Creating.Creation refers to the research, theory, and practice involved in the generation of instructional materials, learning environments, and large teaching learning systems in many different settings, formal and nonformal. The educational technology field has witnessed an evolution in media formats and in theoretical underpinnings for the materials and systems that have been created—from silent films to programmed instruction to multimedia packages to Web-based microworlds.
Creating can include a variety of activities, depending on the design approach that is used. Design approaches can evolve from different developer mindsets: aesthetic, scientific, engineering, psychological, procedural, or systemic, each of which can be employed to produce the necessary materials and conditions for effective learning.
A systems approach, for example, might entail procedures for analyzing an instructional problem, designing and developing a solution, evaluating and revising decisions made at each step, and then implementing a solution. Assessing results and taking corrective action along the way is referred to as formative.evaluation, while assessing the impact of the project at the end is referred to as summative.evaluation. Different sorts of evaluative questions are asked at different stages. At the front-end.analysis stage, is there a performance problem and does it entail instructional needs? In learner.analysis, what are the characteristics of the learners? In task.analysis, what capabilities must the learners master? At the design stage, what are the learning objectives? is the blueprint aligned with those objectives? Do instructional materials instantiate the principles of message.design? At the development stage, does the prototype actually guide learners toward the objectives? At the implementation stage, is the new solution being used and used properly? What is its impact on the original problem?
Design and development processes are influenced by the varied analog and digital technologies used to create instructional materials and learning environments. Designing for teacher-led classroom instruction, for example, may follow a different path than designing for a computer-based simulation game. What is created may be not only the materials for instruction and the surrounding learning environments, but also such supporting tools as databases for knowledge management, online databases for problem exploration, automated help systems, and portfolios for displaying and assessing learning.