Exploring Faculty Decision-Making Processes for Using Instructional Technology in the Classroom Implications for Policy and Practice


Publication Date: March 2012



Research Area: Education

Keywords: teaching and learning

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Given the primacy of instructional technology in today’s college classroom, it is important to understand how faculty use these tools, especially how they adapt specific tools to meet the unique needs of particular faculty or instructional situations. Instructional designers and policymakers face the challenge of introducing innovations into established patterns of tool use and educational practice. As a result, when interventions are designed and implemented without a working understanding of existing practices and workplace conditions, incompatibilities between the demands of the innovation and the constraints of the local setting may result. Instructional designers need robust accounts of local practice, which can ground the design of new initiatives and provide insights into why initiatives are encountering resistance or undesirable adaptations.

This brief presents findings from an empirical analysis of course planning and classroom teaching related to instructional technology with the specific aim of providing actionable evidence for policymakers and practitioners. In particular, this analysis focuses on describing the types of instructional technologies faculty consider as part of their local resource base, the specific decision-making “pathways” related to the incorporation of technology into lesson plans, and how faculty actually use technology in the classroom.