methods to organize and arrange the physical environment and lesson presentation to produce desired academic behavior. Programmed instruction is one such method. Programmed instruction requires that learning be done in small steps, with the learner being an active participant (rather than passive), and that immediate corrective feedback be provided at each step (Huitt & Hummel, 1998).
Programmed instruction, in the simplest terms, is a teaching technology that features educational practice resulting from laboratory and applied research in the area of experimental analysis of behavior. Some of the practice derived includes active student responding, priming, prompting, fading, and shaping. Educational content is said to be “programmed” when constructed, as Burton, Moore, and Magliaro (1996) quote Skinner, “of carefully arranged sequences of contingencies leading to the terminal performances which are the object of education.”
As a teaching technology, PI has its roots in behavioral science, which is now entering its ninth decade (Burton et al., 1996). Developed from Skinner's “teaching machine” concepts, PI established its effectiveness across disciplines, and was once the preferred method for teaching. The evolution of so-called, cognitive learning theories has not boded well for the theories of behaviorism, being misrepresented and even excluded from contemporary programs of study. Programmed instruction has, however, been established as an effective method of instruction.
Boden, Archwamety, and McFarland (2000) reviewed 30 independent studies comparing programmed instruction to conventional teaching methods. Using meta-analytical techniques, Boden integrated the findings from these studies to make evident that programmed instruction results in higher student achievement. The primary focus of Boden's study was to find a correlation between class size and achievement. However, no significant correlation was found. Nevertheless, an increase was noted