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Whatever Happened to Programmed Learning?

Graham Wagner

In the late 1950s programmed learning was set to revolutionise teaching. B. F. Skinner started the movement in 1954 with a provocative paper entitled 'The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching'.
We are on the threshold of an exciting and revolutionary period, in which the scientific study of man will be put to work in man's best interests. Education must play its part. It must accept the fact that a sweeping revision of educational practices is possible and inevitable.
The scientific approach Skinner had used in his own experimental work with animals could, he believed, be· applied to human learning by the use of teaching machines:
If the teacher is to take advantage of recent advances in the study of learning, she must have the help of mechanical devices.

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