In the previous sections of this Module, we have learnt about the difference between media and technology, their roles in ODFL communications, and the features of different media used in communicating in ODFL contexts. Now let us look at procedures for selecting and using media in ODFL. There are different models guiding this process.

Models Guiding the Selection Process

In times when digital and physical worlds are more intertwined, decision-making for digital technology becomes an ever more complex endeavour owing to the broad range of interacting variables which need to be considered to make fully informed choices. There are a number of models that can be used to select the most suitable technology for teaching online. In this course, we introduce you to three such models.

The following models are frameworks specifically designed for educators as guides in their selection of educational technology and media for teaching and learning.

  • SAMR

The TPACK Model

In the definition of the term, its founders (Mishra and Koehler, 2006) emphasise the individuality of teaching and the unique contexts we all act within which inform our technology integration in similarly individual ways. On his TPACK website Koehler asks, “how can teachers integrate technology into their teaching? An approach is needed that treats teaching as an interaction between what teachers know and how they apply what they know in the unique circumstances or contexts within their classrooms (Koehler, 2009).”

Tpack framework 1.png

TPACK is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK). The TPACK approach goes beyond seeing these three knowledge bases in isolation by emphasising the kinds of knowledge that lie at the intersections between three primary forms: Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Technological Content Knowledge (TCK), Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK).

Effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between these components of knowledge situated in unique contexts. Individual teachers, grade-level, school-specific factors, demographics, culture, and other factors ensure that every situation is unique, and no single combination of content, technology, and pedagogy will apply for every teacher, every course, or every view of teaching (Koehler, 2012).

The SAMR Model

Unlike TPACK, which highlights the interrelation between technology, pedagogy and content, the SAMR model aims to describe degrees to which technology integration can happen in teaching by establishing what the effects are. Technology integration is viewed as a spectrum with one-on-one replacements for “traditional” tools/ methods on the one end and with tools enabling the complete transformation of teaching on the other. The visual below depicts the four different stages in the model, which you can discern by asking yourself the following question:

How far does the integration of technology alter tasks and teaching?

Samr framework 1.png


The SECTIONS model is a widely applied framework for many educators.  To teach effectively with technology, it is recommended that you  start your planning with a definition of the learning goals  you would want your students to reach by the end of a specific section in your course. This sequencing of your course planning enables you to conduct an effective assessment of the potential technological tools that you could employ to help your students reach those goals.  You will then arrive at a decision that is pedagogically sound that considers the ease of use of the tool for you and your students, the costs involved, and the support you will require for your implementation. Each of the letters in the acronym SECTIONS stands for a unique aspect worth your consideration while you are evaluating a specific tool for teaching.

The video below encapsulates the underlying factors to consider when choosing media for your ODFL communication. Watch the video for more insights on the perspective of Dr. Tony Bates.

by Tony Bates

When selecting media, at times, any one media may not be sufficient to teach some concepts. Hence, a major consideration for your instructional design is selecting the best media mix. This increases learning and maximises cost-effectiveness.
If you combine the right media mix encompassing media’s strengths with instructional methods that take advantage of these strengths, you can positively influence learning. Here are a few points to consider:

  • If you use too many media at one time, you can impede learning because learners can only process a limited amount of information at one time.
  • Media should support and enhance each other.
  • Base your media mix decision on what is being taught, how it is being taught, how it will be tested, and the characteristics of your target audience.
  • Different media may be needed for different learning outcomes.
  • Text may often be better than video and audio when the topic is complex. If text is being used, it should be understandable and clear.
  • Minimise reading to cater for students with reading disabilities.
  • For computer-based material, the best location for a key point, such as a formula, is the screen’s upper left area instead of the screen’s top right and bottom left.
  • For the best readability, you should left justify paragraphs.
  • Choose a font that is clear and easily readable.
  • Make use of “Hypertext” / “Hypermedia” since links often lead to other links, the links are like a three-dimensional web.
  • Use audio to teach skills like attitudes, intellectual skills such as learning languages and to gain attention, give feedback, give directions, and to provide realism.
  • Consider using animations as it can significantly enhance learning, motivation, and attitudes as well as reduce the time needed for learning. 
  • Your chosen media mix should meet the requirements of the instructional strategy, address all of the instructional events, effectively teach all of the learning outcomes and should allow for practice and feedback.
  • For verbal information such as knowledge and comprehension, use text and visuals.
  • For psychomotor skills, use real equipment although, for practical reasons such as cost and safety, you may need to create a simulation that incorporates a variety of media. Video with audio, images or text support can be superb for teaching psychomotor skills as well.
  • Remember to consider learner characteristics when selecting instructional media.

Guide for selecting the best technology

The three media and technology selection models above will guide you towards understanding the choices that are available to you. With the understanding of your ODFL environment, here’s a checklist you can use to analyse whether the technology you have thought of using is appropriate and suitable for your online teaching needs.

Elearning guide.png

Some important factors to consider in the decision and selection of communication media and technology include context, purpose, audience, rhetorical impact, professional competency, and feasibility. Watch the following video by Edward O’Neill to learn the overall perspective you need to employ when selecting the best technology for your online communication (2 mins).

By Dr. Edward O’Neill (educause)

Module 2 discussed ways of working with the technologies and media to which you have access in your contexts to assist you to create effective communication channels with your online students. Media and technology play essential roles in the ODFL communications ecosystem. Knowledge on the technological tools that are available enables you to plan your ODFL communication. Models such as TPACK, SAMR, and SECTIONS guide you in selecting and using media for learning and teaching in ODFL contexts. This, in due course, helps in planning your course structure, learning activities, feedback and communication strategies. We will focus more on this in Module 3.


 Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning. Vancouver BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from: Teaching in a Digital Age (

Covello, S. (2017, September). Teaching With Rich Media. Paper presented at the meeting of NERCOMP, College of the Holy Cross – Hogan Campus Center, Worcester, MA. Retrieved from: Licensing and Citation – Teaching With Rich Media (

Egbert, J. (2017). Methods of Education Technology: Principles, Practice, and Tools. Pressbooks. Retrieved from: Preface – Methods of Education Technology: Principles, Practice, and Tools (

Hill, J. & Jordan, L. (n.d.). Experiential Learning in Instructional Design and Technology. Alabama Open Publishing House. Retrieved from:

Hirtz, S. (2008). Education for a Digital World: Advice, guidelines and effective practice from around the globe. BCCampus and Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved from: Education for a Digital World (

Weilandt, J. (2019). Orientation to Teaching at the UOFL Handbook. Lethbridge University Teaching Centre. Retrieved from: