Roblyer, M.D. (2005). Educational technology research that makes a difference: Series introduction. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5 (2), 192-201.
Robyler acknowledged that high quality evidence based research is needed to validate or invalidate the usefulness of technology-enhanced instructional design. He explained the problems with research in the past and cited issues such as disjointed research topics, inherent problems with behavioral research and the inability for research studies to keep up with the fast-moving changes in the field of technology. He went on to propose standards of quality in educational research where research is focused not on specific technology but on instructional design that is enhanced by technology. The Five Pillars of Instructional Design he proposed included: the significance criterion, the rationale criterion, the design criterion, the comprehensive reporting criteria, and the cumulativity criterion. Then, he narrowed his focus to specific research study types. The study types he suggested that are needed to move the field of research in educational technology forward include: research to establish relative advantage, research to improve implementation strategies, research to monitor impact on important societal goals, and studies that monitor and report on common uses and shape desired directions. He ended the article with a call for research studies that are high quality as well as ones that have a research agenda which build on or expand ideas from previously completed research studies.
Robyler compiled a list of issues from a variety of sources in regards to the field of educational technology research and examined why many are beginning to criticize the need for technology in the classroom. He examined the studies that have been completed and found ways to improve both the design of new research studies as well as the overall way well designed studies can then build on each other to be used to effect what is happening in the classroom. The instructional design pillars he suggests as well as the types of studies he sees as needed will serve to provide strong evidence based research that will make an impact in the classroom.
Technology based educational research is needed to help strengthen and necessitate the need for instructors to begin to incorporate and use technology to enhance instruction and learning. Some instructors do not see the need for technology for instructional purposes, as they have been teaching concepts and ideas in a particular way without technology and students have been learning. However, with well-designed research studies that provide strong evidence that there are more effective ways to teach individuals, instructors will begin using more technology enhanced instructional design in their classrooms. Will this happen overnight? No, but if our desire is to teach students for the 21st century, teachers need to develop the skills to integrate technology effectively into their instructional design. This has been shown to be a developmental process. A study completed by Mills and Tincher (2003), documented this developmental process of using technology in the classroom by the instructor with the Technology Integration Standards Configuration Matrix (TISCM). The results of the study confirmed that using technology in the classroom is a developmental process and one that does not happen overnight in a K-12 setting. As I work with ESL students and instructors in higher education, it would be interesting to explore the effectiveness this has with instructor use of technology in the classroom as well as the impact on student outcomes. The goal in ESL in higher education is to move students towards proficiency in English as quickly as possible. Could the ability of an instructor to use technology driven teaching methods effectively in the classroom enhance the rate an ESL student moves through the proficiency levels of learning English?
Mills, S. C., & Tincher, R. C. (2003). Be the technology: A developmental model for evaluating technology integration. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 35(3), 382.