Programmable learningLinear programming. As we have already noted, Skinner was very interested in the practical application of the theory of operant learning to the process of education. He was well aware that the principles of operant learning are usually not taken into account and are not applied in traditional education. To change this situation, he proposed his alternative to the traditional teaching option, called "programmed learning".
According to BF Skinner's theory, teaching is effective under three basic conditions:
1) when the information necessary for assimilation is presented gradually;
2) when the student receives immediate feedback regarding the correctness of his learning;
3) when the learning takes place at a pace acceptable to the learner.
On this basis, he develops his own principles of programmed learning. To the main of them, B. Skinner relates:
1. The principle of small steps. The training material should be divided into possibly small parts (steps). It is easier for students to master them than for large ones.
2. The principle of immediate confirmation of the answer. The student immediately after the answer should check its correctness. Only if the correct answer is possible, the next step is possible.
3. The principle of individualizing the pace of learning. The student will be able to achieve results in the teaching only when he is working at the optimal pace for each tempo.
4. The principle of gradual growth of the difficulty. The degree of the program's difficulty should gradually increase, you can do this by gradually reducing the guidance.
5. The principle of differentiated knowledge consolidation. Each generalization present in the text of the program must be repeated several times in different substantive contexts and illustrated with the help of a sufficient number of carefully selected examples.
6. The principle of a uniform course of instrumental teaching. A pupil is exposed to an ordered set of stimuli, to which he reacts in a certain way. His reactions are immediately positively or negatively evaluated by comparing their own responses with the standards contained in the program. As a result, allowing few errors and fixing the right reactions, he acquires knowledge "in small steps".
This version of programmed learning is commonly known as "linear programming". The principles outlined above constitute its theoretical basis, as far as the development of the "content framework", the forms of organization and the methods of instruction used in its use are purely pedagogical. They are detailed in works on didactics, and we will not dwell on them.
Another variant of programmed learning was offered by colleagues from BF Skinner - S. L. Presen from Ohio and N. A. Crowder from Chicago. These psychologists criticized Skinner's linear programming for rejecting errors in the development of educational texts. They insisted that the possibility of mistakes made by students in the teaching process should not be ruled out. They can be used to rationalize the learning process, giving them the status of controlling its quality, turning them into a means of detecting what the learner has not understood.
In addition, the authors of the new approach objected to the idea of BF Skinner about the principle of "small steps" (microinformation). S. P. Pressi and N. A. Crowder believed that the student, who is doomed to advance toward the goal in small steps, is thus deprived of the opportunity to achieve the goal abruptly. He quickly becomes tired and runs into boredom. Another drawback of the principle of small steps is that it does not allow individualizing the content of training. With its help, you can only adjust the pace of learning, adapting it to the capabilities of individual students.
H. A. Crowder criticized the practice of constructing the learner's answer, inherent in linear programming. In Skinner, a student needs to fill a gap in the text. Instead, N. A. Crowder suggests that the student make a choice from the answers given in the text. According to NA Crowder, the student in this case spends more intellectual efforts and he is more free in his work.
These objections, as well as a number of other judgments by SPPressi and NA Crowder, led to the creation of a new version of programmed instruction - "branched programming". The main theoretical theories of branched programming:
1. The teaching material should be divided into parts, the dimensions of which correspond to the volume of the minimal subtopics of traditional texts. The student must be aware of the goal that he must achieve. This can only provide relatively complete texts, and not "scraps" information.
2. After each dose of information should follow the question that puts the student in front of the need to independently choose the right answer among several erroneous or incomplete. In this case, the questions provide the implementation of the following functions:
- they should serve as a test of how well the learner understood and mastered the material placed in this program framework;
- in case of incorrect indication of the answer placed in the text, they send the student to the appropriate corrective framework;
- they should also provide students with the opportunity to consolidate critical knowledge by doing the appropriate exercises;
- it is their responsibility to make the learner actively work with the text, and thus include mechanical memorization;
- with their help you can form a student's value attitude to learning, developing his interest in the subject.
3. After specifying the answer, it is necessary to check the correctness of its choice. For this, the program should inform the student about the result of each choice, and in case of an error send it to the starting point.
4. The path through the branched program must be differentiated. The basis of differentiation is their cognitive abilities. As a result, the best students will be able to use a shorter route than their weaker comrades.
5. The level of complexity of the training material should increase.
6. The content of the corrective framework should be determined on the basis of a thorough analysis of the mistakes made in the field of individual subjects by students of certain classes.
7. Judgments, concepts, laws, principles should be presented in different contexts, meaningfully related to each other within the framework of the text.
Mixed program. Branched programming, like linear, has been criticized. The objection was primarily a way of presenting the answers. Recognizing the right answer among several (several dozen) incomplete or incorrect ones not only does not lead to positive learning outcomes, but even on the contrary - they weaken. The arguments were as follows:
1. Forcing the student to choose the answers, we force him to memorize and incorrect.
2. Lazy, as well as deprived of ambition, students can go along the line of least resistance and just try to guess the answers.
Criticism was also caused by the practice of learning "leaps and bounds" adopted in the extensive program. This leads to the fact that the student can not work systematically and without interference. Continuous access to the corrective framework does not allow him to concentrate his attention on the main thematic line and does not make it possible to separate the main from the secondary.Supporters of mixed programming criticized their predecessors for the fact that such a complex activity as learning activity, the proponents of linear programming tried to squeeze into the narrow framework of "teachings through writing", and the supporters of branched programming in the "teaching through guessing". In their opinion, it is much more productive to combine both forms of presenting answers, thanks to which a more rational program, similar to the real mechanism of people's learning, will be created.
Variants of such programs were created in the 1960s. in different countries (GDR, Poland, the USSR, etc.). A proprietary version of the mixed program, known as the "Sheffield Method", was created by British psychologists from the University of Sheffield.
* * *
In the 1960-1970's. not only neobyeviioristy, but also psychologists who stand on other theoretical positions, as well as educational scientists and workers of educational systems, associated with programmed learning a lot of hope. Now we can say that these hopes were not justified. The assertions of neobievoristov that programmed learning represents a revolution in education, similar to Copernican in astronomy, were hasty.
However, it should be noted that the emergence of programmed learning was, undoubtedly, an important, historically natural event in the culture of the second half of the 20th century. The enthusiasm for programmed learning was caused by a number of global trends in the development of culture of this period:
- programmed instruction is one of the testimonies of the materialization of the principle of the "connection of science with practice", during this period the idea that science is the productive force of society, from the category of "good wishes" gradually began to move into the category of real action;
- in the economically developed countries, the automation of many actions performed by a person has achieved a peak, the fascination with algorithms and algorithmization has reached incredible proportions, from the creation of algorithms for the production of various goods to attempts to develop algorithms for creative activity;
- the role of management in the organization of various aspects of life also played its role.
The historical merit of neo-Israelism, which has become the scientific basis for the development of various versions of programmed instruction, is to characterize the operation of psychological mechanisms. As we have already noted, another theory always comes to replace one theory, but the ideas of neo-Israelism are vital and continue to develop dynamically.
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