What is The Difference Between Educational & Instructional Technology?


Even though the terms educational and instructional technology may seem compatible, they have important subtle differences.

While educational technology is based on a wider scope including philosophical aspects, essential approaches, both theoretical and applied subjects on using technology to support education, instructional technology is related to the usage of the technology on how-to perform instruction along educational processes. 

In case this sounds confusing, mind their end goals: Instructional technology’s main goal is to enhance both teaching and learning processes while educational technology primarily aims at technological literacy for everyone. 

Distinguishing these two is even simpler through the simple definition of both fields: Instructional technology is the tool and educational technology is the manual for using that tool.

Okay, now you know the difference between educational and instructional technology, but how about the employment prospects?

The job outlook for instructional coordinators is bright as the employment rate is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

Now that we cleared that one up, let’s walk you through a more detailed elaboration of both instructional and educational technology:

What is The Meaning of Instructional Technology?

Instructional technology is a specific technology field related to creating resources for learning.

Academics described it as “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning.” 

Shortly, instructional technology deals with the process of using technology for instruction. It describes the technologies that facilitate access to all types of information along with other processes including acquisition, processing, storage, and dissemination.

What is the goal of instructional technology? It is primarily applied to enhance the communication of learning material. It serves the role of adding additional dimensions to the information, “bringing it to life”, so to say. 

In essence, this field revolves around executing technology-driven instructions for both online and offline learning models for teaching and learning in a specific area. Their execution and delivery comply with a pace at which a student would be able to apply to solve a problem or systematically develop their ideas.

What Does an Instructional Technologist do?

Day to day activities of an instructional technologist usually include:

  • Identifying and analyzing problems of the instructional design;
  • Devising and implementing solutions to those problems;
  • Integrating people, procedures, ideas, and devices to provide tools for improving the overall learning process.
What Does an Instructional Technologist do?

What is The Meaning of Educational Technology?

Educational technology definition translates to a wide array of teaching-and-learning–related software and hardware that’s increasingly being used in educational institutions across the globe. It’s student-centric, with a focus on how applications whether desktop, web-based, or mobile create a new and exciting platform for the delivery of knowledge and skills.

It implements theories of instruction, learning, behavioral and cognitive psychology to assess, design, implement, and evaluate study material. The same goes for solving instructional and performance issues.

Now, it’s a great time to debunk the difference between the technology of education and technology in education. The technology of education, also referred to as EdTech, encourages the use of technology to enhance the process of learning of the current school curriculum.

On the other hand, technology in education (TechEd) focuses on learning how technology works. This includes innovation through technology, coding and programming, and computer science. It is an integral piece for preparing students to create their own tools rather than becoming plain consumers.

To conclude, educational technology serves to facilitate collaboration and enhance knowledge transfer in an active learning environment. Its main goal is to deliver lessons in ways that are interactive and immersive via augmented reality or virtual reality for educational purposes.

What Educational Technologists do?

Regular activities of an educational technologist include: 

  • Designing instructions;
  • Producing and delivering instructional materials;
  • Regulating instructional computing services or learning resources collections;
  • Applying research and cognition theories to utilize technology for learners’ benefit.
What Educational Technologists do?

Do you wish to hear one big bonus for anyone interested in educational technology degrees and careers? 

Salaries earned by technologists are typically higher than those earned by regular teachers or instructors. Instructional technology jobs are among the best-paid specialty career paths for educators.

We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves: The average base salary for educational technologists is $61,690, while the instructional technologists can expect to make approximately $72,543 per year.

If you like how this sounds, it will be good for you to know just what tools do you have in your arsenal. Continue to the next paragraph to learn more about the hottest buzzwords in the field of educational technology.

What is The Technology Used in Education?

We established that modern technology can be a great tool for enhancing both teaching and learning processes beyond traditional principles of brick-and-mortar education. Here, we are going to introduce the top six educational technology trends in modern education:

  1. Custom Learning Experiences

Modern technology allows for initiating custom teaching and learning methodologies in our present-day educational infrastructure. Going beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to education, learners can now more than ever maximize their potential with lessons based on their needs, preferences, and availability. 

  1. Cloud Computing

With round-the-clock accessibility of information stored in remote cloud servers, cloud computing made it possible to follow up with your education from virtually anywhere.

It also solved the problem of storing data for educational institutions.

  1. Speech-To-Text Options

Thanks to the virtual assistant apps that respond to voice commands or the speech-to-text feature coming with most devices, studying has never been more comfortable and fast-paced.

  1. Virtual And Augmented Learning Experiences

Thanks to these advancements, learners can get an immersive learning experience while at their current location. These features are extremely important for depicting parts of the curriculum the educational institution otherwise couldn’t provide resources or an opportunity for.

  1. 3D Printing

3D printing, also known as prototyping, allows students to unleash their creative ideas and gain more hands-on experience.

  1. Learning Analytics

Learning data is crucial for assessing and evaluating student engagement, traction, and learning output. To put it shortly, it’s the revolutionary tool for improving the quality of education for all. 

What is The Technology Used in Education?

Why is Technology Important in Education?

There are numerous reasons why technology is a key aspect of modern education. Whether we like it or not, technology is everywhere, and for modern students to thrive in post-secondary education and the business world, they must be technologically literate.

To narrow it down, we came up with ten reasons for the growing importance of technology in education:

  1. Students demand it.

As they are constantly engaging with technology outside of the classroom, learning through technology has become an integral part of modern learners’ lifestyle.

  1. New teachers are demanding it. 

As technology carved its way into educational jobs at all levels, it is now considered a necessity for the modern learning environment.

  1. Kids are digital natives.

It’s no secret that youngsters today know technology better than most adults. Engaging with technology in the classroom not only helps them learn better, but it provides them with highly important multi-tasking skills. 

  1. Students can learn at their own pace.

With the integration of technology in education, students can slow down and go back over lessons and concepts, or simply go ahead if they are advanced. 

  1. Overcoming limitations. 

Educational technology doesn’t only let teachers come up with creative ways to present their lessons, but it also helps close the knowledge gap between students with different backgrounds. 

  1. It enhances relationships between teachers and students.

Effective integration of technology into subject areas helps teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and also coach, making the whole process more meaningful and fun. Students can also leverage the collaboration with their classmates on a higher level through numerous technological advancements.

  1. Online testing is the future. 

Teachers now can assess students’ performance instantly. Beyond seeing test scores in real-time, they can better track and understand students’ grasp of the subject thanks to learning analytics.

  1. A multitude of resources.

Teachers now have more tools in their arsenal to keep their students engaged: From the latest features and apps to various ways of presenting materials to their learners, they can effectively close the gap between students with different learning styles. 

  1. Technology keeps students engaged.

Modern students are considered technological learners. They are most efficient when being interactive, and technology is exactly what they need to retain their focus and learn faster.

  1. Technology is necessary to succeed in today’s job market.

As technology is gradually becoming a primary part of every industry, grasping its components early on will give students a leg up in the corporate world.

Transforming learning

Wrapping up: Finding Your Perfect Fit

With the increased digitization of all industries existing, and especially with the current pandemic situation we’re witnessing, it has become quite clear that the technology in learning is here to stay. What matters the most is choosing the right type of technology to support your learning objectives and enhance the learning experience for both the students and the teachers.

The accredited online Masters degree in Instructional Technology programme with the University of Zambia is carefully designed to provide you with the expertise needed for a successful career in instructional technologies. As our online student, you will be provided with theoretical and practical skills with real-world applications needed to bring your classroom into the digital age.

Learn more about the programme by downloading our prospectus.

Feel free to contact us in case you have any additional questions. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!