Tessmer, M. & R.C. Richey (1997). The Role of Context in Learning and Instructional Design. Journal of Educational Technology, Research & Development, 45(2), 85-115.

Tessmer & Richey (1997) provide a thorough exploration of context with attention to definition, history, levels and factors, process and data-gathering tools. They counter minimalist views of the design context, advocating an “instrumentalist position in which context is seen as an instrument for promoting the achievement of cognitive or behavioral goals” (p.86). In relation to learning and instructional design, they define context as “a multilevel body of factors in which learning and performance are embedded” (p.87). They offer an interdisciplinary theoretical rationale for context pulling from general systems theory, communications theory and psychological theory. They then propose a model of three contextual factors (learner, immediate environment and organizational) that operate within three contexts (orienting, instructional and transfer). They refer to culture as one of the “emerging contextual considerations” and focus on a “content culture” to characterize teacher’s instructional beliefs (p.98).