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ED 126 920 





IB 003 835 

Hager, Walter . 

Techniques and Technology: Affecting Variables That 
Make a Hi;fference, 
21 Jul 76 , 

Tip.; Eaper presented at the "International Learning 
'Technology Congress and .Expo!sit.ion on Applied 
Learning "Techjlology for Human •esource Developaent 
(Washington, D.C., "July 21-23, 1976j-\ 

l!F-$0.83 HC-$1.67 Plus Postage. , 
Affectire Objectives; *Educational Technology; 
Instructional Media; Learning Theories; *Predictor 
Variables; Success Factors 

Educational technology involves the application of 
psychology and' eguipmenf to the solution of educational problems. 
Teaching, is facilitated when the interrelationships of variables such 
as tiie flowed for learning perseverence, quality of instructional 
materiaMjaf fective behavior and goals, and aptitude are c^onsidered. 
In order^Rr educational technology to hav« a Baiiaun inpact, 
attention should be directed to tKe manipulation of as 'many of these 
variables as possible. The educational technologist should seek to 
uncover new functional relationships that will lead to advances in 
understanding the instructional process. (CH) 

• ■ * 

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ERIC ig| ^ 

Techniques and Tech|i'ology 
"Affecting Variables That Make A difference' 



Walter Wa^eifX^^sociafaer Professor 
Educational Mart'ageme;rc Systems 
College of Education. 
The Florida State'^Unxversity 
Tallahassee, Florida 





Pa|)er pr^^nted at the Second Symposium on Applied Learning 
^ystems:'- Professional Development Proga^am, Washington, D.C 
/July'21, 1976. ^ 



>ersons interested in learning systems wa^t /to affect those 
varW)lesNm the learning environment that make a difference in 
the learner* s^:^nal performance, Tit wi^l do no' good to lament the" 
poor preparation ofxour learners, or to blame th^r learning problems 
on genetic inheritance^ .It the job ^of tjie educa^r or tech- 
nologist to take those whom he is given and to change their behavior 
in some sf^ecified way. Tfie question is, how? What c^n be- done? 
What variables are there within the present learning environment 
that can be manipulated, and how do^they make a difference? 

One way of approaching tl^e problem xs to inv^Sti^gate a concep- 
tual model of learning such as Jdhn- Gar roll ',s (l^jsj^.) model of school 
learning, and to see how instructional techniques and technology - | 
affectyChe manipulations of variables hypothesized to make a 
difference. /Zarrol^^ model is chosen here because it 'h^s generated 
a fair amount of ^research and is generaJLly supported by the resear^ 
findings (Lewis, 1969, Bloom, 1973 , ^Carroll, 1973), Carroll's ^ 
model states that the degree of learning that an individual attains 
is a function of the time he spends in learning oVer the time he 
actually needs, i.e.: ^ [ . ' • 

THE DEGREE OF (• . /time actually spent 


ytime actually needed- 
Carroll and others (Block,. 1971 ) break the factors of time spent 
and i:ime needed into a number of component variables as represented 

Page 2 



\Allowed ' 




Ability to 

Quality of^ 
Instruction J 

By affecting any of the five variables identified, the time needed 
can be reduced or the^time spent can increased, thus affecting 
the degree of learning that takes place • The purpose of this paper 
is „to explore how techniques and technology might affect these 


Time Allow^ 

Buge,lski (1971) states in his theory of teaching, that all 
learning takes time. This time is the period during which some 
activity related to the in^^tm^^-to be learned is taking plaqe 
(p. 282) • Due to background differences among learners , -we can 
expect that different amounts of time with the materials will be 
needed;^ A corollary of Bugelski's time principle is that only so 
much can be ^learned in a given time. The implication is tha^^r 
restrictions ^ort time ' all?)wed .will negatively affect the. total 
degree of learning that can take place. 

Time, obviously ^is a variable that can be affecj^efd by appli- 
cations of technology. Individualized or self-papfed materials 
depend' upon learner control of the stimulus materials. The con- 
ventional classroom, or teacher-paced instrtiction has some advan-^ 
tages.,,, but its biggest disadvantage is that it is ephemeral.. When 
the pre^'sentation is finished, it is gone except for what has been 

committed, to memory, or written as class' notes* The t>resentation, 
by its very nature, restricts the time the "learner has in. contact 
with the stimulus materials that aire supposed to change his behavior 
By mediating the same lecture (in print, audio-tape or . videotape) a 
representation 6f the stimulus can be made available for areater 

periods o^'time if the learner needs it. However, time is .probabjty 

^ t / ^ / ^ . ' ^ ^ " 

the most^ obvious -variable and it has been getting its share oi 

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publicity .through write:bs on mastery learning such as Block { 1971) , 

and Bloom (l973) • Ther4are^ other variables that affect 4:he learnin 


equation, an4 perrhaps it is more efficient in the lorlg I'un to man- 
ipulate ti^e^e other variables. V , . • , ^ - 

Perseverance t 

All the time J in the world is not going to^^s^Aisre a^ person to 
learn anything if he doesn't spend time in contact wath^ the stimi^^s 
materials. A primary tenet of behavioral technol^^^yT^ iDs pifeqticed 
in education, is that stgja^nts mi^st actively eng^age tha stimulus 
materials in order to learn from/them (and conversely, ^he more 
time they spend the more they learn) , Perseverance maV be thought 
of as the time the student spends aeptively in contact with the 
stimulus materials.. Studying is a behavior in the student's 
repertoire that has a 'lot of competition from other behaviors 
(recreation, work, sleeping). The behaviaral* technologists believe 
that in order to attain the cimount of study h^ehavior that is 4esir- 
able, studying must be made to pay off wltli rewards that can compete 
with other Rewards gained from 'competing behaviors. Consequently^ 
behavioristically oriented learning systems use grades or other 
incentives to reward achievement. Achievement is a function of time 

• ' , / Page 4 

y . ( ' " ' . / 

spent at learning, and so we can say that the behaviorist affects 


a^tudent'^ perseverance. The rationale behind t^e behaviorist 's { 
system is simple—provide for multiple short-terra payoffs. Student 
study-behayior increases drastically bifore exams, as most teachers 
knowr' these teachers seem to ignpr4 this observation when 
tryW^ to' affect learning. 

V Applications of Behavioral Technology are exemplified by Keller's 
(l968)P-S.I, system and Postlethwaite ' s(1969| Audio-tutorial System. 

, Both sy^^teras include freqtient exams over relatively small segments; 
• bf Instruction. The instructional technologist can affect the 
student's perseverance by, carefully planning the management of 
instruction, paying attention to the payoffs for the leatrner. 

o Another function jof technology hypQthesized to affect the 
perseverance of the learner is its novelty or attention arousing 
cap^blilities. 'Berlyne, (196.5) postulates that novel presentations 
raise the level of epistemological - (thinking) activity on the part 
of the observer. In other ways ptechnignies ^ind technology can 
actively involve the learner in the instructional ^r^ess by calling 
for •responses, or by having the learner t>erform certain operations 
•in-order that the stimulus^, presentation' continue. The attention 
commanding aspects of celrtain techniques should not be taken lightly 
N^when listing the^ advantages^ of technology in learning system^; 

.Perseverance may also be a factor, affected by the student's * 
^attitude toward various technology an'ci. ^^echniques used in ins true- 

tion. If there is a. negative attitude .toward pragranuned instruction 

^ ' • . 
^ inN^eneral (regardless" of "how it origirjated) the learner is less 

V likely to, approach and utfilize 'this' learning resource. In a some-* 
what different way, an attitude toward the use Of a particular 



Page 5 


meqium, such as conunerciai television, may also affect what a 

listener perceives as the message.. This might be illustrated by 

hypQthesizing that a prosp'ective learner convinced that cotanercial 

television was politically controlled by the* interest^ of >rarge * 

corporation* might not give any credibility to a program on tax 

reform. "Attitude", with regard to the credibility of sources has 
. - 

been studied extensively (Hovlandv 1953 -jhowever, how 

attitudes towards different technologies or techniques affect the ' 

amount of time spent on learning fropi the same^ has not, 'to this ^ 

writer's knowledge, been explored. . " , 

Quality of the Instructional Materials > 

Almost any educator or trainer would agree to iahe statement 
that individuals learn better when they have "good" Inaterials. But 
whkt are the attributes bf "good materials"? At a'seminar -at Florida 


State University, Di;. '^ack Michaels, a behavioral technologist from ■ 
Western Mi6higan University, listed wh'^f he believes to be three 
important factors of "gobd'materials. -They are, 1) sequence, 
2) completeness, and 3) lack of irrelevant information. For many 
reasons these three factors have been studied throughout the history 
of .educational psychology in the context of 'many dTf-ferr^nt theories. 
For the purpose of tbis;paper, the degree of importance qt each of ' ; 

the ^three will;npt be argued, but rather / the issue te. be\ explored is 
what techniques and technology might affect ''these variables. At this 
point it becomes obvious that instructional technology is more than 
just ^lar^ware. The process of instructional desi^^or the appli- 
cation of instructignal design modeTs are directed at producing 

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.Page 6 

what we would call quality materials. This consrists of 
materials that are well ojcganiafed (sequence)-, that contain 
all^the necessary prerequisites '{complete) and are directed 
toward the attainment of prespecif ied objectives (lack 
irrelevant*^ materials) . The basic cpmpoi^ent.^ of the design ' 
process^ needs analysis, task analysis, materials praduction 
and evaluation are applied in ^n'^ iterative manner to ensure 
their effectiveness given the proper amount of ^in\e, and 
perseverance on the part of the learner. The design aspect 
of teclinology is currently iieing stressed in schools of ' ' 
education and its application is, being made at all levels 
of schooling, \n industry,^ and .in the /military. Its promise 
lies in the fact that it is lea^ner--oriented rather than 
teacher-oriented* - ^ 

Instructionai\systems design allows for consideration 
of alternative delivery systems 'depending on the nature df 
the outcomes desired, \lthough its purpose is not to do 
away with the traditional \lassroom, it is through the 
applic5itioa of instructional Xsyfetems design that one begins 
to realize how ii>ef f icient theVlassroom mode of instruction 
is for certain types of learningVasks. It als^o providers 
a rationarle -for providing classroom^ instruction to obtain 
certain outcomes that cannot be prov\ded effectively^ or 
efficiently by medi^ed means, e.g., when a role 'model is 
appropriate. g 

' Page 1 , ^ 


'Instructional system^ design opens a new approach for ^ 
applied psychdlogy^ in learning.. Using a systems' design 
model, a researcher can begin to test theories regarding 
transfer, relationships among types of learning, and appropriate, 
methods for affedting multiple outcomes from different domains 
of learning as described by B4oom (1956)/ and Gagne (1974) • 
Design procedures, focused on. producing ."quality instructional * 
materials," enable those that care to improve instructi^pn ^ 
tQ aifect one more variable that can "make a difference"* in 
learning. * » - ^ , 

Ability to> Understand . ; 

• Carroll (196 3) considered the ability'to unddrstand 
as a function of an individual's general intelligence. 
Although an educator .cannot manipulate an individual's 
intelligence, ;he can take it into consideration when 

igni^ig instructional mate^rials. With regard to theory 
related to the^lection of approp;?jiate techniques and 
tedttnology, Media selection) based on an individual's 
ability to understand, there is definitely a knowledge * 
-gap. One pray^em in defining a theory of media sel?cj;ion is 
the multivariate n^^re of the^ message-m^dium-learner inter- 
action. One ^heory with regard to cognitive learning and 
media selection derived from Dale's (1969) "Cone \of 
Educational Experience, " is provided by Leslie Br'iggs "( 1972) 
in his /^^I^R. monograph on instrucJLional desylgn. Tf^is 

Page 8 

'model was expanded by V?ager (1975) to include the affective 
or attitudinal domains. Conceptually bas^d models such as 

^ these are valuable for further theorizing and research con- 
cerning the manipulation of the media variables with regard 
to observable learner characteristics. 

Understantaing the effects of techniques and technology 
on various types of learners i-s -important to our understanding 
of our efforts at man^ipulatin^ sonte of the variables mentioned 

^ previously. ' For exajnple% instruction that is beyond the 
learner's cap^fe^lity to understand is^not going to be any 
more effective ^if more time is alloted, or if a more power- 
ful incentive system is provided. A person who cannot reac^ 
will simpj-y^not be able to benefit from textual instructional 
materials until he gains *the learning skill of reading. - This 
example, of couiyse, is too obvious What is not cle^r is how 
techniques apd technology ^4^ht affect 'the mor^^ubtle 
differences amqng learners. • ^ * 

At this point the writer wishes to express the concern ^ 
that^ instructional technologies are spending a considerable 

amount of time and energy defining cognitive goals and ob~^ 

. « * • 

jectives for instructional programs, and developing in- 

structional materials to obtain these goals, without spe<iifying 

the attitudinal goals, and measuring whether or not th^y are ^ 

attained. 'the writer does not mean to infer that designers 

or educators do not recognize' 'the importance of affective • - 

outcomes; simply .that ^tJxey 'are often overlooked in the 

— — ^ * • 

task analysis process. - There may /be many reasons for this,' 

.er|c . ^- I. 

• / 

Page 9 

but the effects of this oversight could lead to a mis- 
understanding of which technique or technology ,is best suited 
to a particular instructional program.' It is probably 
more wiJJv-^re^gard to attitudinal goals than cognitive goals 
that justification for elaborate and ^expensive techniques 
such as simulation, br on-the-job training can be made, 
iii individual's ability to understand is a complex variable 
^ffected by perceptual as well as intellectual processes. 
^An understanding of how techniques and technoloqy relate 
to these processes will affect the educator's 8bpti±Y to 
manipulate, the necessary factors in a f acililfative way. 


We know that some individuals are more disposed toward 

irning math than x^thers, ^and that while they may find 

math easy they^^s^l^ttfgle^j^ learn En^^ish grammar. This 

ability to learn a particular thing is generally r^fered to 

as '•'aptitude. " This . writer suggests that an individual 

iis not born with!^ aptitude toward any particular ' subject^ or 

• /• . • " * 

skill but dey^QpS it as a result of Ijis history ^of learning 

experiences ♦ An individual frequently displays the "aptitude 

towarc those things hi^ parents do or- those activities they 

ipport as "importnat." At a particular grade level the 

person that 'has been expoged to more matli will (all other 

factors ^eing ^qy^l) probably show more aptitude toward math. 

However , all things' are seldom -equal , and there are probably 


^ ■ 

, <^ * Page lo- 

Other "factors that affect: the indivixiual^s aptitude, toward 

-r • ^ ^^^^ 

niath, such as the Cognitive strategies that the learner can 

relate to the task at hand." A cognitive strategy might be 
thought of as a schema for learning that the learner possesses 
Mand probab^ly learned) and^call^ into use for the ^new learning 
task* How can. technique's a^d technology affeot this' * 
' dimensibn of th'e learning equation? - 

Perhaps this is wh<^re critics' of technolo^jkral ' 
applications are 'somewhat porriact.' We t^^ch our students 
how to do thin^^s without teachln^>i^ to learn" <rem^mb^' 
• the frequently cited goal^^^pf^education is to tea<*rh"^people 
how to learn) ^^^^f th>^is ti;ue, ij:^is -probably dtJe to our 
lack of kn0<vledge>'aboui: tho^e strategies that mighty be 
, taught /^is a formal- part of tlie instructional' program. This 
writer would submit tha^t the •persons making these state- 
ments would know as little about teaching them as tj^e, 
/ technologist.^ A recognition of the* need to explore and 
research this variable might have a 'large payoff for those 
concerned with improving, instruction / as i^t is currently 
* the one known least about. 

Educational technology inclu<^es the application of 
psychology and ha^rdware to t^ie solution of educational^ 
problems. This effort* is faci'litated by the realization that 
leaiming affected by many ' complex and interrelated 
variables, and that in order- to have maximum impact * * * 

Page 11 

attention ^hould be. directed to manipulating as njany of 
these variables as'^. At the same timfe the. technologist* 

realizes' the limitations o^ his* khowledge and available 

* *> . \ • * 

^ theories witfh regard to. instructional design; andXhe is 

constantly . for^nulating-'-new hypotheses and. uncover ing^ new 

functional . relationships that leaji to advances in under standina 

the instructional process. This writer maintains that . . ^ 

it is this element of exploration and inquiry that raalces the ^ 

field of. instructional technology so exciting, especially 

when one affects a variable that *"makes a differericfe." 



Bibliography. * 

V - . ^ ' 

" ^ t 

Berl'yfie, D.,£. Struct ure and Difecti'oft ' in Thinkinq, • ' 

Wily,, 1965.. ^ " : ^ 

' Block,. James H. Mastery Learriing, Theory and P ractice; 
Holt, -Rinehart, & Win-ston, Inc. , 1971. - T ' " \ 

Bloom, 6. S. Taxonoiiiy of^ Educatic?nal' Objectives ; Handbook ' 
One -^he Cognitive qomain . New York; Uavid McKay, a 956^ 

Bloom, B.S. Time and Learning . .'Thorndike Address," 81st 
Annual, Convention of , the American Psychological Association, 
Montreal, 1973. ' 

•Briggs, L.J. Student's Guide to Handbook of Procedures for 
the Design of Instruction . Pittsburgh: American Institutes for 
Research, 1972. 


Bugelski", B.R. The Psychology of Lea'rning Applie d to' 
Teaching, Bobbs-Merrili^o . ^ . N. Y. , 1971. ~ 

Carroll, J.B.. A Model for School Learning^- Teachers Colleae 
, Record, 1963, .64, 72'3-3f3. . 1 / 

i . Carroll, J.B. .Fitting a Model of School Learning tb Aptitud^e 
and Achievement Data Over Grade Levels. Research Bulletin , 
No. 51, Princeton, N. J. ; Educational Testing' Service, 1973 ^ 

m / ' • ' 

Dale, E. Audio Visual Methods in Oteachin^ , Holt, Rinehart ' 
i & Winston,^ 1970. 

• - • * ^ 

Hoyland, C.-I. , I.L. Janis and H.H. Kelley (Eds.) , ' Communication 
^nd Persuiasion . ' New H^ven : Yal^ University Press, 1953T '~ ^ 

^ ' ^ Gagne/ R. and X. Briggs. Principles of , Instructional Des ign. 
Holt, Rinehart '& Winston, N.Y., 1974. ' ' 

Keller', Fred S". ''Gog|dbye Teacher," Journal of Applied 
Behavioral Analysis , Spriffg, 1968. ~ : ^ 

Lewip, Lloyd A. CJr.)^^. An Empirical Test of John B. Carroll's ' 
Model of School Learning , unpublished doctoral dissertation, ' 
Florxda State University, 1969. 
* ^ • 

Postelthwaite,. S.N.., J. Novak and H.T. Murray. The AUdio - 
Tutorial Approach to Learn . Minneapolis : Burgess, a96|«. 

Wager, W. " Media Selection in the Affective Domain, E ducational 
. Technology^ July, 1975, 9-13- ' ' ' 7^ 

* f s . 

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