in the effect size for this study compared to a previous meta-analytical study. This increase was partially attributed to more effective use of programmed instruction in more recent years. The essence of the results of this study is that programmed instruction was more effective than conventional methods of instruction.
Despite many years of popular use and the continued improvement in the effectiveness of its application, programmed instruction has become an anathema to some. While getting a couple of conceptual details correct, Slavin (2000) appeared to misrepresent programmed instruction as an impractical approach to instruction. He expressed several points to identify PI as “self-instructional” and condemning it for establishing a setting where “students are expected to learn (at least in large part) from the materials, rather than principally from the teacher.” And despite previous research into the use and effectiveness of PI, Slavin (2000) opined, “the programmed instruction techniques that were developed in the 1960s and 1970s generally failed to show any achievement benefits.” Continuing his analysis, Slavin alleged “programmed instruction methods have not lived up to expectations …” and blamed the “expense and difficulty of using programmed instruction” as the reason why “this strategy is seldom used today as a primary approach to instruction.”
Notwithstanding the potential influx of criticism from advocates of non-behaviorist approaches, Bostow et al. (1995) discussed the interaction of learners as being more significant in cases where the learner must “overtly” respond. This overt response, or behavior, is strengthened with successful interaction and results in increased motivation for student and teacher. These interactions involve “learning units” which are described in behavioral terms as reinforcement contingencies. Recognizing the evolution and expansion of computers in the classroom, Bostow et al. (1995) pointed out several areas where computers can make dramatic improvements, but emphasized the need for highly disciplined application of the various techniques of programmed instruction.