, Pg 633 Design languages

Pg 634 Design languages and notation systems hold great practical and theoretical significance for instructional design. Instructional designeres use multiple design languages in the creation of designs. Notation systems make design languages visible and document those solutions. Design languages provide the building blocks of  an evolving design.


1.     Improved design team communications

2.     Improved designer-producer communications

3.     Improved designer-client communications

4.     Promotion of design innovation

5.     More direction from theory and more applicable theory

6.     More nuanced theory integration with designs

7.     Improved design sharing and comparisons of designs

8.     Improved designer education

9.     Design and production automation


A design language is a set of abstractions used to give structure, properties and texture to solutions of design problems.

Pg 640 Barton and Tusting noted that ‘ reification entails not only the negotiation of shared understanding but also enables particular forms of social relations to be shaped in the process of participation’.  Barton, D and Tusting, R.M. (2005), Beyond communities of practice: language, power and social context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Systems design for change in education and training, S.L. Watson, C.M. Reigeluth, W.R. Watson Pg 693 Nelson and Stolterman noted that fundamentally, design is a creative act, resulting in the creation of something that has not previously existed. It focuses on making choices to create the best design for a very specific system.  Nelson, H.G. and Stolterman, E. (2003), The design way, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.



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