Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Shirley Walrod

Committee Member

Charles A. Schlosser

Committee Member

Ronald J. Chenail


communication, content analysis, educational technology, hype cycle, learning theory, systems theory


The Association for Educational and Communications and Technology (AECT) is the leading organization for educational-technology professionals and a leader in the definition of the field. Since the first AECT definition in 1963, definitional changes have represented a shift from using specific learning components and messages to control learning processes, to using these elements to facilitate and support teaching and learning. The changing definition has reflected the trends in the field and an ever-deepening theory base. Previous researchers have identified a gap between what theories project should happen and the actual design and practice—or what does happen—in technology-enhanced learning environments. In other words, there is often a disconnect between theory, design, and practice. This study addressed changes in theories selected in the field of educational technology. Examining the theories used in the past and how these have changed as AECT’s definition of the field has changed may prove useful in strengthening future connections between theory, design, and practice. Content analysis was used to examine the AECT conference proceedings from 1979 to 2013 to track theoretical shifts over the period studied. Observed changes in theory were further examined using the hype cycle. Systems theory informed the study.

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