What is Instructional Technology?

The use of technology to improve the way instructions are delivered is termed as instructional technology. This was used from the 1600s; however, its use was popularized by the American military during World War II.
The methodologies and systematic procedures which involve transfer of instructions to the subject by means of technology is termed as instructional technology. It is different from educational technology, in the sense that the former deals only with learning and different techniques of transferring instructions, while the main purpose of the latter is to develop overall human capabilities. E-learning courses and distance education programs are the best examples of the effective use of this technology.


Instructional technology, as defined by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), is "the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning."


There are many theories behind the origin of this concept. Some theories date back to the 1600s, while others to the 1900s. The main reason behind the varying opinions about the origin are the different bases on which this concept is defined. Instructional technology was extensively used by the US military during World War II. The military made use of audio and visual technology available at that time, owing to the shortage of skilled labor.

Present Status

Instructional technology is feared by many faculty members and administrators, as an alternative to human resource. However, the technology is just to aid the efforts of human beings. Thus, the human element will always retain its importance, no matter how developed the technology is. In fact, many e-learning tools facilitate the interaction between students and experts, even if they are geographically distant from each other.

Human Performance Technology

This form aims at improving the performance of employees and organizations as a whole. Human Performance Technology caters to the needs of the corporate world. It is an eclectic way of improving the efficiency in the working of individuals by making use of behavioral psychology, process improvement, instructional systems design, total quality management, human resource management and organizational development. Human Performance Technology was popularized by the efforts of Thomas Gilbert, Karen Brethower, Geary Rummler, Joe Harless, and Roger Kaufmann.


Those who pursue education in the field of instructional technology attain a professional degree and the status of an 'Instructional Technologist'. It is an upcoming profession and provides ample opportunities to work in various institutions such as government, schools, colleges, etc. A new program offered by many universities the world over, Instructional Design and Technology takes a practical approach in studying the process of learning by humans.


There are many different benefits of using instructional technology in education, corporate training, and many other sectors.
  • The curriculum for a particular course can be improved by increasing its depth, to cope with the 'information explosion' of today.
  • It is possible to customize the educational syllabus and course, as per the needs of the students.
  • The process of learning can become a lot easier, if it is adapted to different learning styles.
  • It can be efficiently implemented in the corporate sector to improve the working of employees and streamlining the business processes by providing proper instructions and education.
The field of instructional technology will only grow with the improvement in technology. The use of technology will help human beings deliver education in a more efficient manner, overcoming the limitations and problems faced by the education sector.