This article discusses the principles of two qualitatively different and somewhat competing instructional designs from the 1950s and 1960s, linear programmed instruction and programmed branching. Our hope is that an understanding of these ideas could have a positive influence on current and future instructional designers who might adapt these techniques to new technologies and want to use these techniques effectively. Although these older ideas do still see occasional mention and study (e.g., Brosvic, Epstein, Cook, & Dihoff, 2005; Dihoff, Brosvic, & Epstein, & Cook, 2004), many contemporary instructional designers are probably unaware of the learning principles associated with these (cf., Fernald & Jordan, 1991; Kritch & Bostow, 1998; McDonald, Yanchar, & Osguthorpe, 2005).
Some Classic Concepts Of Instructional Design And Outcomes
Although the idea of non-human feedback would seem to imply a mechanical or electronic device, other methods could be used. Epstein and his colleagues, for example, have used a multiple-choice form with an opaque, waxy coating that covers the answer spaces in a series of studies (e.g., Epstein, Brosvic, Costner, Dihoff, & Lazarus, 2003); when the learner scratches the opaque coating to select an answer choice, the presence of a star (or not) immediately reveals the correctness of an answer. Examples of the designs discussed next are based on paper books, but they are easily adaptable to technologies that use hyperlinks, drop-down menus, form buttons, and such.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Frame: A small piece of information or a statement to which the student is exposed, such as a page with a single question. In linear programmed instruction, a frame includes a stimulus, a response, and reinforcement (positive feedback).
Hierarchy of Learning: The concept that learning can be sequentially ordered along a continuum from lower-order to higher-order. “Bloom’s Taxonomy” is one of many that have been proposed.
Operant Conditioning: Learning through immediate positive feedback (reinforcement) regarding the correctness of an answer; the student learns to respond in a particular way to a particular question or issue (stimulus). Fading can be used by gradually reducing stimulus cues in subsequent frames when material is repeated.