As someone who is brand new to the field of education, I initially felt that “instructional technology” was a term describing the equipment or items used within an educational system. Items such as pens, paper, chalk, books, overhead projectors, video cassette recorders, and laptops were some that came to mind yet as I delved a bit deeper into this activity, I soon discovered that “instructional technology” was far more in-depth and overarching.

Robert A. Reiser, who is Florida State University’s Associate Dean for Research and professor in the Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies program (FSU, n.d), indicated that instructional technology was comprised of three components: Audio-video devices (the pieces that make up instructional technology); Systems Approach Process (the way of designing, carrying out, and evaluating learning and teaching); and Individualized Instruction (emphasizing the individual learner and their unique needs) (Reiser, 1987).

What I found interesting was that all three of these components could be traced back to the early 1600’s and the work of Johann Comenius (Reiser, 1987). Comenius suggested that humans learn best through their senses, which meant that real objects and diagrams (audio-video devices) should be used in conjunction with oral and written instruction. Comenius took an empirical approach to the design and improvement of education by proposing that a systems process should utilize inductive/scientific methods for evaluating learning efficacy. Finally, Comenius felt that new teaching disciplines had to be developed so that students would be treated and taught individually in accordance to methods that make studying less burdensome and more pleasant. This emphasis on the individual learner and their needs was the most common method of education leading up to the 1800’s as tutors individually instructed pupils (Reiser, 1987).

As we move further into the foundations of learning and technology course, I am looking forward to discovering how the initial philosophies of education have morphed throughout history and the resulting impact of technology on the field itself.



FSU. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2017, from

Reiser, R.A. (1987). Instructional technology: A history. In R.M. Gagné (Ed.), Instructional technology: Foundations. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.