Article review: Educational Technology: Conceptual Frameworks and Historical Development

Eraut looks at conceptual frameworks for educational technology, coupled with historical developments.  This article appears to be more of a theoretical opinion with a historical review of educational technology. There was a plentiful collection of historical literature.  So much in fact that more than one article theme could have been supported.

Overall, the way the article was organized made it difficult to read. A history of educational technology was discussed along with theories that Eraut found significant at that time.  As a historical writing the theoretical underpinnings helped to understand the logic, however the way it was organized made it difficult to follow the progression over time. 

Distinct points appeared to get lost, or veer off, which made the article difficult to follow. One example is section three the discussion about the systems approach.  This is an opportunity to discuss how this widely used framework has been adapted to educational technology.  The contribution of von Bertalanffy was discussed which digressed from how systems thinking was adapted to an educational technology setting.  

Conclusions could have better surmised the point of the article.  Article goals to “rethink educational goals and the role of educational technology in facilitating their achievement” (p1883) were not laid out. Instead the ending stated educational technology history showed “limited theories, poor quality products, and naïve approaches to implementation.” (p1898) Educational technology processes and concepts were appropriate for the time in which they were used. For example, Dale’s Cone of Experience was discussed in regard to early audiovisual implementation.  Although not an appropriate method in modern times it did suggest a logical approach for the technology that was available in the 1960s.  In reality, this historical approach could be modernized and show merit. To further contradict this ending statement works by greats like Piaget and Gagne could have been included to emphasize the value of theoretical approaches throughout history. Finally, the article was supposed to discuss conceptual frameworks, so this should have also been mentioned in the conclusion. 

Eraut discusses the need for future educational technology modernization in other areas like information technology, cognitive science, and critical theory.  This may be a reasonable observation for the time this article was written.  Today cognitive science is more widely addressing topics like game-based learning, personalized learning and human computer interactions.


Eraut, M. (n.d.) Educational technology: Conceptual frameworks and historical development. Retrieved from UNT Internal link

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