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See detailSoviet psychologist turned American educational entrepreneur: Lev Landa and “the repatriation” of the theory of programmed learning
Boretska, Viktoria UL

Scientific Conference (2019, July 18)

The theory of programmed instruction (PI), developed by a Harvard psychologist B. F. Skinner and heavily invested into in the spur of the Sputnik shock, became the toast of educational world during the ... [more ▼]

The theory of programmed instruction (PI), developed by a Harvard psychologist B. F. Skinner and heavily invested into in the spur of the Sputnik shock, became the toast of educational world during the decade of 1960s (Spaulding, 1967). Surprisingly for this peak decade of the Cold War, it also reached the Soviet Union: More than that, PI’s Soviet promoters did everything in order to secure place for research on programmed learning: PI was legitimated in front of thorough Communist Party ideologists who didn’t allow for any “Western import”, it was protected by the former military-turned-educational scientists, and established in the Institute of Cybernetics (Berg, 1961). During this time, PI was translated through and connected to a body of work and the network of psychological concepts that the discipline in the Soviet Union operated (Leontiev, 1959). Specifically, among others, educational psychologist and a devoted promoter of PI in the Soviet Union, Lev Landa, has developed the theory of algo-heuristic instruction and generically connected it to the theory of programmed learning (Landa, 1962). Soon in 1970s, Lev Landa expatriated to the United States and brought this Soviet version of programmed instruction back to its “homeland”. He established his company Landamatics in the heart of New York and started providing other companies’ middle management with educational services. His training constituted of a set of algorithms, units of information in a logically assembled and coherent way, very much like Skinner's conception of programmed learning decades ago. But this time, the algorithm became a certain externalized idealized structure of thought - that should be learnt and practised. Technically, Landa's enterprise represented the general and, to a large extent, shared belief of the time that is sometimes called the "Cold War rationality", the reinvention of the ideals of Enlightenment during the Cold War. The unique loop that programmed instruction travelled allows for a more profound understanding of the reinvention, the constant morphing of educational ideas in space and time. [less ▲]

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See detailJohnny and Ivan learning in a programmed way: The reinvention of one American technology
Boretska, Viktoria UL

in IJHE Bildungsgeschichte (2019), 9(1), 29-46

In the heated times of the Cold War, two hypothetical schoolboys – Johnny in the United States and Ivan in the Soviet Union (USSR) – were both promised a school where they would learn in a new way. This ... [more ▼]

In the heated times of the Cold War, two hypothetical schoolboys – Johnny in the United States and Ivan in the Soviet Union (USSR) – were both promised a school where they would learn in a new way. This new way – the technology of programmed instruction – was developed by the American behavioral psychologist Burrhus F. Skinner. It became popular globally over the 1960s and was promoted passionately in the United States and the USSR alike. The aim of this article is to explore this shared sentiment, with the specific intention of explaining how, during the Cold War, an American innovation was able to become a hit in Soviet education under reform. Un­ derstanding educational transfer as translation rather than transportation, the article unveils the ways in which the idea of programmed learning became embedded and reconceptualized through the specific Soviet political, historical, and cultural lens of the time. The case of programmed instruction not only demonstrates that ideas become global only through their local reinvention but also illustrates that assumed scientific­ hence ­universal educational innovations or programs are never such. [less ▲]

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See detailLes apprentissages programmés de Johnny et Ivan. La réinvention soviétique d’une technologie américaine
Boretska, Viktoria UL

in Fontaine, Alexandre (Ed.) Penser la circulation des savoirs scolaires dans l’espace atlantique (2019)

Aux temps de la guerre froide, deux écoliers hypothétiques – l’Américain Johnny et son pendant soviétique, Ivan - ont été promis une nouvelle forme d’enseignement. Développée par le psychologue américain ... [more ▼]

Aux temps de la guerre froide, deux écoliers hypothétiques – l’Américain Johnny et son pendant soviétique, Ivan - ont été promis une nouvelle forme d’enseignement. Développée par le psychologue américain Burrhus F. Skinner, cette nouvelle méthode - la technologie de l'instruction programmée – s’était faite une réputation mondiale au courant des années 1960 et avait été promue aussi bien par les États-Unis que par l'URSS. L’objectif de cet article est d'explorer cet intérêt commun pour l’instruction programmée tout en expliquant comment, à l’époque de la guerre froide, une innovation américaine a pu réussir dans le processus de réforme de l'éducation soviétique. Considérant les transferts d’idées dans le domaine de l'éducation comme des processus de traduction plutôt que de transport, cet article dévoile comment l'idée d'enseignement programmé a été traduite et re-conceptualisée à travers le prisme politique, historique et culturel soviétique de l’époque. [less ▲]

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