Senin, 03 September 2012

Instructional Technology Chapter 4


Chapter 4
The Practice of Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology has developed through consistent interaction between theory and practice. At times, theory has provided direction for practice, and at other times practice has preceded theoretical analysis. This phenomenon is not unusual for a distinctly applied and practical pro­fession.
The influence of diverse theoretical stances was explored in Chapter Three Instructional Technology is somewhat unique in that it also relics upon models to supplement theory. The most generally used models in the field are procedural in nature, and the vast majority of these models guide the design processes. While these procedural models have a theo­retical basis, most also summarize successful practice or respond to the unique characteristics of a given setting.
Instructional Technology practice has influenced, to a great extent, the evolution of the field and, therefore, has had considerable impact on how the field itself has been defined. Moreover, practice has had more influence than theory on the manner in which the field is viewed by those outside of the field.


The Elements That Shape Instructional Technology Practice
While practice is often shaped by models and foundational theory, the practice of Instructional Technology is also greatly influenced by the many elements which facilitate or constrain the use of such models and theory in the workplace. These elements include:
·        The type of instructional content;
·        the nature of the learner;
·        the organization in which instruction occurs;
·        the capabilities of available tools; and
·        the expertise of the practitioner.
Instructional Technology techniques and procedures, especially those related to instructional design, are presented as generic models with variations dependent upon the type of subject matter to be taught and, to a lesser extent, the prerequisite skills and background of the learner. How­ever, as with any practical field, the needs and priorities of the organi­zation coupled with the resources and constraints of the instructional set­ting have as powerful an influence upon practice as do the content demands which tend to be more theoretically established, or even learner needs which are often subsumed under organizational or content needs.
The dimensions of Instructional Technology practice tend to expand as the capabilities of the available technologies increase. Clearly, the introduction of the microcomputer into education and training has dra­matically changed the nature of practice in the field, and as computers become more commonplace and more powerful the possibilities for the field have multiplied in an exponential fashion.
As with any field, the quality of practice is determined to a great extent by the skills and expertise of the practitioners. Such expertise has evolved through the years as a function of the many changes in the field, both theoretical and practical. It is also a function of the nature of the positions practitioners assume in the workplace. These positions have been expanding as the benefits of the field become more obvious in a variety of organizations.
This chapter will discuss the impact of practice on the evolution of Instructional Technology. It will address the role of the work setting, the jobs themselves, and the expertise of the professionals in defining current patterns of practice. The ethical framework of the field will also be exam­ined in terms of its influence upon Instructional Technology practice. In addition, this chapter will summarize the historical relationship between practitioner activity and the manner in which the field has been defined.
The Context of Instructional Technology Practice
The various communities of practitioners influence the development of beliefs, values, and priorities in a field. Changes in these beliefs and values are precipitated by both the goals and the resources of a particular work environment. Such impact is particularly significant in Instructional Technology because of the major changes in the work settings of instruc­tional technologists in the past quarter century.
The Scope of Instructional Technology Practice
Typically, grad­uates of Instructional Technology programs find employment in a variety of work settings. These are shown in Figure 4.1.
The expanding range of settings in which instructional technologists work has had profound impact on the field. Of primary importance has been expansion into the world of private sector training. In most geo­graphical areas, training jobs now specifically call for advanced training in Instructional Technology or a related field. Ely (1992) cites the trend in many areas for instructional development to be practiced more in non- school settings than in schools. This trend began over a decade ago, and appears to be continuing. Nevertheless, school media specialists are still standard in most K-12 institutions and commonly influence curriculum design and implementation.
From the perspective of many in the field, the more dramatic change has not been so much in terms of a shift to training applications, but rather the expansion of Instructional Technology practice throughout the world. In some cases the international arena is a reflection of the world­wide structure of many American corporations; however, this does not account for all activity. Foreign corporations and ministries of education have supported the expansion of Instructional Technology, often by encouraging advanced study in this area. Developing countries are finding educational direction from this field. In addition, some countries such as Canada and the Netherlands have substantial Instructional Technology academic programs in their own colleges and universities. Moreover, there is a solid, and growing, base of international research and literature.
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This dramatic change in the practice of Instructional Technology has had little impact on the basic structure of the field. The five general domains of the field continue to be relevant to each work context. What the employment setting does impact are the resources used, the type of content addressed, and at times the processes applied. These variations may impact role, function, or product.
Another feature of present day work in this field is the fact that many groups have incorporated the applications of technology into their work. As a consequence technologies—even the instructional technolo­gies—are not the interest of this field exclusively. Systems engineers, computer programmers, teachers and academics in many content areas— all have become interested in technology and its uses.
Practice Variations Among Work Settings. Because the business and industrial training arena predominates in some areas, there is a new emphasis in the field on topics such as:
·        skill-oriented instruction and subsequent transfer of training;
·        content-centered, rather than learner-centered instruction;
·        front-end analysis and instructional systems design;
·        distance learning technologies;
·        the nature of the adult learner; and
·        performance technology.
Training environments are often the arenas in which much of the current high-end technology product development occurs. This is due pri­marily to the fact that private corporations frequently devote more resources to technology than individual schools, or even entire school districts, in the K-12 environment. Moreover, very large corporations can spread their technology investments across a large number of trainees and still be cost efficient on a per student basis.
The training environment also tends to emphasize productivity and reducing the design cycle time. These pressures are leading to the devel­opment of electronic performance support systems and new approaches to design and development in the search for more efficient techniques (Dick, 1993; Wager, 1993). However, at times there are also instances in which critical phases, such as evaluation and follow-up, are de-empha­sized or eliminated altogether in order to save time and money.
School settings have other needs which impact the practice of Instructional Technology in these environments, including:
·        flexible, teacher-controlled instruction;
·        meeting the comprehensive needs of students;
·        instruction that does not rely on extensive front-end design; and
·        assessment and evaluation
Because of the typically greater instructional autonomy of teachers in school settings, as compared with training environments, there are often problems implementing highly structured instructional systems. In addi­tion, it is not uncommon for some teachers to believe that systematic procedures and technology-based instruction is-inhumane. Consequently, the applications of Instructional Technology in school settings usually incorporate more opportunities for teachers to make on-the-spot decisions to accommodate special student needs or special events. Even though the typical K-12 situation has fewer technology resources than a corporate setting, there is often a wider variety of instructional strategies employed than is the norm in a shorter-term employee training situation. Finally, even though there are severe shortages of time and monetary resources in public education, there is usually a greater regard for assessment and evaluation procedures in schools than in the typical business setting (Seels and Glasgow, 1991).
It is not surprising that the field has had some difficulty using exactly the same procedures in these two settings without adjustments (Gustafson, 1993), even though there is still a general belief in the validity of generic procedures which transcend setting constraints. Nonetheless, Instructional Technology principles are applied to a wide variety of teaching environ­ments creating a rich practice field, even though there are some resulting tensions.
The Jobs of Instructional Technologists
Jobs of instructional technologists are usually determined as much by the structure and goals of a particular work setting as they are by the function of the position. Seels and Glasgow (1990) have described the job market first by distinguishing between the roles of researcher and practitioner. While researchers in academic settings may be concerned with any domain of the field, they typically specialize in one (or perhaps two) areas of interest. In schools or training environments, most research­ers in those organizations are engaged in evaluation research.
Practitioners also may be concerned with any domain of the field, but here too, school-based professionals tend to specialize in a more lim­ited sphere. While there are generalists, the broad scope of Instructional Technology typically prohibits high levels of expertise by a single indi­vidual in all domains of activity. This is true for both theorists and prac­titioners alike. Most instructional technologists have jobs that demand spe­cialized skills in one or two areas—design, and development of certain technologies, or media utilization, for example.
Figure 4.2 shows Seels and Glasgow's (1990) more complete con­ceptualization of the roles of instructional designers. Here roles are shown to be a function of the major job category, work setting, and the type of product produced. Hence, one might find an instructional designer work­ing in government primarily upon specific computer-based instructional modules, for example. In addition, the jobs demand a specified level of expertise—(I) basic, (II) intermediate, or (III) advanced. It is possible to extend this framework to the field as a whole with some modifications. Practitioners may be managers, for example, in which they are concerned with all domains on a general level, but with the utilization and manage­ment domains specifically.
Job titles themselves have little consistency from organization to organization, even within the same work setting. In the school setting, persons with instructional design expertise may be teachers, principals, or curriculum specialists. In the training environment, persons with instructional design expertise are more likely to be called designers, but they may have other titles as well. Rothwell and Kazanas (1992) identify alternative job titles as performance technologist, instructional developer, project supervisor, education specialist, employee educator, trainer, instructional technologist, or instructional systems specialist.

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The most stable job titles tend to belong to the more traditional func­tions within the discipline, those of school media personnel. The school library media specialist and now the computer coordinator are among the most commonly understood positions. In so many other situations, one must examine the actual duties of a position to determine whether the job is actually that of an instructional technologist. To qualify, the position (regardless of its label) must relate to one or more of the domains of the field. Typically, this job will deal with either instructional products, instructional processes, or both.
The Role of Practitioner Expertise
Formal Training and Re-training. In many situations, today's instructional technologists are more skilled than those of past years. More practitioners have received formal training, usually at the graduate level. In 1991 there were 195 masters and 6th year degree programs in the field, and 63 doctoral programs in the United States alone. However, the number of academic programs here has appeared to stabilize after con­siderable growth (Ely, 1992). The nature of training in the average pro­gram has changed to keep current with the new technologies and the new settings in which graduates are employed. Seels (1993b) notes that aca­demic programs are "struggling with how to add topics such as instruc­tional strategies, project management, summative evaluation, and learner characteristics while expanding computer-assisted instruction into inte­grated media and telecommunications into distance learning.... " (p. 22). The extent to which these programs can quickly respond to both the theoretical and technological changes in the field, as well as to the changes demanded by practitioners, will determine the levels of expertise new instructional technologists will bring to the workplace.
Furthermore, practicing instructional technologists will continue to develop their skills and expertise through their work activity outside of the scope of formal training programs. This is characteristic of this field because of the rapid growth in new technologies, and it accounts for the proliferation of seminars, continuing education courses, and workshops often at the heavily-attended association annual meetings. Maintaining current levels of expertise is a constant problem in the field, especially in private sector training where many persons still have acquired their background only in an informal manner. While the need to keep up-to-date is most often associated with knowledge of the newer technologies and command of the design process, it is also an issue with respect to other rapidly expanding theoretical developments.
Certification of Professional Competence. With the expansion of Instructional Technology, the various associations have tackled the task of developing and agreeing upon a list of core competencies for key prac­titioner jobs, primarily those in the employee training arena. The related issue of certification of professional competence has also been addressed. Both AECT's Division of Instructional Development and the National Society for Performance and Instruction (NSPI) established similar tasks forces to begin such work, and their efforts were soon merged in the formation of a Joint Certification Task Force in 1977.
In addition to providing a basis for certification, the task force felt the competencies could be used for:
·        self-assessment and professional growth;
·        establishing common terminology;
·        academic program development;
·        aiding employers in identifying qualified practitioners; and
·        providing a basis for defining the field (Task force on ID Certi­fication, 1981).
This work is continued by the International Board of Standards for
Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTPI) which was formed as a
not-for-profit corporation in 1984 with the approval and encouragement
of AECT and NSPI. The issues, however, are complex. While many sup‑
port the notion of voluntary certification, there are those who fear that
such a process will paralyze the field and the preparatory programs in the
universities and colleges by restricting the exploration of new ideas and
new technologies (Boothe, 1984). Others see certification as a "standard-
setting device that assures quality in the field" (Coscarelli, 1984, p. 22).
Today, the certification issue is often seen as an element of the quality movement in American industry. Certification is being proposed as one way of limiting variability, a way of ensuring quality performance and quality instructional products. However, there is still much contro­versy surrounding the certification issue.
Some see the certification of instructional designers and trainers as comparable to the traditional right of the state to certify classroom teachers or to endorse specialty areas in education, such as school library media specialists, instructional technologists, or computer coordinators. These regulations have had both positive -and negative consequences. On the positive side, teacher certification has ensured a basic level of formal preparation, and it has provided for minimum components in that training. A primary example would be requiring that teachers have had supervised classroom experience with children prior to assuming a position with full responsibilities. On the negative side, some see certification standards as the source of increasing bureaucratization of the preparation of teachers which simply adds requirements as a result of pressures from interested parties rather than basic needs.
While certification is typically required for teachers, currently few have suggested that certification of Instructional Technology professionals in the training arena be mandatory. Although there has been pressure to require the certification of technology specialists in school settings, with few exceptions only certification of the school library media specialist is commonly mandated at this time.
Certification of academic programs in the field, however, has been the responsibility of NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education). It recognizes Instructional Technology as a knowl­edge base for both teacher preparation programs and for advanced pro­fessional study in education. Instructional Technology programs are reviewed through the auspices of AECT, which approves standards, trains reviewers, and issues the final decisions. Approved Instructional Tech­nology programs, thus, contribute to the overall accreditation of a college of education. There has traditionally been a close relationship between the definition and domains of the field and the NCATE accreditation stan­dards, and the 1994 definition is the basis of the newest NCATE guide­lines for reviewing Instructional Technology programs (Caffarella, Earle, Hanclosky, and Richey, 1994)
The Ethics of Instructional Technology Practice
Codification of Ethical Standards
A key facet of any profession is the recognition and enforcement of a standard set of ethical practices. These standards then provide another factor which shapes daily practice within a field. AECT has had a code of professional ethics and procedures for dealing with ethical issues since its formation as an association a quarter of a century ago. Moreover in its previous role as part of the National Education Association, the Divi­sion of Audio Visual Instruction (DAVI), the association was also con­cerned with a formalized codes of ethics.. (See Appendix C for a copy of the current AECT Code of Ethics.) The fact that AECT took the initiative to develop an ethical code was due in part to the advocacy of James Finn (1953) who saw a codification and vigorous enforcement of professional ethics as one of the six criteria of a profession. Since the code was approved, the Committee on Professional Ethics of AECT has been charged with conducting an annual review of the code, resulting in adjust­ments and revisions over the years (Welliver. 1989).
This activity was fortuitous; given the attention society is currently placing on ethical issues in a variety of settings. Ethics is impacting such diverse arenas as politics, sports, finance, academic research, and man­ufacturing. The dictionary definition of ethics is "a set of moral values, those principles of conduct governing an individual or a group." These standards of conduct serve as a more abstract source of direction for daily practice. They are, nonetheless, a vital part of establishing the norms of professional behavior in any field.
Ethical Concerns of the Profession
Because of the rapid technological change which is occurring, ethical norms also are being changed, and new ones established and promulgated. The issues confronted are far-reaching. Some topics are obvious, such as the appropriate use of duplication technologies, including not only print, audio and video, but also computer-based duplication. These standards impact new copyright laws and 'fair use' procedures. In addition, activ­ities of computer 'hackers', such as illegally gaining entry into data bases, and creating and disseminating computer viruses, are posing new prob­lems. These issues are being addressed in the courts, as well as in codes of ethics.
The new technologies have created other ethical issues which are less apparent to many and more subtle in their impact. For example, the question of equity in access to educational opportunities can be an issue with respect to technology. Since the effective use of technology in edu­cation often requires systemic change in order to provide access to new hardware, software, and innovative learning processes, there is a greater possibility of creating a bipolar society by widening the gap between the `haves' and the 'have nots'. This poses both an ethical and practical dilemma. In addition, automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence may present ethical questions relative to the application of these advances in educational systems.
These and other ethical concerns may become even more compli­cated when other technological advances come to fruition. For example, medical technologies may provide methods of enhancing memory, facil­itating learning or altering human perceptions and understanding. In these situations it will be more difficult to determine what is appropriate behav­ior and what might have a long-term negative impact. The code of ethics provides direction for daily practice and a basis for understanding and interpreting the ethical implications of a variety issues which may confront today's practitioners.
The Role of Practice as an Influence Upon the Evolution of instructional Technology
Instructional Technology has moved from being viewed as a craft, to a profession, and now a field of study. This evolution has paralleled its growth from primarily technician-level practice in the workplace to professional activity requiring more advanced knowledge and preparation, and then to a field with its own distinct bodies of scholarly research and practitioner expertise. This evolution has been described in a series of key studies of the field, as well as in attempts to define the scope and functions of the field.
The Jobs in Instructional Media Study of 1970
During the late 1960s the Department of Audiovisual Instruction of the National Education Association (the precursor of AECT) conducted an analysis of Instructional Technology practice at that time. This project was undertaken as a way of analyzing the field and, in effect, provided a history of practice to that point. The report of this project, Jobs in Instructional Media (Wallington, et al.,1970) and became known as the JIMS report.
Foundations of the Study. The JIMS study was based upon two separate orientations. The first was the notion of a functional job analysis. This technique, developed by Sidney A. Fine of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, involves identifying the complete array of tasks in a specific job. Such tasks are then grouped in terms of whether they pertain to data, people, or things. Each category is further sub-divided into functions which can be described by their level of difficulty and the corresponding amount of instruction required to perform that function.
In addition to the functional job analysis techniques, the JIMS study was greatly influenced by a model of the domains of Instructional Tech­nology which had been developed in the Media Guidelines Project of the Teaching Research Division of the Oregon System of Higher Education. Figure 4.3 shows the domains of Instructional Technology as presented in the JIMS report. This chart is essentially the same as the model devel­oped in Oregon. This view equates the domains of the field with the functions performed by practitioners. It is an idea which has been embedded in most prior definitions of the field (AECT, 1972; AECT, 1977), as well as in this current definition. One distinction is that previously the functions of practitioners determined the domains of the field. In the 1994 defini­tion, the domains are established as areas of the knowledge base and the functions of practitioners are subsequently classified into the relevant domains.
Influence and Extensions of the JIMS Report. One conclusion derived from the JIMS report was that a very high percentage of jobs in the field actually involved paraprofessional tasks, such as equipment oper­ation. Consequently, the project expanded to systematically cluster related job tasks to provide the basis of a career ladder. The JIMS report, therefore, provided one basis for the field to develop into a profession.
However, the report also provided the base for other work which analyzed the nature of the field. AECT received a contract from the National Center for Educational Statistics to compile and clarify termi­nology related to the field. The resulting handbook of terminology was based upon the "changes in the concepts, processes, techniques, equip­ment and materials which comprise the field" (Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 1975, p. iii). This document was pred­icated upon the nature of practice as described in the JIMS report.
A second extension of the JIMS report was Chisholm and Ely's (1976) examination of the functions of media personnel. A major thesis of that book is summarized by the model presented in Figure 4.4 which relates user needs to the jobs of media personnel. That book also further developed the career ladders suggested by the JIMS report.
Although the 1977 AECT definition of the field modified the domain model used in the JIMS report, the classification of functions remained essentially the same. The 1977 definition, therefore, extends the appli­cation of the functional job analysis approach to describing a field.
The Relationships Between the 1994 Definition and Practice
The current definition of Instructional Technology is presented as a reflection of both theory and practice. The domains represent the knowl­edge base of the field in addition to providing the major scheme for clas­sifying the specific manner in which this knowledge is applied in the work­place. Even though the names of the domains themselves denote a process, each domain first must be expressed as forms of activity to solid­ify the connection to the world of practice. For example, sample activities associated with the design domain might include conducting a content analysis, or making a job aid. In keeping with the overall definition, the activities within each domain may relate to either instructional processes or instructional resources. These relationships are shown in Figure 4.5.
In effect, these process or product-related activities become the func­tions of a particular domain.
There are many professional competencies demonstrated by instruc­tional technologists when their work is associated even with only a single domain.

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Moreover, there are job titles associated with the same area of competence and performance. As any field expands there typically is a corresponding growth in the jobs, competence, processes and resources associated with each facet of that field. Instructional Technology is no exception. A result of this growth in the field, there has been an increase in job titles, as well as in the total number of jobs. The average levels of expertise demonstrated seem to have grown, and certainly the range and nature of competence has expanded to complement the expansion of technology it self.
Growth in a field, especially rapid growth, can stretch or even exceed the traditional boundaries of that field. In a sense this entire def­inition process is an effort to set and test such boundaries. The nature of the growth in Instructional Technology practice over the past quarter cen­tury seems to reaffirm both the 1994 definition and its five-domain structure. The attempt is to provide a framework that will also accommodate future growth in the practice of Instructional Technology, a framework that can subsume new job activities, new professional competencies, new technologies, and newly devised processes.
Summary
The 1994 definition of the field characterizes Instructional Technol­ogy as both theory and practice. This chapter has described the field from the orientation of practice. Currently, the practice of Instructional Tech­nology is influenced by the context of the workplace, the range of jobs typically available, and the expected level of expertise of those trained in the various aspects of the field. In addition, practice is shaped by the prevailing ethical standards in the profession. It is clear that the future growth of the field will continue to be shaped by practice, as well as by the expansion of its intellectual framework.

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