I have worked in Educational Technology for over twenty years. While working on my doctorate in the field in the early 2000’s, we were still discussing if media influenced learning at all. My education at the time put a great deal emphasis into the Clark vs. Kozma debate from the 1980’S and 1990’s. Clark’s stance (Clark, 1983) then was that media were just the vehicles that deliver instruction, but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition. Kozma countered (Kozma, 1994) that it was time to stop questioning if media influence learning, but instead should researching the relationships between media and learning. With this debate, our field began to grow, as did the technologies to support us.
Evolution of Thought on Educational Technology
While working in academia during this same time, I saw a reluctance to offer online courses. There was a pervasive attitude that online learning was not equivalent to face to face instruction and therefore less desired. As this thought escalated the birth of the equivalency theory was born, that led instructional designers to think about designing instructional experiences that lead to the same student outcomes regardless of the modality the instruction was delivered (Simonson, 1999).
In the 2000s the concern over the “talking head” video came to light in our field. The thought that a high level of cognitive load would occur when providing learners with long videos and that video did not improve student learning outcomes. But through much research in the field we soon discovered that video is highly effective when designers take into account cognitive load, student engagement and active learning (Brame, 2016). From this research we began the task of creating pre-planned, shortened, personal videos that provided student activity for active participation.
Ed Tech – Ready to Step Up
I could provide many more theory to practice examples, but the point is that Educational Technology as a field is ready to lead and not follow. With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, institutions around the world are now closing campuses and continuing instruction remotely. At this point, contingency plans are being executed or developed and there is little to no time to react. We must do!
Faculty that have been Sage on the Stage lecturers now need your help to utilize technology to become the Guide on the Side. Their subject matter expertise is still significant, but you will help teach them to utilize new technologies to reach students anytime and anywhere. With so many solutions for synchronous and asynchronous education we can help our faculty and student succeed in these new and changing times.
Partners in Crisis
Having worked on the partner side of Educational Technology for the past 14 years, I have seen the industry grow and change vastly. As new technologies are created, institutions have had the ability to evaluate them while working with technology partners to improve these products until they are mission critical for our institutions. Right now, Educational Technology is mission critical on all campuses. I would like for those in the field designing courses and working with faculty to know that you are not alone in your important endeavors at this moment of importance. At Kaltura, my team and I are prepared to help you in any way that we can and are just a phone call away. Other vendors have also echoed this sentiment.
As for what the future holds following this emergency, I see nothing but respect for our field moving forward. We will help lead our institutions through this crisis and be the heroes that kept our institutions delivering quality learning as our missions deem. There will be more contingency plans in place and faculty trained to utilize technology in their classrooms. It wasn’t through a pandemic that we had hoped to become mission critical to our institutions, but we are here now to offer our research and guidance to our institutions. After the dust clears, Educational Technologists will continue to lead the way to create quality and equivalent educational experiences. Take care of yourselves and your family during these emergent times but be prepared to help your institutions lead the way into the future!
Brame C. J. (2016). Effective Educational Videos: Principles and Guidelines for Maximizing Student Learning from Video Content. CBE life sciences education, 15(4), es6. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-03-0125
Clark, R. (1983). Reconsidering Research on Learning from Media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459. Retrieved March 17, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/1170217.
Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on [email protected] scale conference, 41-50.Kozma, Robert B. (1994), The Influence of Media on Learning: The Debate Continues, School Library Media Research, Volume 22, Number 4, Summer 1994. From https://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/edchoice/SLMQ_InfluenceofMediaonLearning_InfoPower.pdf
Simonson, M. Equivalency theory and distance education. TECHTRENDS TECH TRENDS 43, 5 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02818157.
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