This research examines the issue of the effectiveness of the use of computer in the instructional process. Effectiveness within the context of this research refers to learning outcomes.
The Application of Technology to Instruction
Definitions of instructional technology typically vary according to the way in which the factor is conceptualized by those individuals constructing the definitions (Saettler, 1994, p. 2). There are two widely accepted conceptualizations of instructional technologyùthe physical science concept and the behavioral science concept.
When instructional technology is considered within the context of physical science, it is typically viewed as the application of physical science and engineering technology to the process of education (Saettler, 1994, p. 4). This concept emphasizes device effects and procedures, as opposed to instructional content and learner differences. The development of the physical science concept of instructional technology was not greatly influenced by the interrelationships between educational needs and psychological theory, on the one hand, and the design of instructional messages and media, on the other hand (Finn, 1960, p. 4).
The most significant theoretical premise embodied in the physical science concept of instructional technology is that which casts materials and machines in nonverbal roles and traditional media (lectures, books) in verbal roles (Brown, Lewis, & Harcleroad, 1995, p. 22). The implicit assumption contained in this concept is that nonverbal media are more effective. Regardless of its validity or its ability to stand alone, the physical science concept of instructional technology gained a wide acceptance through the first three quarters of the twentieth century (Saettler, 1994, p. 7).
The behavioral sciences are anthropology, sociology, and psychology. When instructional technology is conceptualized in the context of the behavioral sciences, it develo...