Approaches to Educational Technology


The hardware approach is based on the application of engineering principles for developing electro-mechanical equipment for instructional purposes. Motion pictures, tape recorders, television, teaching machines, computers are called educational hardware.

Hardware approach mechanises the process of teaching so that teachers would be able to deal with more students with less expenditures in educating them.

Human knowledge has three aspects:

  • Preservation,
  • Transmission and
  • Development.

The history of preservation of the knowledge is believed to exist since the printing machines started. The knowledge is preserved with these machines in the form of books which are shelved in the libraries, tape recorders and films.

The second aspect of human knowledge is its transmission. A teacher can impart knowledge himself to his pupils. Now a days, transmission of the knowledge is supported by machine like mike, radio and television. With these, thousands of pupils enjoy this home-delivery of such benefits.

The third aspect of human knowledge is its development. For this aspect, provisions are made for research work. In the research programmes, the main function is the collection and analysis of data. For this purpose, presently the researcher uses the electronic machines and computers. Hence, all the three aspects of knowledge allow the use of machines. In short, the teaching process has been mechanized. The mechanization of teaching process is termed as the Hardware Approach.


The software approach used the principles of psychology for building in the learners a complex repertory of knowledge or modifying his behaviour. It originates from behavioural sciences and their applied aspects concerning psychology of learning. Psychology of learning provides solid technology for bringing desirable behavioural changes in the pupils and thus serves the cause of education of laying down definite instructional procedure, teaching behaviour and behaviour modification devices. The pioneering work in software approach was done by Skinner and other behaviourists. The programmes which such a technology produces are often called software. Software Approach is also termed as Instructional Technology or Teaching Technology or Behavioural Technology. Newspapers, books, magazines, educational games, flash cards may also form part of software. Software approach is characterised by task analysis, writing precise objectives, selection of appropriate learning strategies, immediate reinforcement of responses and constant evaluation.

Hence Software Approach is concerned with teaching objectives in behavioural terms, principles of teaching, methods of teaching, reinforcement of instructional system, feedback, reviews and evaluation. Software approach tries to develop all the three basic components of technology, i.e. Input, Process and Output.


Hardware Technology

Software Technology

1. Hardware technology has its origin in physical sciences and applied engineering.

1. Software technology has its origin in behavioural sciences and their applied aspects concerning psychology of learning

2. Here we are more concerned with the production and utilization of audio visual aid material and sophisticated instruments and mass media for helping teacher and learners in their task.

2. Here we try to make use of psychology of learning for the production and utilization of software techniques and materials in terms of learning material, teaching-learning strategies and other devices for smoothening the task of teaching learning.

3. It tries to adopt product-oriented approach. What is produced through software technology in the shape of teaching-learning material and strategy in being utilized by the hardware instruments and gadgets for effective teaching learning.

3. It tries to adopt a process-oriented technique or approach for the production of teaching-learning material and strategies. The material produced here is made available for being used by the hardware application.

4. It is based on the concept of service meaning hereby that it provides services in the field of education much in the same way as provided by telephone, electric heater, bulb etc. in the sphere of our day to day life. In this sense hardware technology clearly stands for making use of technology in education.

4. Software technology does not provide direct services to its users as provided by hardware technology and applied engineering. It helps in the production of software material being used by the hardware applications and gadgets for delivering their service to the users i.e. teachers and learners.

5. As examples of the appliances and gadgets being used in hardware technology service we can name radio, television, tape recorder, video, slides and film projectors, teaching machines and computer etc.

5. As examples of the material produced through software technology we can name, programmed learning material teaching learning strategy on psychology of learning (put into practice in the shape of charts, pictures, models, slides filmstrips, audio and video cassettes, software packages etc.)

6. Hardware technology needs the services of software technology for its use and functioning. It can’t go without the aid of software technology e.g. computer hardware in the shape of a machine like device is of no use if it does not make use of software services both for its operation as a machine and its multi-dimensional utilities. The use of application and utility software is in fact must for taking any service from the hardware technology of the computer.

6. Software technology proves most useful and productive in the case if it is assisted and made into use by the hardware applications and gadgets. However, it can go alone for delivering its services to the users without calling aid from the hardware technology i.e. you can make use of programmed learning material a graph a text, etc. directly for the individualized as well as group instructions.

7. Hardware technology has its mass appeal and utilization. It can contribute a lot in handing over the educational benefits to masses with greater case and economy.

7. Software technology has no such wide application and appeal to masses as found in the case of hardware appliances like radio, telephone, computer application, etc.

8. Hardware technology has resulted in improving the efficiency of educational, means and reducing the cost of education. A teacher may handle a big class with the help of hardware appliances like microphone, slide and film projectors etc.

8. Software technology also works for increasing the efficiency of the teachers as well as learning. However, it lags behind in the task of improving efficiency and reducing the cost of education.


System approach is a systematic attempt to coordinate all aspects of a problem towards specific objectives. Webster’s dictionary defines a system as “a regularly interacting or independent group of items forming a unified whole.” The characteristics of a system of may be explained with the help of an example – various parts of the digestive system may be called as components of digestive system. Every component of the digestive system contributes to as supports in functioning of the digestive system as a whole.

In the context of education, system is a unit as a whole incorporating all its aspects and parts, namely, pupils, teachers, curriculum, content and evaluation of instructional objectives. The teaching-learning process is viewed as communication and control taking place between the components of a system. In this case, the system is composed of a teacher, a student and a programme of instruction, all in a particular pattern of interaction.

The System Approach focuses first upon the learner and then course content, learning experiences and effective media and instructional strategies. Such a system incorporates within itself the capability of providing continuous self-correction and improvement. It is concerned with all elements of instruction including media, including hardware and software. Its purpose is to ensure that the components of the organic whole will be available with the proper characteristics at the proper time to contribute to the total system fulfilling the objectives.

In the systems approach to instruction, the teacher has to plan completely the utilization of selected resource material and the classroom activities. The teacher should have a good overall view of the subject, know his/her limitations, know all about his/her pupils and the individual differences in their learning capacities and plan accordingly. The system approach involves continuous evaluation of learning outcomes and utilization of knowledge gained by analysis of results of evaluation to suitably modify the plan of approach to achieve the stated objectives.

Major steps in the systems approach in education are:

1. Formulating of specific instructional objectives to be achieved and  defining instructional goals,
2. Deciding appropriate media to achieve these goals,
3. Defining learner characteristics and requirements,
4. Selecting appropriate methods suitable for effective learning to  take place,
5. Selecting appropriate learning experiences from available  alternatives,
6. Selecting appropriate materials and tools required,
7. Assigning appropriate personal roles for teachers, students and  supporting staff,
8. Implementing the programme,
9. Evaluating the outcome in terms of original objectives measured in  student performance and
10. Revising to improve efficiency of the system to improve students’  learning.


i. Systems approach helps to identify the suitability of the resource material to achieve the specific goal.

ii. Technological advance could be used to provide integration of machines, media and people for attaining the defined goal.

iii. It helps to assess the resource needs, their sources and facilities in relation to quantities, time and other factors.

iv. It permits an orderly introduction of components demonstrated to be required for systems success in terms of student learning.

v. It avoids rigidity in plan of action as continuous evaluation affords desired beneficial changes to be made.


i. Resistance to change. Old ways are difficult to erase. There is always resistance to any new method or approach.

ii. Involves hard work. Systems approach requires hard and continuous work on the part of school personnel. Some are not prepared for the extra load.

iii. Lack of understanding. Teachers and administrators are still not familiar with systems approach. Though it has been successfully implemented industry, it has still to make headway in education.

CONCLUSION. From the above discussion, it is understood that system approach is a systematic attempt to coordinate all aspects of a problem towards specific objectives. In education, this means planned and organised use of all available learning resources, including audio-visual media, to achieve the desirable learning objectives by the most efficient means possible.


About John Parankimalil

John Parankimalil, SDB, M.A. (English), M.Ed, Ph.D (Education), popularly known as P.D. Johny is a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco. He is presently the Rector and Principal of Don Bosco College, Tura, Meghalaya and Director of Don Bosco College of Teacher Education, Tura. He received the 1st Computer Literacy Excellence Award from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the President of India in August 2002 and the Guruvar Best Teacher Award from Shri Kapil Sibal, HRD Union Minister in 2009. He was formerly Principal of St Anthony's Higher Secondary School, Shillong and National President of All India Association of Catholic Schools (AINACS), New Delhi and the Charter President of Rotary Club of Orchid City, Shillong. He has authored several books. He is an Eduationist, Story-Teller and Leadership Trainer. He conducts seminars for Principals, Teachers, Students and Parents. His popular books include, He Can Who Thinks He Can (Macmillan), An Elocution Manual (Orient Longman), Progressive Parenting (Unicorn), Inspirational Stories for Purposeful Living (Babhani) The Way to Success and Happiness (Savio), How to Win Over Your Problems (Babhani), The Secrets of High Achievers (Babhani).
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4 Responses to Approaches to Educational Technology

  1. Renson says:


  2. tanu says:

    great knowledge..i recieved about different approches of educational technology..

  3. Chiazor Michael says:

    I got just the right information i needed. Keep up the good work.

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