Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jack L. Michael

Second Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Arthur Falk


The process of programming instruction involves a series of steps which include determining the need for programming instruction on a particular topic, choosing the appropriate programming method, and a series of approximations toward the final program through testing and revision. State notation (Michael, 1986), a notation system which is used to visually represent procedures such as those used in an operant laboratory setting, was deemed an appropriate topic for programmed instruction since the complex decisions that learners must make when diagramming are difficult to teach using conventional methods. Mathetics (Gilbert, 1962) was chosen as an appropriate programming method for state notation, and is based on the general notion of organizing the subject matter in terms of the largest amount of material that can be presented at one time with resulting progress toward mastery of the final goal. A design process entitled lean programming was employed, which begins with a minimum of teaching materials and is later expanded depending on the responses of learners during the testing process. This study investigated whether a second version of the program, which was an attempt to provide a more effective program according to Gilbert's criteria, was more effective than the first version in terms of amount learned and time spent working the program.

Twenty-eight college students participated in the two-group comparison, with half completing each version. Statistical comparisons generally failed to indicate that Version II resulted in greater learning than Version I. However, Version II resulted in higher means for three of five posttest questions, and for questions which measured skill in diagramming parallel state sets. Version II was not more effective in terms of time spent completing the program. Measures of learner satisfaction indicated general satisfaction with both versions. Students who completed either version of the program and later received traditional instruction in class on state notation reported greater proficiency in many features of state diagramming than students in the same class who had not completed the program. Differences between the two versions may have been obscured due to a large degree of within-subject variability.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons