In this paper we explore the role of theories in current practice in educational technology. We review a range of writings from the past 30 years on the nature of learning technology research. We discuss influences on learning technologies from the related fields of Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). We identify two groups of theories which have been used. The first group are related to principled decisions about the design of learning materials. The second group influence the ways in which we frame our research on learning. Research in learning technologies in the future will need to draw on both groups of theories. In this paper, we draw on our own experiences as educational technologists and the purpose of the paper is to encourage other educational technologists to join with us in reflecting on their own use of theories
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