Lessons from the Past

In my opinion, many of Reiser’s (2001) historical arguments and claims of instructional design and technology still resonate within today’s academic environments. I have been a teacher for the past 18 years. I design and develop curriculum and use media in the delivery of educational material. From Reiser’s (2001) articles I have listed three “lessons from the past” that I have compared to my methods of teaching.

As outlined by Reiser (2014), I have implemented elements from Skinner’s list of “programmed instructional materials” (p. 59) in the development and delivery of my curriculum with in a post-secondary environment. I do teach and deliver material and instruction in smaller broken down steps or chunks (Reiser, 2001). The use of smaller steps allows me to acquire quicker updates as to how the students are doing. With quicker updates, I can pass on quicker, positive feedback, which allows the students to assimilate and improve. This process does allow the students, in the courses I teach, to move at their own pace while being able to work along side their peers.

The early 1920s and 30s introduced audiovisual media as an educational tool (Reiser, 2001). Audiovisual media is still used today as a pedagogical method to deliver academic material. Only the format and method of delivery of audiovisual media that has changed. Where once we used a projector, now we use the Internet. The use of digital audiovisual material is a staple in the material I deliver to the students. Since I have been working with computers, the format of digital audiovisual media has changed over the past 25 years. However, my focus has always been on the quality of the pedagogical material within in the audiovisual media.

Gagné’s five domains of learning, as outlined by Reiser (2001), might be the closest to contradict my teaching methods. Gagné (as cited by Reiser, 2001) outlines his five domains of learning as “verbal information, intellectual skills, psychomotor skills, attitudes, and cognitive strategies” (p. 2). This list of these learning outcomes or types (Reiser, 2001) does lay a good foundation for teaching. While Gagné’s five domains do not fully contradict my work, I would state that this list is missing domains. From my experience with adult learners, I would add emotional intelligence (Singh, 2006) and digital skills (UK Digital Skills Taskforce, 2014). Through the use of tailored exercises and open discussion I use in the classroom environment, the learner is allowed to use their emotional intelligence to express their societal beliefs, knowledge of contemporary issues, and grow their interpersonal skills (Singh, 2006). Digital skills can be quite broad and include the use of the Internet, the creation of digital media, the design of digital documents and even programming algorithms (UK Digital Skills Taskforce, 2014). I used to assume that the student has a solid background of digital skills, but most times, this is not the case.


Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53–64. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02504506

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part II: A history of instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(2), 57–67. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02504928

Singh, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence at work : a professional guide. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

UK Digital Skills Taskforce. (2014). Digital Skills for Tomorrow’S World Interim Report, (July). Retrieved from http://www.ukdigitalskills.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Binder-9-reduced.pdf

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