Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How do faculty select instructional technology?

Faculty often indicate that they learn about the technologies they select from a colleague, whether a faculty member or instructional designer. This process often resembles what Tony Bates has dubbed "technological determinism": selecting technology "because it's new or because a colleague has had success with it" (Selecting online learning technologies, 2012). 

Yet this approach may overlook important differences in the instructional context, purpose, and audience. A design-oriented approach to instructional technology can address these differences.

As part of ongoing action research, the LEAPS framework and job aid below were created to assist faculty in selecting instructional technology by using a design perspective. 

​LEAPS Framework for Technology Selection

LEAPS is a mnemonic that stands for learner analysis, engagement, accessibility, purpose of instruction, and sustainability:

LEAPS simple.png

Each of these five areas encompasses more detailed considerations, as reflected in the LEAPS job aid below. ​Informed by key principles of instructional design, the LEAPS job aid is read from left to right. This order guides faculty to think about technology through a series of steps that parallels those in backwards course design. 

This job aid can help faculty:

  • Formulate pertinent questions to ask a colleague when discussing their use of technology
  • Consider the pros and cons of multiple technologies that have similar instructional capabilities
  • Identify issues to seek more information about before proceeding in selecting and implementing a technology
  • Consider ramifications of their technological selection that they might have overlooked

LEAPS Framework for Instructional Technology Selection (1).jpeg 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.​

LEAPS Framework for Instructional Technology Selection (accessible version)​.


​CAFÉ thanks the faculty whose insights shaped the creation of this job aid for the benefit of other faculty and whose participation remains confidential in accordance with an IRB-approved research study. Any faculty who are interested in contributing to ongoing action research based on this job aid and its use should contact Laura Lohman​ for more details about how to get involved.

A Cur​rent Application​

As we shift our instruction rapidly into an online environment, we have an immediate opportunity to pause and apply the LEAPS framework. This means beginning by thinking about our learners. As Daniel Stanford​ has elaborated, our students, as they have returned home, having varying kinds of access to the internet and to devices. Moreover, they are now located in different time zones. They may be sharing one device with several family members. All these situational factors impact how easily students can use the technologies we adopt. Acknowledging this, we may decide to shift away from heavy reliance on high-bandwidth technologies like videoconferencing towards other technologies that still provide an immediacy of interaction (in the Engagement area of LEAPS) at a lower bandwidth. These types of technologies are located in the blue section of Stanford's matrix below. ​For more information about technologies ​available to us and to our students ​for collaborative documents, see ​​Supporting Student Collaboration​. For more information about chat within MyCourses, see ​Creating a Chat Session​.



Selecting online learning technologies: An interview with Tony Bates. (2012, July 31). Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

Stanford, D. (2020, March 16). ​​Videoconferencing alternatives: How low-bandwidth teaching will save us all. IDD Blog. Retrieved from​.​


Laura Lohman

Laura Lohman, PhD, SHRM-SCP, CAAP, PMP

Director, Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence

Professor of Music

(704) 337-2547​