Handbook of research on educational communications and technology edition:3d pages:705-713
The field of educational technology is characterized by an abundance of sets of theoretical statements. These sets can be described from at least four perspectives. A first perspective pertains to the object or orientation of the (sets of) theoretical statements. Sets may address educational principles, features of interventions or tools, development procedures, or the nature of the field itself. The origin (theoretical or practical context) of these sets of statements is a second perspective from which they can be described. Theoretical statements can be clearly anchored in specific practical experiences, can be the result of a deductive effort to apply fundamental theoretical insights or theoretical perspectives, or can reflect a thoughtful interaction between a practical setting and a theoretical perspective. A third perspective relates to the level of theoretical sophistication of these (sets of) statements. Sets of theoretical statements can be collections of isolated theoretical expressions, descriptive or prescriptive models with respect to educational technological issues, of integrated, internally coherent sets of theoretical principles. The degree of justification of these (sets of) statements represents a fourth perspective. Some statements are purely explorative, whereas for others empirical evidence is readily available. Taking these differences into account, this chapter aims at discussing theory development. First, features of descriptive and prescriptive theories are elaborated by analyzing their commonalities and differences. Second, the development of theories itself is addressed by focusing on deductive, inductive, and mixed approaches. Third, theoretical levels of sophistication and justification are dealt with. In all this, the elaboration of instructional design models is focused upon.