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A Test of Some Assumptions Underlying Programmed Instruction

Jacobs, Paul I.; Kulkarni, Sharadchandra
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Feedback, Instructional Effectiveness, Programmed Instruction


Programmers try to construct programs which are carefully sequenced and provide the learner with immediate knowledge of results. The present research has implications for these program construction practices and their underlying rationale. Ss were randomly assigned to Group R, the regular version of the program, Group O, the program with knowledge of results omitted, and Group I, the program with the order of some frames inverted. Chemistry and mathematics programs were used with a total of 223 students in three schools. The general conclusions were: (1) A mismatch between program and students may occur when a program is too redundant for students of a particular ability level to provide sufficient challenge to them. Such mismatches may be revealed by a comparison of R, O, and I conditions with regard to posttest achievement and attitude toward programmed instruction. (2) Ability and motivational characteristics of the students, administrative variables, and subject matter variables may be at least as important as the programming variables (sequencing and knowledge of results) that we manipulated.

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