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Example text

International Business Machines, as well as having used com­ puters as experimental teaching machines, are engaged in writing linear programmes to replace standard class-room instruction. In one experiment about 15 hours of a lecture course on program­ ming for the IBM 7070 computer was programmed. Two classes of 21 students each were compared, one group received the normal lecture treatment and the other used a linear programme. The 60 TEACHING MACHINES AND PROGRAMMING experimental group covered the material in an average of 11 hours and achieved an average score of 95 compared with the normal group's average score of 86.

This misses the point that all properly evaluated programmes are adapted to the needs of the population for whom they are intended. A machine system which had no means of adapting at some stage of programming would be of little use. When we turn to the actual form of presentation, the scrambled book is an ingenious first attempt to give the programmer control over a student's reading. But it is so extremely awkward to operate, when compared with everyday reading practice, that some im­ provements ought to be found.

11. S. Air Force, SAGE Systems (Photo, Courtesy of American Institute for Research, Pittsburgh) suited to instruction by existing standard machines. The teaching machine, to be really effective, must elicit the actual behaviour required whether it is solving a differential equation or playing a round of golf.

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