What is the relationship among educational, instructional and performance technologies?

  • Each of these three types of technologies involves a process of analysis in which problems and their causes are identified, and then solutions are devised based on a number of factors, only one of which is cost.
  • All three use technology to diagnose and treat problems, or discrepancies, in their respective areas.
  • All three technologies strive to improve a situation, complex or simple, through knowledge and awareness.

But the focus of each of these technologies differs.

Educational Technology:

  • Educational technology is the field of determining what solutions really will solve problems in the education setting. (The word "technology" seems to point toward computers and other gadgets, but don't forget that even the traditional wooden pencil was once new "technology.")
  • Educational technology provides the means to reaching the instructional technology goals through the design, development, and implementation of instructional products.

Instructional Technology:

  • Instructional technology relates strictly to the process of instruction, whether it takes place in a school setting, industry, health care, or elsewhere. Instruction will take place anywhere training is required.
  • Instructional technology focuses on the content of the instruction being prepared and shared, and then the evaluation of the outcome.

Performance Technology:

  • Performance technology looks specifically at human performance, whether it matches expectations, and how to address the situation if there is a discrepancy. Training may or may not be involved. So performance technology may involve either or both of the other two (educational or instructional), but that is only one possible solution. And in many cases, training is not the required solution at all.
  • Performance technology does not always relate to the workplace or school setting. Situations can be analyzed in homes, families, public organizations, government, and other settings.
  • The ISPI website notes that removing barriers is a part of performance technology. Sometimes if you just remove the roadblock, the problem is gone.
  • Performance technology concentrates on individual and organizational performance. In general, performance technology serves as an intervention. This approach basically takes an undesirable performance and manipulates the current process. The 'current process' then undergoes a minimal or cost-efficient change to maximize the desired result.

© 2008 San Diego State University, Jodi Kohler, Deborah Lawson, Diane Main, and Kimberly McCain-Correll