Essay about Communication Theory

760 Words 4 Pages
Background and History

With the advent of WWII, the idea of effectively communicating ideas to the masses moved to the forefront of research in the United States. Wilbur Schramm, considered by many to be the founder of communications as a field of study, served as the director of the Office of Facts and Figures and the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C. in the early forties. It was during these years, that he formed his vision of communication study (Rogers, 1994). Later, he would found the first doctoral program in communications.

While Schramm clearly founded communication studies, Claude E. Shannon proved to be the key theorist, conceptualizing the theory in the late 1940s that remains central to communication study
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Shannon's concept was quickly adopted by researchers in various disciplines and applies to computer science, physics, molecular biology and biotechnology, psychology, linguistics and communications. Following the publication of Shannon and Weaver's book, hundreds of schools of communication were started at U.S. universities and around the world (Rogers, 1994).

Communication Theory and Human Interactions: an Adaptation of Shannon's Model

Shannon clearly designed his theory as a mathematical model that does not take human emotions and experiences into account (Rogers, 1994). However, communication scholars immediately applied the theory to human interaction. Schramm adapted the model to deal with the concern of "communication, reception, and interpretation of meaningful symbols--processes at the heart of instruction" (Heinich, Molenda, Russell & Smaldino, 1996). Schramm emphasized that communication cannot occur unless the field of experiences of the sender and receiver overlap, in order to challenge and extend the knowledge of the receiver (Heinich,, 1996).

The success of this interaction would then be measured by the feedback the receiver would give to the sender once the message has been transmitted. Feedback, in an instructional setting, may take the form of discussions, observations or tests. Schramm's adaptation provides a communication model that is measurable and adjustable for the production of effective communication in an instructional
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