The historical influences of instructional design and technology (IDT) are rooted from the fusion of education psychology with the advancements of audio and visual instructional technology of the early 20th century. Instructional films were introduced, in the United States, in the early 1900’s and were praised by innovators, like Thomas Edison, but adoption was slow due to teacher resistance, the difficulty of operating film projectors, a lack of valuable materials, and costs of ownership and maintenance (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012). An important component to the instructional design movement was the merger of three organizations, in 1932, that formed the Department of Visual Instruction (DVI), which would eventually evolve into the Association of Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), a respected organization in IDT field today (Saettler, 1990).
The role of using audio visual training shifted from education to training films for the military during World War II where instructional design developed as a systems approach for training materials influenced by field pioneers Robert, Gagne, Leslie Briggs, and John Flanagan. Advances in film, slide, overhead projectors, and audio advancements further enhanced the speed and mastery of learning for American troops (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012). The successful implementation of delivering training materials using technology demonstrated the potential and scalability of instructional design to a broader audience.
In 1954, B.F. Skinner’s article, The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching (1954), introduced the process of providing immediate feedback for self-paced learning, suggesting that positive reinforcement would improve learning over small steps. The instructional design field now recognizes this process as formative evaluation. Throughout the next decade, pioneers of instructional design began to develop elements we currently recognize in instructional design models. Benjamin Bloom, and colleagues, enriched the expansion of measurable learning objectives by developing a hierarchy categorizing learning behaviors with Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (1956). Robert Mager promoted the idea of writing objectives to perform desired behaviors, the conditions of performance, and the criteria for assessment in Preparing Objectives for Programmed Instruction (1962). Robert Gagne built on these ideas with The Conditions of Learning (1965), detailing five types of learning outcomes- “verbal information, intellectual skills, psychomotor skills, attitudes, and cognitive strategies-each of which required a different set of conditions to promote learning” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012). The foundations established by instructional pioneers integrated into multiple instructional design models along with the advancement of communications technology lead to what we currently recognize as the field of instructional design and technology.
Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, the influences of instructional...