6.1 Communication Models

The Shannon-Weaver model is one foundational theory of information transmission. It features a sender who encodes a message to send over a communication channel. A receiver at the other end then decodes the message. Watch the following six-minute video for an overview of the model:

https://youtu.be/etcIX0aC-4E (6:18 minutes)


Another model, by Wilber Schramm, built upon these same concepts, but also acknowledged the interaction between sender and receiver by considering what he called “fields of experience,” or whether the sender and receiver had enough shared experience to be able to communicate effectively. The following eight-minute video discusses Schramm’s model and applies it explicitly to teaching and learning:

https://youtu.be/KZKacQqd8LE (7:39 minutes)


While all teachers are concerned with crafting their instructional messages in a way that students can receive and understand, educational technologist have the added concern of making sure the technology facilitates communication rather than impedes it. When technology mediates communication between teacher and student, there is a risk that it will introduce noise into the communication process. At the same time, technology can provide opportunities to encode a message in meaningful ways.


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Foundations of Educational Technology Copyright © 2017 by Penny Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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