There are various types of styles of programming based on the fundamental approaches to learning. The following types of programming are in popular use:

  • Linear Programming
  • Branching Programming

A brief discussion of these basic styles is given below:


The Linear style of programming was developed by B.F.. Skinner. It is in a straight line and extrinsic in nature. The learner starts from his initial behavour and moves to the terminal behavior following a straight line.

In a linear programme, the subject-matter is divided into very small steps known as frames. The learner is required to respond actively at each step. His response is immediately confirmed before he goes to the second frame. It re-inforces his behavior. By proceeding from one step to another, the learner may then be able to acquire the desired learning experiences.

The programme is so structured that the probability of correct responses becomes very high.Linear programming can be produced in book form for use on a linear teaching machine.

Skip Linear

The skip linear programming is just linear programme. There is however, some difference when a learner is going through the programme as he is given a test at a certain point or at a particular frame. In case, he gives correct response, he is made to skip over a frame and is advanced to a part ahead in the programme. Such a programme is known as skip linear. In case, his response is incorrect, he is made to go through the normal sequence in order to do more practice.


The Branching Programming is stimulus centred and was developed by Norman A. Crowder (1960). It is also called ‘Intrinsic Programming’. He has defined Branching Programming as a programme which adapts itself to the needs of the students without the medium of an extrinsic device such as computer.

Rationale of Branching Programming:

The underlying principle of branching is that different students need different instructional material and learning occurs by the commission of errors when students are exposed to new material. Crowder believes that teaching is a communication; and his technique of communication is unique in its structure and application.

Working of Branching Programming:

In branching programming the frame size is much larger than that of linear programming. It is followed by multiple choice answers, only one of which is correct.

It is designed to test student’s learning of the material. If he chooses the correct answer, he is told that his answer is correct, and he is then presented with new information. If his answer is incorrect, he is told why is it wrong, and he neither returns to the main stem to re-read the information or is routed along a remedial sequence.

Branching programmes may be produced for use on a teaching machine or in book form. The book form is known as the scrambled text book.

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