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Conference Proceeding

Publication Date




There seems to be little argument that our students need to be encouraged toward educational selfdirectedness. Yet self-direction must be based on past learning success and present learning readiness. There is at least a potential conflict here: students needs to assume responsibility for their own education, directing it to topics of their own choosing, but their learning must also at least occasionally be directed along a hierarchical path of sequentially dependent learning objectives (which path may not be so obvious to the uninitiated). The Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) seems to enable both of these not-always-compatible goals. PSI allows the instructor to specify not only content but absolute mastery of that content. At the same time, PSI allows the student to control the tempo of mastery. This paper is a qualitative discussion of the evolving PSI instructional design used to teach courses in engineering mechanics and structural analysis over a period of six semesters at the University of Southern Mississippi, and at Boise State University.

Copyright Statement

This document was originally published by IEEE in 28th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, 1998. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1109/FIE.1998.736849