Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 15–28 | Cite as

The big wrench vs. integrated approaches: The great media debate

  • Robert D. Tennyson


This article sums up the current state of the media debate by comparing and contrasting the seven positions presented in the ETR&D special issue (Vol. 42(2), 1994). Presented first is a review of the science-wide conflict between advocates of a given approach versus proponents of integrated approaches to the solving of complex problems. Advocates of a given approach are characterized as offering a “big wrench” (i.e., panacea) solution that can be generalized across problems. While in contrast are integrated approaches (e.g., the Swiss knife) that attempt to solve problems by bringing together a variety of variables and conditions. In section two is presented an example of an integrated approach that deals directly with the role of media in learning. Finally, the positions of the seven authors are compared and contrasted employing eight instructional design variables.


Design Variable Complex Problem Educational Technology Integrate Approach Instructional Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Tennyson
    • 1
  1. 1.the Department of Educational Psychologythe University of Minnesota at MinneapolisUSA

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