The Effects of Step Size, Response Mode and Knowledge of Results Upon Achievement in Programmed Instruction
AbstractThis study explored the likelihood that current inconsistencies in findings relating to the programming variables of step size (SS), response mode (RM) and knowledge of results (KR) might stem from the tendency of past research to investigate these variables in isolation from each other. Such an approach fails to make provision for the observation of possible interactions. Accordingly, four levels of KR (O, 50% variable-ratio, 100%, 100% plus incentive), three levels of RM (overt, covert, covert plus random overt) and two levels of SS (large, small) were incorporated into a factorial design. Three intact classrooms were randomly assigned to each of the twenty-four treatment conditions. A linear program with content structured to teach certain concepts pertaining to earth-sun relationships served as the learning task. The treatment combinations were evaluated for their effects upon immediate learning and delayed retention. Immediate learning was maximized by treatments that coupled a small step program with an overt response mode. KR was generally not an important contributor to immediate learning. Analysis of immediate learning data also revealed significant SS×RM and SS×KR interactions. There were no differences, however, among treatments in terms of facilitating delayed retention of content. It was concluded that a reappraisal is required of the pivotal assumption that programmed instruction's effectiveness derives from the explicit provision of KR.