History of Instructional Design


School Museums


These museums "served as the central administrative unit or visual instruction by distribution of portable museum exhibits, stereographs, slides, films, study prints, charts, and other instructional materials". Opened in St. Louis, Reading, PA and Cleveland, Ohio.

Visual Instruction or Vistual Education Movement


Keystone View Company published Visual Education, a teacher's guide to lantern slides and stereographs.

Motion Picture Projector


One of the first media devices used in schools. Rochester, NY became the first to adopt films for regular instructional use.

Thomas Edison


Proclaimed, "Books will soon be obsolete in the schools...It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture. Our school system will be completely changed in the next ten years"

National Professional Organizations

1914 - 1923

Growth in the visual instruction movement. Five national professional organizations for visual instruction were established, five journals focusing on visual instructions began publication, 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.

Department of Visual Instruction (DVI)


Merging of the three existing national professional organizations for visual instruction

Division of Visual Aids for War Training Established

1941 - 1945

Oversaw the production of 457 training films during WWII. Devices extensively used included overhead projectors, which were first produced during the war, slide projectors, audio equipment, and simulators and training devices.

Using computers for Instructional Purposes


Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) by researchers at IBM, who developed the first CAI author language and designed one of the first CAI programs to be used in the public schools.

Federal Communications Commission


Set aside 242 television channels for educational purposes

Public (Educational) Television stations


Seventeen stations in the United States by 1960 there were fifty stations dedicated to education

Sputnik: The indirect launching of formative education


The United States poured millions of dollars into improving math and science education. Formative and summative evaluations were coined by Scriven.

The Criterion-Referenced Testing Movement

1960 - 1964

Emergence of criterion-referenced testing which intended to measure how well an individual can perform a particular behavior or set of behaviors, irrespective of how well others perform.

The Conditions of Learning, by Robert Gagne


Gagne described five domains of learning: verbal information, intellectual skills, psychomotor skills, attitudes, and cognitive strategies as well as nine events of teaching that he considered essential for promoting the attainment of any type of learning outcome.

Computers for Instructional Purposes

1980 - 1989

Computers for instructional purposes in more than 40 percent of all elementary schools and more than 75 percent off all secondary schools in the United States.

On-line courses


Ten percent of the students enrolled in institutions of higher learning were taking at least one online course; by 2011 approximately 32 percent of these students were doing so.

Business and Industry


Thirteen percent of the training in business and industry was delivered online, whereas by 2014 that percentage had more than doubled, with 28 percent of the training being online.



Sixty-four percent of college students areported that they used smartphones for their schoolwork at least two or three times per week, and 40 percent indicated that they used tablets for schoolwork at least that frequently.