As the 50s brought competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, the 80s rival in terms of technological advancement and superpower status turned towards Japan and West Germany. As a result American schools shifted to a Cognitive domain.
- (1980) Seymour Papert publishes Mindstorms
- (1983) MD Merrill established The Component Display Theory. Component Display Theory specifies four primary presentation forms: rules, examples, recall and practice as well as prerequisites, objectives, helps, mnemonics, and feedback.
- (1983) Howard Gardner publishes Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
- (1984) Apple Macintosh computer introduced
- (1984) David Kolb publishes Experiential Learning: Experiences as the Source of Learning and Development
- (1987) Hypercard develped by Bill Atkinson
- growth of users of microcomputers/personal computers
- computer-based instruction
- adoption of instructional systems development by American businesses
- expansion of systems concept - performance technology
- Larry Cuban writes How Teachers Taught: Constancy and Change in American Classrooms 1880-1980