COMES THE TEACHING MACHINE

Created: 12/1/1962

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STUDIES IN

INTELLIGENCE

A collccilon ol articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.

All suicrnents of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those of the authors They do not necessarily (eflect official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present Nothing in the contcnls should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations.

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I possibilities of the newlearning" into intelligence training.

COMES THE TEACHING MACHINE

v Athurtnological revolution, by^hlch.luxuri^once available only to the wealthy few and new maryeU undreamed of even by them become the common birthright of the masses, is about to Invade the classroom and despoil the sanctuaryelationship between instructor and student essentially Inviolate since the days of Aristotle. This relationship,In the age-old imageeacher discoursingroup of students, represents quite precisely an educationalto which everyone has more or less adhered forthe teacher's responsibility is to teach, andis the student's Job. The teacher should know histhoroughly, organise it clearly, and present it effectively, in the United States, by exception, the good teacher Isalso to answer any reasonable questions put by his students and to be generally helpful and encouraging; but there his Job ends. It is up to the student to master the new material, think through its Implications, and apply it in practice.

This philosophy holds it important that the student shoulder his responsibility for the effort to learn. To that end teachers have been wont to confront him with challengingly difficult materials ln order to stimulate him to "payuse his ownnd "develop good studyt isonly those who really do pay attention, use their heads, and develop at least acceptable study habits that succeed by dint of superior effort or natural ability in getting over their academic hurdles; andystem, in effect, thus selects rather than trains good students. It ls ill suited for bringing the luxury of education, like those of the electric can-opener, automatic garage doors, and armchair-controlled television, within the reach of Mr. Everyman. That is why we In the United States, in our efforts at mass education, have

promised somewhat with the old philosophy, especially in the public schools. But not enough.

For mass education Is nouxury from theof the society, the nation.ime when its survival may depend upon the skill of some radar technicianhis lonely watch over complex electronic equipment on the DEW line, when the tenfold Increase since World War ii In the intricacy of the amed forces*^equipmentraftee spend half his enlistment time learning his Job, when the diverse branches of science have become sothat it takes an interdisciplinary specialist toamong them. It Is not strange that the nation iswith cautiousew philosophy of Instruction that promises to teach men betterhorter time. The new philosophy reassigns the main burden of responsibility for the student's learning to the teacher.tudent has trouble It is no longer quick to conclude that he Is probably lazy or Isn't paying attention or has poor aptitude for the subject; it assumes, rather, that there may be something wrong with the instruction.

The changed philosophy finds Its implementationew method, one characterized by the effort to lay out In sequence all the elemental steps bytudent can best be brought to masteryarticular subject, to capture these on paper, tape, or film, to refine them by trial and error, and to present them to the student by mechanicaltextbooks, simple machinesew dollars, or elaborate devices with some of the characteristics (and price tags) of electronic computers. Machine costs aside, however, theapplication of the methodewas wc shall see, high, and It Is therefore logical that advanced experimentation with it can most easily be done, as most of It has been, in the large commercialand government agencies that have greater financial flexibility than the public schools and universities. Theagencies; with their peculiarly high requirements for many different kinds of training, should be in the forefront of this movement.

Origins ot the System

The acknowledged father of the now burgeoningIsarvard University psychologist who had spent years Ln the laboratory studying how animals learn. One day, he tells us, he visited his daughter'sclass and watched the teacher drill the children In their sums, some of them staring out the window .othersc-*rtu*.- restlessl^thnhelr seats "'The teaener could "pre3efit'on^6ne",^

problemime to the whole group and ask one child to answer. Perhaps half the class already knewthe answer and needed no drill on it, and for the rest, who's to say whether any of them thought through to the answer before theone was named? In classroom drill the well prepared are bored, andrepared fall, perhaps unknown to the teacher, farther and farther behind

Dr. Skinner went home that night convinced that byprinciples he had discovered in his laboratory he could teach his daughterot more efficiently than the most competent of teachers using the classroom method. Inog to touch his noseoorknob, for example, he had shaped the dog's behavior by rewarding him first for the roughest approximation of the act and then refining his performance in successive trials until the animal did exactly as desired. The trick could be taught In this wayatter of minutes. Using this and other learning principles, Dr. Skinner hadew days devised the first modernmachine.

mall window the new machineit of Information which the child would be fully prepared lo understand anduestion to verify his understanding, for example:

Just,

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The child would respond by writing the sum in the blank and would then advance the machine bynob. This would put his written answer under glass, where he could still see it but not change it. and at the same time expose the correct answer to check his work. If it was right, he would then advance the machine to the next problem.

The series of problems framed by the machine constitute what has become knownrogram. In which hundreds of frames present the material to be learned In very small steps, starting with what is familiar and introducing newin morsels that can be readily digested, building upon these in turn and interlacing all until the studenthorough understanding of the subject matter. Its details and their interrelationships, however complex they may be. Because each step Is small, he rarely makes mistakes, and he has constant assurance that he is mastering the material. And since the machine is neither In any particular hurry nor waiting for others to catch up, he can work his way through the program as fast or slowly as he likes.

hen Dr. Skinner published an article Inwhich aroused the first wide interest inmethods, hundreds of businesses have experimented with programs and teaching machines, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in the design and production of automatic teaching devices, and hundreds of

some lor courses covering an entire academiceither been published or placed fn developmentinstruction has been hailed as the first educational breakthrough since the invention of the textbook two hundred years ago. and there'sesponsible training director anywhere who isn't following closely Its rapid evolution.

programming has sometimes been described as an attempt to apply the science of learrjjng. to- the art of teaching Psychologists In their laboratories have for years been developing the science of learning, but this work has been analytical, studying separate aspects of the process rather than synthesizing the whole for practicalood program writer not only has to observe the psychologicalthat call for the presentationingle stepime, student participation, and urunediatey; he must also know bow to break the subject down into small steps, order them properly, provide enough cues to give theood chance of getting the right answer but not so many as to bore him. introduce Just the rightof review items and at the right Intervals. lead the student to integrate the items he has learned, and gradually wean nun from prompts until he Is doing what he Is being trained to do all on his own. Thus far the experimental laboratory has done little to provide guidelines for the programmer.

The program, however. Is susceptible of empirical testing and corresponding adjustment, and In this capacity for self-improvement seems to Ue the reason for the dramatic successes scored by the embryonic artrogram has beenregardless how crude It Is, it can be tried outtudent As the student hesitates, becomes confused, and makes errors, the writer can trace the trouble to ambiguities and other faults in his program, clear these up. and try It out again onstudent Experience has been that about six such shake-downs are usually required to weed out the majorerrors. Then the program can be tried on groups of students and improved and refined by revision after each trial. In this way programs which teach tbe same material In half the time of conventional instruction have been developed.

At first almost all programs were of the Sklnnerian

now calledescribed above, but recently annumber of another type, calledre This type,arger unit of information

In one step than the linear, tests the student by having

select the right answeruestion from among several

not, he may be "branched"hole sub-sequence of frames

designed to remedy the lack" of understanding Indicated bywrong choice before coming back to this point for

another try. Whereas the linear program minimizes

difficulties by keeping the steps small, the faster

type diagnoses them as they occur and provides

help to those who need

RetulU

The effectiveness of programmed Instruction can beIn the results of two studies, oneinear and oneranching program, typical of the many that have been carried out Atsychologistubject-matterspent six or seven months programming the firstoursixteen-week course in maintenance of0 Data Processing System, an enormously complex electronic device.eries of classes the work ofrainees who were given the programmed materials was compared with that ofthers who had been taught by the usual lecture-discussion method. The results all favored programmedNone of theook longer to complete thematerials than theours required of everyone who had the conventional instruction, And the average was aboutours,hird of the class presentation time. In an achievement test the programmed group earned an average score ofgainstor the conventionally taught group,coredr above, as againstf theothers The students alsoavorable attitude toward the new type ofreferring It lo theand all of them recognizing that It was more effective.

The most ambitious try-out of programmed instruction to date is being made at Keesler Air Force Base, the maintraining center of the Air Training Command There

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most orweek course in basic electronics principles is being programmed in the branching style and the work of matched groups of students taught exclusively by machine and by the old method are being compared. In theade so far the experimental students have all taken less time than that allotted for the presentation of the material in the conventional class, averaging perhaps two-thirds of this. In mastery of the subject, as measured byractical final examination and by performance Inwork, there seems so far to be no distinction between the experimental group and the others.

Other studies have reported similar results. Time savings have varied from ten to fifty percent. In quality either nohas been detected or, more typically, the programmed Instruction has been found the belter. Almost all studies have reported varying degrees of enthusiasm and preference for the new method among the students.

All

Problems

The main obstacle to the use of programmed instruction is the cost of preparing the programs. Very few ready-made programs are on the market so far, and standardized programs would In any case not do for many training activities,in Intelligence, that have their own peculiarining dlr^tor can eJtc-ect toontractor about

' per hour oT'prt^nurTedevelopment'

in addition to the cost of reproducing the usually-bulkyials and of whatever machines he decides ton-house staffs might do the programming, but it would take atonth torogrammer and one to four weeks of his time to prepare each hour of Instruction.

Although the Initial cost Is high, however, the operating costs are usually Insignificant compared with those ofInstruction. Once the programmed materials have been developed and reproduced, the only major expense is for keeping them up toen-hour course thator0 for printing,onth for up-dating, if spreadtudentsear's time, will amount to onlyer student. Moreover, when student employees take less time to learn, there Is an extra bonus In their salaries for the time saved, not to mention the overhead for the classrooms and the instructors' salaries. Travel costs may also be reduced or even eliminated byinstructional materials to the field Instead of bringing the student to headquarters.

At Keesler AFB. for example, the Air Force is0 for developing approximatelyeeks of machine Instruction. But this instruction, which can now be duplicated and sent almost anywhere, willevelopment cost of only one dollar per student hour if as manytudents take the course. Thus programming promises tocosts when the training is to beufficientof students and when the subject matter does not require frequent up-dating.

There are other problemsanagement kindraining director will encounter In Introducing programmedimpact on his instructors, who may beabout technological unemployment and in any

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case will have to adapt themselvesew role with the students, its impact onew of whom may feel ill at ease with machines and for the brightest of whom even the branching program may be too slow and boring, itson enrollments In voluntary training and correspondence courses, the best way to begin trying out programmedwhether and how the self-tutoring materials cano far there IsUUle^xnertenccto guide lilm on any of these questions.

One problem about which there Is currant controversy is whether it is preferable to adopt the programming principle withoutachine. The principal purposes of theare to prevent the student from seeing the answer until he has come up with his own solution and to keep score of his errors. If the instructor Is willing to sacrifice rigor hi these respects, he can give thepecially arrangedIn either of two forma. In the "programmed text" for linear programs the student mustage to see theanswer at each small step; he Is expected to discipline himself to write down his answer before he turns the page. The "scrambled book" for the branching type of program presents each new segment ofuestion, and multiple-choice answersingle page and refersifferent page according to the choice he makes.

Proponents of the machine point out that It not onlypeeking but gives the Instructor dependable measures of student progress, enabling him to test as well as to teach. With miniaturization It provides much more training capacity per unit weight of programmed materials, they say. greatly reduces the cost of reproducing the materials, andertain fascination to the process of learning. Recently the Air Force Academy bought SO machines costing more0 each for use inarge share of Itscourses. Experimenters at Recordak Corporation have developed an elaborate and highly flexible device which they are trying out with apparent successreat many of the parent Eastman Kodak Company's training programs.

Advocates of the programmed text, on the other hand, point to several studies which appear to establish an advantage In speed and convenience for their simpler device. extbook

be easily carried about and used anywhere, has no moving parts to Jam or bewilder the Inexperienced, and can beeasilyitto machine. Publishers have been quick lo seise on the advantageehicle that offers most of the benefits of the machine without requiring additional equipment: programmed texts in algebra, trigonometry,basic English, statistics, psychology, and many other subjects have been introduced to the markettand have" been widely sold.

Range of Application

Despite these and other problems associated withlearning, Its advantages are sufficiently evident to have elicited serious consideration In many fields. Its range of applicability seems to be very wide: theoretically, anycan be programmed If you can be explicit about just what you are training your student to know or be able to do. Most of the subjects Uught In our schools, in Industry, and incould be programmed. Tho commercial researchers have experimented with courses In the technical,clerical, sales, and management fields. The Recordak experimenters say they have been unable to find anytraining subject that could not be programmed.

Self-teaching materialsreater amount offlexibility than may al first be realized. Using them, an individual isolated in some remote place could maintain his proficiency in rarely used skills or add to Insufficient skills. They could be used In correspondence courses for employees too busy to attend formal classes. They could take care of excess enrollments when not enough instructors wereThey could be used to check proficiency in thefor an advanced course. By freeing an Instructor of routine teaching, they could contribute algniflcantly lo his ability to keep up with his field and give students Individual help. They could constituterainingefinitive statement of training standards. And they have been found toemarkably stimulating effect on thestaff, who cannot fail to be Influenced by the example they set.

There seems no reason to doubt that all of these advantages carry over into training in intelligence subjects, and some-

times an additional advantage in the possibility ol avoiding security problems by se]tarating instructor from trainee. All that Is needed to see the possibilities In Intelligence training is an understanding of the nature ofively imagination. The following paragraphsatew applications to Instructional problems in this field.

ew job you are suddenly surrounded by the language of that Job. and tbe initial phases of most of our orientation programs are realty devoted to the language of the job. We think we might teach the terminology ofperation by programmed learningpeed upn the Intelligence community, too, self-instructional materials might Improve the effectiveness of our orientation courses. They could also serve. If circulated after every major revision and kept on library shelves for general reference,onvenient means for keeping everyone up to date. One particular aspect of the orientation program, the security lecture, because Its lessons must often be rclearned in the school of hard knocks, might be especially Important to put into programmed form. If the program were given by machine. It could guarantee that every employee had faced and solved every security problem deemed necessary, and had done so before being given any security responsibility In his agency.

In almost all administrative procedures, particularly those involving paper work, answers to the common problems have been agreed upon and the preparation of programmedshould be easy. At Lackland Air Forceour-hour course In filing took only two to three hours of student time after programming. All kinds of record keeping could beinventory taking, supply procedures, fiscal systems, routing practices, and so on.

In processing the steadily Increasing volume of Incoming information, as the community turns more and more toreporting formats, common coding, and uniform disseml-

1 Jerome P. Lyiaught, Director of Training, Raitman Kodakin Programmed Learning (Ann Arbor..

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nation procedures, thereeveloping opportunity fortraining In these procedures. They should lendreadily to programmed instruction, and the more trainees there were the more economical it would become.

Reference librarians findull-time job keeping up with the variety of publications and other documentary sources to which they guide analysts, and arjew analyst may have so much>thrown at him aboutcs thatdt takes/him months to master full knowledge of his sources. HereInstruction, centrally prepared and-coritlnuallyfor the communityervice of common concern, could make an important contribution to the accessibility to intelligence of government-wide reference facilities.

One can only hope that eventually some of the techniques of programming may be applied with advantage to training in the interpretive skills of economic, geographic, scientific, and other kinds of analysis. At present we know too little about the processes of judgment through which anconclusion Is reached to be able to teach them withand explicit precision is neededubject Is to be properly programmed. The analyst may, however, needtraining ln subjects like the manipulation of statistics and the use of the slide rule. Many such courses have been or are being programmed and will be available for Others that were needed could be developed

In the communications Aeld. subjects to whichis applicable range from sending and receiving Morse code to the operationaster console, from typing and tele-typing to the maintenance of complex equipment. In these and many other communications Jobs the behavior to be learned can be explicitly described, and it shouldimple matter to apply the insights gained from years of tutorialto the preparationrial program. From thereeries of try-outs, followed each time by Improvements in the program, should eventually produce self-instructional materialigh order of effectiveness. The branching style of programming was actually evolved in support of efforts to find an effective way to teach Air Force technicians to spot troubles in electronic equipment.

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Auto-Instruction in maintenance, trouble-shooting, andneed not be limited to communicationsof any kind bought in quantity on the openno matter how complex, could be tested by aspecial skills. Each step In the testing processphotographed and presented by slide projector to thecould remind him what to do next, and thebe so detailed that there wouid-be no need for

' him to rely on experience or memory. Such'are now being used with great success by the Hughe&Alrcrafl Company to guide assemblers of electronic equipment.

It should even be possible to program the teaching of cable and report writing. Besides matters of format like the use of symbols, terminology, headings, and word order, moreskills such as writing briefly andinimum of ambiguity couldittle Ingenuity be programmed. The trainee would not develop an Individual style, but theseems toighly standardized language In which the number of acceptable ways of expressing an idea Is narrowly limited.

Map reading and map Interpretation, In which Intelligence personnel often lack proper training despite Its basicshould offer no real obstacle to programmers.In this subject Is so widely needed that Itsshould rapidly pay for itself many times over.

Covert Applications

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Programmed instruction might be used with particular felicity on an agent undergoing trainingafe house. Training In observation and description, for example, with littlu time and opportunity to practice observation, might present an almost insoluble problem. But aprogram could, by gradually making themore difficult and withdrawing prompts, bring him to whatever level of accuracy In observation is desired. It should be possible to prepare programs which would Improve the agent's ability to judge heights, distances, colors, textures, materials, sounds, weights, and speeds.

If It Is not wished simply to improve an agent's general powers of observation but to givepecific ability to

serve and describe, say. synthetic fuel plants, airfields, orhe needs to be taught the critical things to lookthe words to use to describe them. Programmedshould be able to do this sort of training veryany required level ofrogramagents to observe and describe people is under

skills as well as sharpeninghere Is no reason, for example, why lip-reading cannot-be programmed by providing life-like examples, probably short motion-picture sequences: Or it might be convenient for the agent to be able to take shorthand notes;implifiedrofessional-level skill In shorthand could be acquired by programmed Instruction.atter of fact, it seems theoreticallyto develop through programming an ability to note down anything that may be said in any language without necessarily understandingmatter of recording sounds rather than meanings.

It has been shown that It Is possibletudent to learn at least the basicsoreign language through programmed instruction. One course now on the market, for example,the student to develop, without an instructor and at his own pace,lear idea of Spanish sound patterns, the ability to understand, speak, and write simple Spanish, an activeofords, and an acquaintance with the basic structural patterns of spokenn the Army'sResources Research Office at George Washingtonadults of average intelligence, after about four weeks of intensive study, using only tapes and programmed textual materials, acquired enough skill In speaking andRussian to interrogate "prisoners of war" In that language and obtain fromoercent of the required information. If an agent needed to developacility, say, forthe common speechoreign country, he might be furnished programmed Instruction in it.

Another kind of skill it might be desirable for an agent to have is the reading and interpretation of instruments,imple pressure gauge or the master displayegional command center.eport on self-instructional pro-

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grams for SAGE system operators published last springprogrammed instruction is suitable for such aas track monitoring and direction finding. Theskills include reading symbolic information ondisplay, knowing where to reach for variousswitches on the console, and knowing when andconditions certain actions should be taken. Thet^^pl of ach^ve^^

n fourteen Tiours than had^revlously been

fter moreear on the" lob.

It might be worth while to program an agent's cover story. If It had to be worked out uniquely for each agent, the effort would probably not be worth the advantages; but it may bethat,articular cover story were programmed, aof others could be substituted,ew mutandis. The questions would largely remain the same; the answers would change. If this were true, auto-instruction for cover stories might eventually be prepared in advance and supplied as needed. At least orientive material supporting cover, like the geography, customs, and monetary practices of somecould be prc^rarruned for thorough learning.

The equipment would not always be so elaborate as toa safe house. Programs that teach visualor recognitions or verbal skills not Including the ability to speak can usually be presentedrogrammed text which the agent could use In his own quarters. Programs that teach the discrimination of moving parts, such as lip-reading, or of sounds, as of engines or airplanes, musteaching machine, presumablyafe house; but miniaturization, together with increasingly widespread use of the machines, may eventually make it practical to put such equipment into the agent's home. Technical advances Lnhardware promise that we soon may have devices to reproduce programs quickly and Inexpensively in small, easily handled packages.

The application of programmed instruction to Intelligence training has only just begun. The examples above may suggest some of the possibilities, but there are undoubtedly many other ways in which this new kind of teaching can enhance

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our intelligence effort. In the days of crisis current and to come, the key role of intelligence gives it more need than ever to make sure that its personnel are well trained.instruction offers means of substantiallysome of our training. It Is worth serious exarmnation.

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