Chapter 3 focused on the history of the field of instructional design and technology by exploring the history of instructional media and the history of instructional design. Reiser & Gagne, 1983 defined the term instructional media as the physical means via which instruction is presented to learners. During the first decade of the 20th century, these physical means entered the world of education and there was a great deal of optimism regarding the extent to which that medium would change instructional practices. However, contrary to expectations, none of the mentioned media had nearly the effect that the optimists envisioned. In 1968 Saettler indicated that the school museums in the United States “served as the central administrative units for visual instruction and that the materials that were stored in school museums were viewed as supplementary curriculum materials. Most of the media that were kept in the school museums were visual media, which included films, slides, and photographs. There were great achievements in the field of instruction media. It is during this time that five national professional organizations for visual instruction were established with five journals focusing on visual instruction being published, more than twenty teacher training institutions began offering courses in visual instruction, and at least a dozen large-city school systems developed bureaus of visual education.

The start of World War II slowed down most activities and this affected the growth of the audiovisual instruction movement in the schools but the audiovisual devices were used in the military services and in industry. For example, between 1943 and 1945 the U.S. Army Air Force produced more than 400 training films and 600 filmstrips and during that period it was estimated that there were over 4 million showings of training films to U.S. military personnel. Years after World War II there were the increased interest in television as a media of delivering instruction. In the past 10 years, there has been increased and speedy advancement in computers and other digital technology, including the Internet. Most technologies have had a greatly affected the instructional practices and learning than did the various media that preceded them. The interactive capabilities of these media, their ability to present information and instruction in a wide variety of forms, and the ease with which learners can create and share their own knowledge and skills via these media appear to be some of the primary reasons why these media have had a greater influence on instruction and learning.

On the side of instruction design, it is believed to have an origin during the World War II when many educationists and psychologists were called upon to come up with training materials for the military services. These individuals, including Robert Gagne, Leslie Briggs, John Flanagan, and many others, exerted considerable. In the mid 1950S through to 1960S there was The Programmed Instruction Movement acted as a major factor in the development of the systems approach. In 1954 B.F skinner pioneered the concept of programmed instruction material through his article that was titled “The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching.”In 1956 Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues published the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and he was able to identify the principal domain of learning. In early 1960s Robert F. Mager stressed on the importance of learning conditions and on the assessment of writing learning objectives. He also put an emphasis on good behaviors.

In the early 1960s, another important factor in the development of the instructional design process was the emergence of criterion-referenced testing. It was in 1962 that Robert Glaser became the first person to use the term “criterion-referenced measures.” In discussing such measures he coined that term in order to assess student entry-level behavior and competency after training. In 1965, Gagne published the first edition of The Conditions of Learning where he identified nine events of instruction which highlighted the essentials for promoting the attainment of any type of learning outcome. Gagne also described which instructional events that were particularly crucial for which type of outcome.

During 1970s there was a rise of interest in the systems of approach where a good number of instructional design models that were based on information-processing were developed to improve the quality of instruction in military, organization and academic institutions. Between 1980 and 1990 there was the increasing interest in e-learning which opened new opportunities for instructional designers. During this time there has been a significant growth in online learning in business and industry and the military. In 1990s there the rise of constructivism theory emphasis on designing “authentic” learning tasks which reflect the complexity of the real world environment in which learners will be using the skills they are learning.