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Programmed Instruction

Description of the Strategy

Programmed instruction became popular in the field of education in the 1960s and early 1970s as an application of behavioral principles and, more specifically, the principles of operant conditioning. The term described a method in which learners proceeded through a carefully designed and sequenced set of stimulus frames to which they had to respond. The optimal teaching sequence provided steps that were carefully designed in small increments to ensure the elimination of unwanted (incorrect) responses. This process of reinforcing small steps toward a goal is called shaping. Correct responses were immediately acknowledged and reinforced with tokens or social praise. Incorrect responses, if they occurred, were also immediately acknowledged by providing further instruction until a correct response was achieved.

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