instruction (PI), this active response allows the learner to control the advancement of the tutorial, incrementally progressing though the lesson material, and sequentially building up to the desired terminal behavior. “Learner control” in this behaviorist perspective is defined in terms of reinforced response to discriminative stimulus. This perspective holds that a student will learn as a result of being positively reinforced for having exhibited a specific observable behavior based on a particular contingent situation (Skinner, 1969).
Education in general, and the cited research in particular, has gone though an evolutionary progression. Programmed instruction grew from verbal and paper-based programs of study to teaching machines that provided automated instruction and facilitated learning by providing for immediate reinforcement, individual pace setting, and active responding. The emergence of technology in the last century and its continued advancement has broadened the perspectives of educational research. Studies using computer-based methods for delivering programmed instruction (Bostow et al., 1995; Kritch & Bostow, 1998; Kritch et al., 1995) have validated the significance of technology and its application in educational research and methods. A more recent influx in the field is the growing availability of high-speed, Internet-based distance learning. Despite these studies and the ostensible value of active learner response during instruction, much of what currently passes for computer- and web-based instruction does not use the basic contingency-response-feedback sequence. A learner can survey most web-based learning landscapes at his / her discretion “clicking” hyperlinks here or there, as desired, and advance to new material based upon his / her own criteria. Rather than progressing though a programmed course of material to focus the learner's attention on the desired behaviors, the student is allowed to follow his own interests, potentially skipping material that may seem uninteresting, to advance without complete understanding, and so on (Butson, 2003). Part of the reason for this could be that evaluation of a learner's performance on a