Programmed instruction is the study in which the text material is divided into small steps in a series and presenting it in sequence to the students, while making fewer mistakes, they are taught new and complex subject matter according to their speed. In this whole process the students are nurtured through the knowledge of their progress.
In 1912, E. L. Thorndike envisioned a method of teaching equitable to programmed instruction. In 1920, Sydney L. Prassey created a learning machine by which a series of questions were presented to the students and the students would know whether their answer was right or wrong immediately after answering the questions. The students, getting the knowledge of their progress from this, used to prepare with double the strength to go towards their set objectives.
After this Herbert University Professor B.F. Skinner did many experiments on adsorption and James G. In collaboration with Holland, self-learning material was created, which today is considered the basis of programmed instruction or programmed learning. Skinner designed a model of teaching-learning. This be programmed today is called linear programmed instruction.
Meaning and Definitions of Programmed Instruction
1. According to Smith and Poore, “Programmed instruction is the process of arranging a learning material into a series of sequential steps, by which students are moved from their familiar background to new and complex facts, theories and concepts”.
2. According to D.L. Cook, “Programmed learning is a discipline used to clarify a broader concept of self-learning methods.”
3. According to Stoffel, “Programmed instruction of arranging small pieces of knowledge in a logical sequence and its whole process is called programmed instruction”.
On the basis of the above definitions, it can be said that programmed learning is that instruction in which the text material is divided into small steps and sequenced and presented to the students sequentially, giving the opportunity to learn with minimum mistakes. This is a method that does not require a teacher. In this, opportunity is given for learning in the form of individual instruction. In this, the student learns according to his own pace and also realizes the attainment of knowledge. It is considered a process of behavior change.
Principles of Programmed Instruction
To make the teaching process effective, certain principles are followed while preparing the plan. In fact these are practical principles. These principles provide for programmed learning. These theories have been formulated on the basis of the research work of the laboratory of psychology. Chief among these theories are as follows-
1. Principle of small steps:- While making the learner learn, the content of the programmed material is arranged in small steps and presented to the students in a sequence. In each term, students are given a space to respond. The response to the post is given along with it. While studying that term, the student hides the correct answer and studies only one term at a time. By studying on the basis of this principle, the student learns the subject matter easily and assimilates the text material.
2. Principle of Behavior Analysis:- In programmed instruction, emphasis is laid on practicality instead of theory while dividing the teaching material into small terms so that the student can make permanent the knowledge of that term or teaching material by behaving towards the topic.
3. Principle of Active Participation:- The second achievement of the research work of the laboratory of psychology is that if the student remains active while learning, then he learns more. After reading the terms of programmed instruction, the student has to respond appropriately to fill in the blanks. It is the principle of learning that the learner learns more 'by action'. This concept is followed in this act of instruction. Responding correctly to student positions requires activity.
4. Theory of Immediate Reinforcement:- Reinforcement theory has the assumption that the student learns more by verifying the responses of the students. The responses that the student makes while reading are quickly checked and the student learns at a faster rate by getting positive reinforcement for the correct response.
5. Principle of Logical Sequence:- In programmed instruction, the terms are arranged in such a logical order that the indication of the advance term is received in the previous term, which generates curiosity in the student to know that term. For the fulfillment of his curiosity, he goes on learning the terms one after the other sequentially, so that the student is successful in getting a complete knowledge of that subject matter.
6. Principle of self-paced:- If the learner is given an opportunity to learn at his own pace, then he absorbs more. This principle is related to individual differences. The student responds by reading the term, then checking them himself, then reading the next verse. In all these activities, the student has the freedom to study according to his ability and speed. Due to this, the time of the students studying at a fast pace is affected, then the student studying at a slow pace moves ahead by understanding the post. Individual variation is controlled on the basis of time factor.
7. Principle of Content Validity:- According to the teaching objectives, the frames of programmed instruction are prepared so that they can be achieved easily.
8. Principle of Student Testing and Progress Knowledge:- After studying one frame, the student has to give feedback on the previous term to move to the next and these terms are based on simple to complex rule. On the basis of the number of terms that the student solves, he keeps track of the progress of his knowledge.
Features of Programmed Study Material
- The programmed material is subjective, only one student absorbs it at a time.
- The course material is divided into small chapters and teaching points.
- The learner has to make continuous active efforts.
- The smaller parts are serialized.
- There is a logical and natural addition of the former term to the advance term.
- In programmed study, the child gets immediate back-nutrition.
- Programmed instruction is based on the principles of psychological learning.
- Programmed instruction also explains the remedial instruction by diagnosing the weaknesses and difficulties of the students.
- The programmed instructional material is evaluated and modified and modified through student responses.
- Learning through programmed instruction has a lower rate of errors than classroom study.
Advantages of Programmed Learning
- Programmed learning makes the students active and self-reliant.
- In this type of learning, result is known immediately which motivates the students for further learning.
- The instruction is individualises in the same that each student is able to proceed this own pace. In branching programme, the learner receives information related to his own needs.
- It makes learning easy because the learning material is presented in small instalments.
- It provides feeding material to the self-instruction devices like computer, teaching machines, programmed text etc.
- It may help the teachers in the reduction of their total load of work. The time thus saved may be utilised by the teacher in some creative activities.
- The programmed instruction is a better prepared and planned material as compared to traditional teaching. So it is bound to yield good results.
- Repetition ensures learning which further strengthens the purposes.
Limitations of Programmed Learning
No doubt, programmed learning has a large number of advantages. It also has a few shortcomings which are stated below:
- The orthodox teachers who are indifferent to any change in methodology of learning will not relish to accept programmed learning material for class-room teaching.
- Some students who are not habitual of working at their own may not study. A few of them may become lazy and feel sleepy.
- There is need for preparing suitable programmes for the learners in the Indian situations which is quite expensive.
- It cannot foster proper attitudes, aesthetic appreciation, moral standards etc.
- In programmed learning, subject matter is presented to the learners and they give the response. It does not help in the development of their imagination.
- No flexibility is there because every learner has to follow the same track rigidly.
- Good teachers are needed for preparing the programme but there is dearth of such teachers.
- It can be used in some subjects only and that too for limited topics only
- It may encourage guessing and thus may not result in real learning.
- No remedy is suggested for responses.
Application of Programmed Instruction in Education
The usefulness of programmed instruction is well known in the present era. It is used not only in education but also in other fields. In the field of education, it is used in the following areas-
- For the education of special types of children.
- In educational technology
- In the field of distance and adult education.
- In the field of mass education and self-education.
- In the field of teaching-training.
- In the field of guidance and remedial training.
- In the field of correspondence education.
- In preparing radio industrial lessons.
- In the field of non-formal and continuing education.
Programmed instruction playing an important role in the present era is in the hands of the teacher as a very useful technique, using which the teacher can give a deep understanding to his students. Through this, complete mastery in the subject matter can be achieved.