Foundations exist to guide the representation and transmission of information, and suggest a solid basis for research and development in the field (Spector, 2008). Four basic foundational areas of instructional technology include the psychology of learning, communications theory, human-computer interaction, and instructional design and development.
Because all learning involves language, communications theory becomes integral to instructional technology. Connections between learning and language are evident throughout history through many techniques and tools that have evolved the fundamental aspects of thinking and learning (Spector, 2008). Communication methods influence learning outcomes and impact design, deployment, and evaluation of instructional environments. The use and context of how we communicate give meaning to words and statements, making communications fundamental to meaning.
How we communicate has evolved greatly with the advancement of technology. Computers now support widespread learning and growth at a global level. One widely used method in human-computer interaction is the activity theory, which is a framework for studying humans and their use of artifacts (Spector, 2008). In Activity theory, purposeful social interactions are emphasized and research extends language games. In Merrill’s component display theory, the issue of learner control is introduced, and guidelines are provided for passing instructional computing systems to the learner (Spector, 2008).
The core area of professional practice in educational communications and technology is instructional design and development (Spector, 2008). As human activities, the general purpose is to facilitate and support human learning and performance. Instructional design and models were introduced based on the psychology of learning and what is known about effective communications (Spector, 2008). Likewise, instructional design principles have been developed that link back specifically to the psychology of learning and human perception (Spector, 2008). Due to my role in training and implementation, I am comfortable within the instructional design environment, and find that I appreciate my background in behavioral sciences more foten than not.
Spector, J. M., (2008). Theoretical foundations. In Spector, J. M., Merrill, M. D., van Merrienboer, J., & Driscoll, M. P. (Eds.). Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.