New Approaches and Trends in the Philosophy of Educational Technology for Learning and Teaching Environments

Ismail Ipek, Rushan Ziatdinov. (2017). New Approaches and Trends in the Philosophy of Educational Technology for Learning and Teaching Environments, European Journal of Contemporary Education 6(1), 182-184 [PDF].


The purpose of this study is to discuss instructional design and technology (IDT) model strategies for developing learning and teaching environments, based on philosophical approaches to educational technology theory. The study begins with a discussion of IDT models to define the history of educational technology or instructional technology theories, based on instructional strategies and improvements. In the study, authors discuss the strategies and steps that a design team should follow when designing learning environments in industry, business and military scenarios, based on the philosophy of educational technology and latest technologies, which should give way to effective learning environments. The steps include recognizing terminology in educational technology concepts, psychological and instructional foundations in instructional design (ID), as well as approaches to educational technology. To recap, our purpose is to combine necessary IDT model strategies for the pedagogical design of learning environments, with new technologies. We will also discuss powerful IDT models that aim to meet the very high expectations of digital and humanist education. To develop a high-quality learning environment, we will explain technology design steps and practice in order to improve the learning of tasks, complex cognitive skills, attitudes, motivations and competencies in the future trends of educational technology. At the end of the study, integrated technologies in e-learning were discussed and presented, based on foundations of IDT and the philosophy of educational technology. These included pedagogical, technological and organisational technologies, as well as the main barriers of implementation, which, in turn, include the perspectives of students, teachers and designers, learning materials, digital education, epistemology in educational technology, courseware design, new technologies and contextual settings.

  1. Introduction

Today, the developments in technology and the improvement of instructional design (ID) procedures with models have become focused on different sectors, such as industrial, business and military sectors, as well as on educational environments. With this in mind, new trends, technological innovations, philosophies pertaining to education, cultural perceptions and approaches all need to be discussed effectively, efficiently and globally, in order for us to recognize how badly we need international relationships, knowledge and active promotion of digital mobility with our partners for developing new schools, technologies, courseware, and learning design strategies, so that we may apply new ideas to them, and to potential learners. With this approach, scholars in the field of education, in addition to instructional design and technology (IDT), as well as other learning environments entailing different sectors, should commence discussing the philosophy of education from the beginning, in order to present possible changes for the future. They should start defining philosophical concepts, and follow, with understanding, the instructional terms and methods applied, thus far. Therefore, technology, education, instruction, learning design and multimedia design, for different levels, will be defined in order to provide the reaching of goals with learners and teachers, in learning environments for industrial, business and educational sectors.

The field of educational technology (ET) consists of both theory and ethical practice in the educational process, across different sectors (Januszewski, Molenda, 2008; Reiser, Dempsey, 2007; Seels, Glasgow, 1998; Seels, Richey, 1994). In this process, instructional design strategies provide contributions to global emerging technologies, for learning and teaching in educational technology and learning environments. These strategies deal with new technologies to develop learning environments, including digital learning, pedagogy online, learning design, humanism as digital humanism, collaborative learning, user-centered design and programming language, as well as instructional design models. The aim of the paper is to discuss and address basic dimensions, from past to present, for developing learning strategies to meet the objectives of temporary educational technology and its philosophical approach, which can be used interchangeably by instructional technology (IT) in the field of education, and in different sectors, as well.

2. Philosophy of Educational Technology and ID Models

All human societies, in the past and present, have focused on learning processes, and were interested in education. They have mentioned that teaching is the oldest career after dealing interests in education. There were no educated children who could read but, later on, they would learn to read, write and calculate, and also to employ the appropriate techniques in social learning, in order to reach individual goals. In addition to family life and learning skills, children need more activities and ways to live and thrive, within social groups. For this reason, perspectives on pluralistic societies might be changed, in individualistic terms, based on how the respective lifestyle changes. At this time, social life can be organised by rules, which are mentioned as parts of democracy and modern education. All social groups have been equally defined when meeting problems and shared responsibility, not based on majority, and have provided consensus with minority groups, as well. From this perspective, Dewey (1916) pointed out that the “primary ineluctable facts of the birth and death of the each one of the constituent members in a social group” make education important, despite the biologically inevitable fact that “the life of the group goes on” (p.3). The great importance of education is underscored, at this time. When a society is met by crisis, many problems emerge, which may be considered signs of educational breakdown, pertaining to components in educational technology, education, and educators, as well as technological changes with their effects on vocational education, industry, business, military, and their respective learning systems (Richey et al., 2007).

As a result, philosophical trends and educational disciplines deal with ontology (existentialism), knowledge, epistemology and ethics, which, in turn, consist of ethics and aesthetics. All procedures and processes in educational movement for philosophers, from ancient times to the present day, include those of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Comenius, Locke, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Voltaire, Diderot, Herbart, Dewey, Pazze, Skinner, Bacon, Bagler, Pablo Pierre and others (Phillips, 2008). Each philosopher or scientist of education addressed and worked on philosophical trends, which could be defined as idealism, realism, pragmatism, ontology, naturalism, behaviourism and analytical philosophy. In addition to these are today’s educational technologies or instructional design dimensions, used to develop ID models for teaching in industry, business, military and schools, and may also be used in their e-learning environments with new technologies (İpek et al., 2008a, 2008b).

3. Psychological and Instructional Foundations of Instructional Design

Instructional design practices have been greatly influenced by a variety of theories concerning learning and instruction. Over many years, cognitive learning theory, behavioral learning theory, cognitive information processing theory, and Gagne’s theory of instruction and instructional design, have had effects on instructional design and learning strategies. In recent years, schema theory, cognitive load theory, situated learning theory and constructivism have offered different approaches and learning strategies to develop methods for learning environments, as well as for design instruction, by using educational technology tools. Psychological foundations of instructional design are offered as philosophical perspectives for learning and instruction, in order to develop lessons by using those tools in educational technology. These approaches in learning design have defined and addressed the question of how to facilitate instruction, based on various theories, from behavioral theory to the constructivist approach.

Over the last decades of the twentieth century, constructivist epistemologies in learning sciences have been mentioned as alternatives to instructional sciences (Jonassen et al., 2007). On the other hand, Hannafin, Hill (2007) discussed learning environments, including epistemological perspectives, design frameworks, and design practices. From this approach, epistemology was defined as the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge, with the understanding of study, and ethical practices of facilitating learning and improving performance in educational technology. This point has already been presented by AECT* (Januszewski, Molenda, 2008). As discussed before, the word ‘study’ refers to research with all steps included, and ethics are not merely rules and expectations, but are a basis for practice and other stages, in the definition of ET. In addition to the main concepts of definition, facilitation considers the design of the environment, the resources and the provision of technological tools. For this, educational technology has a role for facilitating learning, rather than controlling. The epistemological perspectives are indicated as epistemological design frameworks and design practices. Thus, epistemological and psychological concepts have several interesting intersections, and invaluable contributions to the sectors of learning design, and the development of learning environments for the IDT field.

The purpose of using educational technology is to enhance pedagogy, and to enable students to learn. A recent definition of educational technology is given by the Definition and Terminology Committee of AECT as follows:

“Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Januszewski, Molenda, 2008).

With this definition, there are studies (research) and ethical practices for gathering information and analysing beyond traditional issues of research, and also for defining the field’s ethical standards and case examples for practice. Educational technology also has a role in facilitating cognitive and constructivist learning theories, in order to obtain a connection between instruction and learning. It is a more facilitative approach, than a controlling one. Thus, educational technology claims to facilitate learning, rather than to cause or control learning activities. Facilitation includes design of learning environments, organising of resources, and the provision of learning tools. The learning environments can be in face-to-face settings, virtual environments, as well as microworlds, augmented realities, distance learning and learning designs.

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