Instructional Development Timeline

The 1920’s brought objectives-driven learning, individualized instruction, contract learning, and mastery learning. This period brought a movement from the traditional teacher-led instruction to individualized learning.


  • Franklin Bobbit (1918) - advocated utilitarian or social efficiency movement. Emphasized creating relevant outcome and then planning instruction to meet them (Educational Objectives)
  • (1920’s) Jean Piaget conducts early psychological studies on his children, forming his theories of experience-based learning and his Stages of Intellectual Development
  • (1920) John Watson and Rosalie Rayner publish Conditioned Emotional Reactions
  • (1922) Edward C. Tolman publishes A New Formula for Behaviorism
  • (1925) Sidney Pressey invents testing and teaching machine
  • Mary Ward and Frederick Burk- established San Francisco Normal School using self-instructional materials
  • Carleton Washburne (Winnetka Plan) and Helen Parkhurst (Dalton Plan) - pre-specified learning outcomes, self-pacing, mastery learning (Individualized Instruction)
  • Individual Learning Plans provided a rationale for continued development of design rather than traditional instruction
  • Lev Vygotsky is generally known for his theories of developmental psychology, especially the development of language.