Instructional technology was born as a military response to the problems of a labor shortage during WWII in the United States. There was a definitive need to fill the factories with skilled labor. Instructional technology provided a methodology for training in a systematic and efficient manner.
With it came the use of highly structured manuals, instructional films, industrial films and standardized tests. Thomas Edison saw the value of instructional technology in films but did not formalize the science of instruction as the US military did so well.
Instructional technology is a continually growing field of study and practice utilizing technology as a way of distributing instruction to dispersed learners.
A number of Universities are embracing instructional technology as a way of increasing enrollment while decreasing overhead costs, particularly in physical locations. As well, consider the power of allowing students to interact only with experts or their mirrored expert systems. The question is becoming more reasonable: Why take classes from a third rate teacher when, through dispersed learning and communication networks, a learner can have access to the best most current theory and instruction available through an artificial expert system? This is one of the promises of instructional technology.
Pushback from teachers and administrators to the use of technology in the classroom is not unusual in rural learning organizations. However this could be considered natural as a subconscious or conscious realization that the ultimate aim of instructional technology is to reduce the human element of instruction to it's barest necessities. The counter argument for instructional technology enthusiasts is that human interaction will always need to be taught and human teachers will continue to be needed as socialization trainers. This will be a real issue for students of ethics.
(One could disagree with the above paragraph's statement that "the ultimate aim of instructional technology is to reduce the human element of instruction." Some educational technology designed with the tenets of constructivism in mind intentionally includes "the human element" by requiring students to work in groups, with the teacher as a guide.)
However, evidence based on the growth of human interaction simulators like ELIZA and ALICE suggest a time where human interaction can be successfully simulated as well. The future of cognitive expert systems will be the ability to a achieve and maintain statefulness or consciousness at a low computing and build cost.
Instructional technology is found in heavy use in charter schools and home schooling.
Areas of interest and growth are Content Management Systems , E-learning, Distance Learning
See Also SCORM