Enhancing Learning with Educational Technology and Instructional Design

Educational Technology and Instructional Design

Educational technology and instructional design are fields that focus on making learning experiences more engaging, accessible and inclusive. These two disciplines are closely related and often work together.

Discover how to integrate the use of technology in a meaningful way into your teaching and professional practice. Learn how to leverage tools such as eLearning authoring software, social learning platforms and virtual classroom breakout rooms.

Learning theories

There are a number of learning theories that help explain how people learn. Some of these include behavioral, cognitive, constructivist and experiential learning theories. Using these theories can provide useful insight for instructional designers when developing and designing training.

Behaviorism, for example, focuses on the use of positive reinforcement to drive behavior. This is an effective approach when dealing with learners who need to learn specific skills.

Cognitivism, on the other hand, places the focus on mental processes like information processing and schema development. It has shaped the way we think about learning and instruction.

Social constructivism focuses on the role of learners and how they can interact with each other to build knowledge. It is influenced by the work of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. It has also influenced the design of modern education. Its critics, however, argue that it can overlook the role of explicit instruction in building knowledge. It also may ignore the importance of assimilating new information into existing schemas.


You’ve likely encountered educational technology at some point, whether you’re an elementary school student or a Fortune 500 executive. You may have used interactive digital learning games, participated in virtual classroom breakouts, or even read an online e-book. This type of technology can provide learners with the opportunity to learn at their own pace and engage with a subject in new ways.

Many instructors incorporate a variety of different types of educational technology in their courses. These include digital quizzes, interactive maps and charts, and even augmented reality. While the use of technology can be beneficial for students, it’s important to consider what kind of technology is best suited to the learning objectives and needs of each student. The concept of affordances is a helpful way to evaluate educational technologies and ensure they are effective.

If you’re interested in a career that uses cutting-edge technology to help people learn, you can pursue a master’s degree in instructional design and education. These degrees combine theory and hands-on experience to equip you for a successful career in education and training.

Learning objectives

Learning objectives are the specific knowledge, skills, or attitudes that students are expected to achieve or demonstrate upon completion of a course. They provide a compass for instructors to guide the development of fair course assessment plans and selection of content, instructional activities, and teaching strategies. They are also an invaluable tool for students to use to guide their own learning throughout a lesson/unit/semester.

Well-written learning objectives are SMART, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Time-bound. They should center on what the students will be able to do and avoid verbs such as “appreciate,” “know,” or “believe.”

Identifying learning objectives at the unit, module, or lesson level allows you to select assessments that measure student progress toward those goals. You may also want to consider using backward design to guide your choice of instructional strategies and materials. By the end of this unit, the student will be able to use the conventions of grammar in writing paragraphs.


Assessment is the process of gathering and analyzing data about student learning. Although this follows the same systematic process as empirical research, its primary concern is to communicate results back to students (Hanna & Dettmer, 2004).

It is important to design assessments that align with learning objectives and follow best practices in constructing them. For example, the complexity of test items should match the level of learning specified by the objective. It is also important to use a standard taxonomy like Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy or Webb’s Depth of Knowledge to ensure consistency and comparability in assessing student learning.

Summative assessment measures student learning at the end of an instructional period and provides feedback on how well students have achieved the objectives. This type of assessment is typically timed, so that instructors can give a grade to students within a designated amount of time. It is also helpful to include a rubric with the assessment, as this helps to clarify what constitutes acceptable work.

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