Media and learning: Are there two kinds of truth?

  • Eldon J. Ullmer


This article examines the assumptions and methods of conventional instructional media research to gauge its sufficiency as a basis for issuing the controversial finding that media do not influence learning and as an inquiry model for documenting media's educational effects generally. Examples of complex media effects are given and emerging media application paradigms are identified to support the argument that both a new conceptualization of the media and learning question and new approaches to its study are needed. An alternative values framework for guiding research on the effects of modern interactive technologies in complex learning environments is offered.


Media Research Learning Environment Educational Technology Media Effect Medium Application 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Becker, R. (1991, March/April). How to build an authoring environment.Instruction Delivery Systems, pp. 6–15.Google Scholar
  2. Boring, E.G. (1960). CP speaks: Nothing-but and something-more.Contemporary Psychology, 5(4), 124–125.Google Scholar
  3. Bretz, R. (1969).Communication media: Properties and uses. Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, D. (1992, August 10). Large, simple trials for big medical answers.The Washington Post, p. A3.Google Scholar
  5. Clark, R. (1982). [Review ofMedia in instruction: 60 years of research].Educational Communication and Technology Journal, 30(1), 60.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, R. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media.Review of Educational Research, 53, 445–459.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, R. (1991, February). When researchers swim upstream: Reflections on an unpopular argument about learning from media.Educational Technology, pp. 34–38.Google Scholar
  8. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt University. (1991, May). Technology and the design of generative learning environments.Educational Technology, pp. 34–40.Google Scholar
  9. Cohn, V. (1993, March 23). Taming technology.The Washington Post, Health, p. 10.Google Scholar
  10. Dede, C. (1992, May). The future of multimedia: Bridging to virtual worlds.Educational Technology, pp. 54–60.Google Scholar
  11. Driscoll, M. (1984). Alternative paradigms for research in instructional systems.Journal of Instructional Development, 7(4), 6–11.Google Scholar
  12. Esslin, M. (1982).The age of television. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  13. Gayeski, D. (1992, May). Making sense of multimedia: Introduction to special issue.Educational Technology, pp. 9–13.Google Scholar
  14. Greenspan, S., & Salmon, J. (1993, September 19). The tracking trap.The Washington Post, p. C3.Google Scholar
  15. Hannafin, M. (1986). The status and future of research in instructional design and technology.Journal of Instructional Development, 8(3), 24–30.Google Scholar
  16. Hlynka, D. (1991, June). Postmodern excursions into educational technology.Educational Technology, pp. 27–30.Google Scholar
  17. Ideas for the classroom. (1989, September 27).The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A19.Google Scholar
  18. Jaspers, F. (1991, March). Interactivity or instruction: A reaction to Merrill.Educational Technology, pp. 21–24.Google Scholar
  19. Jonassen, D. (1993, January). Thinking technology.Educational Technology, pp. 35–37.Google Scholar
  20. Kangilaski, J. (1990).Medical Tribune. (Issue and page unknown).Google Scholar
  21. Kantrow, A. (1980). The strategy-technology connection.Harvard Business Review, 58(4), 6–21.Google Scholar
  22. Kay, A. (1991, September). Computers, networks and education.Scientific American, pp. 138–148.Google Scholar
  23. Kochen, M. (1981). Technology and communication in the future.Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 32, 148–157.Google Scholar
  24. Kozma, R. (1991). Learning with media.Review of Educational Research, 61, 179–211.Google Scholar
  25. Lardner, J. (1982, May 14). The call of the hawk's hawk.The Washington Post, pp. C1, C4.Google Scholar
  26. Lias, E. (1982).Future mind. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  27. Loftus, G. (1991). On the tyranny of hypothesis testing in the social sciences. [Review ofThe empire of chance: How probability changed science and everyday life].Contemporary Psychology, 36, 102–104.Google Scholar
  28. Masys, D. (1988, November).Know thy molecular self: Power for and from biotechnology computing. Program abstract of paper presented at the Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  29. Masys, D. (1989). Biotechnology computing: Information science for the era of molecular medicine.Actademic Medicine, 64: 379–81.Google Scholar
  30. Mielke, K. (1968). Asking the right ETV research questions.Educational Broadcasting Review, 2(6), 54–61.Google Scholar
  31. Pagels, H. (1989).The dreams of reason. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  32. Postman, N. (1986).Amusing ourselves to death. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  33. Rabb, T. (1987, October 7). If scholars are to produce serious television, they may have to resort to purple prose—even hokum.The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. B1, B3.Google Scholar
  34. Relan, A. (1991, January). The desktop environment in computer-based instruction: Cognitive foundations and implications for instructional design.Educational Technology, pp. 7–14.Google Scholar
  35. Rowland, G. (1993). Designing and instructional design.Educational Technology Research and Development, 41(1), 79–91.Google Scholar
  36. Salomon, G. (1978). On the future of media research: No more full acceleration in neutral gear.Educational Communication and Technology Journal, 26(1), 37–46.Google Scholar
  37. Salomon, G. (1991). Transcending the qualitative-quantitiative debate: The analytic and systemic approaches to educational research.Educational Researcher, 20(6), 10–18.Google Scholar
  38. Schön, D. (1987).Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  39. Schön, D. (1988, July). Designing: Rules, types and worlds.Design Studies, pp. 181–190.Google Scholar
  40. Schrage, M. (1990, January 14). Can technology grant all wishes?The Washington Post, pp. H-1, H-3.Google Scholar
  41. Smarter choices (1992, April 15).The Bethesda Gazette, p. A-21. (Reprinted fromThe Mayo Clinic Nutrition Letter, 1991.)Google Scholar
  42. Sommer, R. (1978).The mind's eye. New York: Delta Books.Google Scholar
  43. Spangler, K. (1977).A scenario approach to assessment of new communications media. Menlo Park, CA: Institute for the Future. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 189 674).Google Scholar
  44. Spitzer, D., & Kielt, J. (1977, July). Technology assessment: An antidote for Murphy's Law.Educational Technology, pp. 20–23.Google Scholar
  45. Tesler, L. (1991, September). Networked computing in the 1990s.Scientific American, pp. 86–93.Google Scholar
  46. van Merriënboer, J., Jelsma, O., & Paas, F. (1992). Training for reflective expertise: A four component instructional design model for complex cognitive skills.Educational Technology Research and Development, 40(2), 23–43.Google Scholar
  47. Vaughan, T. (1988).Using hypercard. Carmel, IN: Que Corporation.Google Scholar
  48. West, T. (1991).In the mind's eye: Visual thinkers, gifted people with learning difficulties, computer images, and the ironies of creativity. Buffalo: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  49. Winner, L. (1986).The whale and the reactor. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  50. Yardley, J. (1987a, February 2). The TV lesson: ‘Square One’ just adds up to fun.The Washington Post, p. D2.Google Scholar
  51. Yardley, J. (1987b, October 18). First family of Detroit. [Review ofThe Fords].The Washington Post, Book World, p. 3.Google Scholar
  52. Zukav, G. (1980).The dancing Wu Li masters. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eldon J. Ullmer
    • 1
  1. 1.the National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of HealthBethesda

Personalised recommendations