Instructional technology

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Instructional technology (IT) incorporates theoretical perspectives from diverse fields, including systems theory, innovation adoption theory, learning/psychological theories (behavioral, cognitive, and constructivist perspectives), and others. Rather than focus solely on the use of tools in education, such as computers, calculators, etc., the field as properly understood takes into account technology as a systematic means of solving problems.

The definition of instructional technology, as prepared by the Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) is based on the work of Seels & Richey (1994):

Instructional Technology is the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning. ... The words Instructional Technology in the definition mean a discipline devoted to techniques or ways to make learning more efficient based on theory but theory in its broadest sense, not just scientific theory. ... Theory consists of concepts, constructs, principles, and propositions that serve as the body of knowledge. Practice is the application of that knowledge to solve problems. Practice can also contribute to the knowledge base through information gained from experience. ... Of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation ... refer to both areas of the knowledge base and to functions performed by professionals in the field. ... Processes are a series of operations or activities directed towards a particular result. ... Resources are sources of support for learning, including support systems and instructional materials and environments. ... The purpose of instructional technology is to affect and effect learning (pp. 1-9). Citation as found on AECT site

Sometimes, "instructional technology" is referred to in other terms, largely depending on preference, program, or geography.

  • Educational Technology
  • Information & Communications Technology (outside the United States/North America)
  • Instructional Design
  • Instructional Systems Design
  • Instructional Design & Technology


Seels, B. B. & Richey, R. C. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field. Bloomington, IN: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.