Learning Theory in Organizations, Part II
Uploaded by lancej13 on Oct 26, 2011
This paper is the second of three discussing learning theory as applied to organizations. In this part, we’ll examine instruction methods including programmed instruction and computer assisted instruction. (8 pages; 3 sources; MLA citation style)
As we’ve seen, learning that takes place within organizations is very different from formal schooling, because it has only one real goal: to enhance employee performance. Such learning then is really training; training to help employees work more efficiently.
We’ve explored the various ways in which companies assess their training needs and how they design training courses. This paper will concentrate on the actual instruction itself: the methods used—particularly computer assisted learning; the topics suitable to be taught by this method, and some of the characteristics of programmed learning methods.
II Programmed Instruction and Computer Aided Learning
Programmed instruction (PI) is a very old technique that was first developed in the early part of the 20th Century. The Depression interrupted the development of the method; it was also called into question by those who felt it was merely a testing tool, and didn’t actually teach. (Goldstein, p. 235).
Interest in the method revived in the 1950’s, when renowned psychologist B.F. Skinner felt that it would be possible to “apply his methods of operant conditioning to the educational process.” (Goldstein, p. 235). With a scientist of Skinner’s reputation behind PI, people took another look.
The basic method of programmed instruction (PI) is to break a lesson down into small, easily manageable pieces; and then reward the student for each right answer as he or she works through the set of steps. As Goldstein puts it:
“Its essential parameters include the following characteristics … All material is presented in small units called frames… Each frame requires an overt response from the learner… The learner immediately received feedback indicating the correctness of the response … The program is predesigned to provide proper learning sequences … Each trainee proceeds independently through the program at a pace commensurate with his or her own abilities.” (Goldstein, p. 236).
Thus the student looks at a frame, answers the question posed at the end of that frame, and immediately receives feedback as to whether the answer was correct or not. The material is further designed so that the student proceeds through it in the proper sequence, and finally, each student proceeds at his or her...