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Educational Technology:

 Defining the subject

An address by Eric Heckscher, Ph.D.

Educational Technology embraces instruction and training as well as education, inasmuch as any behavioral modification involves sytematic acquisition of specific behaviors as well as that of conceptual learning. Pragmatically, training design sets specific behavioral objectives, whereas education aims at developing the total processes of human ability and behavior.

Behaviorists were the rage
Not so long ago, behaviorists were the rage in industrial and business training (and, in fact, much of academe). Not only blue-collar workers but managers were brain-washed to meet "behavioral objectives."  Eventually, it became apparent that behavioral objectives did not necessarily meet the enterprise's goals, for the simple reason that goals are fixed neither in time nor in economic realities -- or, at least, should not be, if survival and success are the prime motivations. Business schools have had to change their own objectives from instruction to education. Instruction is now seen as an instrument within the educational process -- it is not an end in itself.

Global Apprehension
Today, given the globalization of social and economic activities, a manager -- and all the more, an executive -- has to be a Renaissance Man or Woman. He or she must be familiar not only with a computer's architecture, articulation and applications, but with the computer as an intellectual, social, and environmental system of global apprehension of new and evolving realities -- of understanding the roles of tools in a world under construction, a world of various cultures, thought processes, behavioral patterns, social needs, history, languages, religion, and politics. Today, managers and executives may be asked to have a solid grasp of literature, demography, psychology, history, religion, politics, international relations, in addition to computer literacy, financial wizardry, economic theories, and the vagaries of the stock exchanges. They may be asked to prove competence in writing a report in effective language -- and this without stylistic, grammatical, or spelling mistakes (a Herculean task for many).

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