Robert Mills Gagne

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					     Robert Mills Gagne

Experimental psychologist who pioneered instructional
  design strategies - impacting the development of
       contemporary educational technology

 1937 - A.B. degree from Yale
    Psychology major

 1940 - Ph.D. from Brown University - Experimental Psychology
    Graduate study in psychology under the direction of Walter
     S. Hunter (behaviorist who studied cognitive processes) and
     Clarence H. Graham (studied conditioned operant responses
     with rats)
            Early Academic Career

 1940 - Instructor - Connecticut College for Women

 1941 - 1945 - Served in WW II

 1945-1946 - (Temporary Instructor - Penn State University)

 1946-1949 -Professor - Connecticut College for Women
     A grant from the Navy funded Transfer of Training in Multi
      Discrimination Motor Tasks research.
         Service in World War II

 1941 - 1945 U.S. Army Air Corps
    Assigned to Psychological Research Unit No.1 at Maxwell
     Field, Alabama - administered and scored aptitude tests to
     select and classify aviation cadets
    Attended Officer Candidate School (1941) - assigned to
     School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field Texas where
     he participated in the development of psychomotor tests
     used in air crew classification
    Assigned to the Perceptual Film Research Unit at Santa Ana
     Army Air Base which developed film tests of perceptual
     abilities and initiated a study in human engineering
“…Gagne was handed the job of developing training materials
that could be used by a small cadre of subject matter experts,
acting as trainers, to impart specialized technical skills to
thousands of raw recruits in the shortest time possible.
Essentially, he was asked to figure out if there were any universal
principles of effective instruction that would allow non-teachers to
make airplane mechanics out of farmers in 30 days instead of 2
years of trial and error. Based on that research, he became
convinced that in most training situations, effective and efficient
learning takes place when the final task is first broken down into
a set of component parts…”
            Air Force Personnel and
            Training Research Center
1949-1958 - served as the Research Director for the Perceptual
and Motor Skills Laboratory for the Air Force at Lackland, Texas
and the technical director of the Maintenance Laboratory at
Lowry Air Force Base

  Developed effective and efficient programs of instruction
   based on precise task analysis

  Research in the development of technology for forecasting
   personnel and training requirements for the newly developed
   weapons systems
                  Academic Career
 1958 - 1962 Princeton University, Professor of Psychology
    Transferred system of task analysis from motor skills to intellectual
     skills - studies of problem solving and the learning of mathematical
    Collaboration with the U. of Maryland Mathematics Project and
     development of Science-A-Process Approach (curriculum
    Gagne suggests that learning tasks for intellectual skills can be
     organized in a hierarchy according to complexity: stimulus
     recognition, response generation, procedure following, use of
     terminology, discriminations, concept formation, rule application,
     and problem solving. The primary significance of the hierarchy is to
     identify prerequisites that should be completed to facilitate learning
     at each level.
My Mentor: Robert M. Gagne
by Dr. Bruce W. Tuckman
  “Professor Robert M. Gagne was not at all what I had
  expected. He was a big man with a big round head,
  topped by sparse and rapidly disappearing tufts of
  hair. He wore a shaggy old sweater and strange
  looking shoes. He had a very loud and gruff voice,
  and his demeanor somehow made me think more of
  the farming towns of upstate New York, where I was
  currently attending school, than of staid old Princeton.
  (He did, in fact, grow up in the farming community of
  North Andover, MA.)”
My Mentor - continued
 “My years at Princeton were greatly influenced by Bob Gagne’s
 presence and his ideas…From his prior years in military
 laboratories studying psychomotor skills, he had brought various
 kinds of reaction time apparatus..,He was beginning to develop
 the idea of learning hierarchies, one of the essential features of
 his life’s work…he was analyzing skills and knowledge into
 components, and he was doing it as a prerequisite to
 instruction…when you think about it…you can see that he stood
 at the crossroads of psychology, the transition from behaviorism
 to cognitivism…”
American Institutes for Research
 1962 - 1965 Director of Research

    Monitored the efforts of research teams in three different

    Research on training, assessment of human performance,
     and educational program evaluation

    Publication of The Conditions of Learning (1965)
               Conditions of Learning
                Each type of learning requires different types of instruction

 1. Verbal Information - Stating previously learned materials such
  as facts, concepts, principles and procedures
 2. Intellectual Skills - Discriminations, concrete concepts, defined
  concepts, rules, higher order rules
 3. Cognitive Strategies - Employing personal ways to guide
  learning, thinking, acting and feeling
 4. Attitudes - Choosing personal actions based on internal states
  of understanding and feeling
 5. Motor Skills - Executing performances involving the use of
                  Nine Instructional Events
   Gagne proposed a sequence of nine learning events that incorporate
    most of the learning outcomes. He promoted the idea that effective instruction should
    be systematic and move through a series of steps to meet certain learning purposes.

    Event                                     Purpose/Example
    1. Gain attention of learners             Interest/motivation/curiosity - show
                                              pictures of triangles
    2. State objectives                       Clarify expectations and relevance -
                                              what is an equilateral triangle?
    3. Stimulate memory of prior relevant     Access existing cognitive structures to
    learning                                  enhance meaningful learning - review
                                              definitions of triangles
    4. Present new stimulus/information       Provide/present the new material to be
                                              learned - give definition of equilateral
    5. Provide guidance to learners           Discovery learning, labs,
                                              demonstrations, examples, reflective
                                              questioning - show example of how to
                                              create equilateral triangle
                Nine instructional events
 continued
Event                                 Purpose/Example

                                      Learners produce some output based on
                                      new learning…practice a skill,
6. Elicit performance
                                      discussion, group activity, etc. - ask
                                      students to create 5 different examples
                                      Teacher has opportunity to reinforce and
7. Provide feedback                   correct performances-check all
                                      Test to see if stated objectives have
8. Assess performance
                                      been met - provide scores
                                      Store in long-term memory, apply
                                      learning to real life situations and in
9. Reinforce retention and transfer
                                      other contexts - show pictures of objects
                                      and ask students to identify equilaterals
            UC Berkeley
 1966 -1969 University of California at Berkeley

    Director of Far West Laboratory for Educational
     Research and Development

    Educational research of learning hierarchies and rule
     learning. What would you have to know how to do in
     order to perform this task, after being given only

    Prepared first chapter of Instructional Psychology (co-
     written with W.D. Rohwer, Jr.) for the Annual Review of
My Mentor - continued
 “But the story is still not over. Bob Gagne left AIR in Pittsburgh and joined the
 Educational Psychology faculty at Berkeley. He bought a house on a hill
 overlooking the East Bay and vowed each night at sunset never to leave. But
 there were a few things on which he did not reckon: the Free Speech movement
 and Arthur Jensen. The Free Speech movement was the first campus revolution
 by students; they sat in, took over buildings, and did pretty much what they
 wanted. Bob Gagne liked order and discipline. He respected those virtues; they
 helped him work. At Berkeley, they were disappearing. Chaos and confusion and
 feel-good culture were replacing them. Then, Arthur Jensen, his colleague,
 published his research on racial differences in intelligence and all hell broke
 loose, not just in front of Sproul Hall (the main gathering place on campus), but in
 the very building where Gagne worked. When in 1969, Florida State University
 (FSU) came calling, Bob and wife Pat packed up their belongings and their kids
 and moved to Tallahassee, a sleepy little North Florida town that doubled as the
 state capital. Bob spent the rest of his professional career at FSU.”
               Florida State University
1969-1985 - Professor, Department of Educational Research
 He worked with colleagues to develop a new graduate program
  in instructional systems design
 1974 - Published Principles of Instructional Design (with L.J.
 1976 - Fulbright Scholar - Monash University (Australia)
 1982 - APA Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of
  Psychology - “His particular genius is the ease with which he
  moves between research and development, enriching both.”
       Learning Outcomes
       and Their Effects (1984)
 1. Each category of learning outcome should be distinguishable
  in terms of a formal definition of the class of human performance
  made possible by the learning.
 2. Each category should include a broad variety of human
  activities that are independent of intelligence, age, race,
  economic status, etc.
 3. Each category should be seen to differ in the nature of
  information-processing demands for its learning
 4. It should be possible to generalize the principles concerning
  factors affecting the learning of each category to a variety of
  specific tasks in other categories
Influence on Instructional Design
 Learning is an internal process:

   Dependent upon past learning;
   Stimulated and controlled by external events;
   Expedited by instruction which varies depending upon the
   nature of the desired outcome, and
   Precipitated by the use of sequenced instructional strategies
   that provide motivation, direction, guided practice, feedback, and

 “In the years since Gagne first began his research, instructional
  design was born as a field and began maturing as a profession,
  as well as an area of study....Practitioners work in the military,
  corporate training arenas, the health care industry, the K-12
  schools, and higher education. Gagne’s ideas are now
  embedded in each of these worlds of work. In addition, his design
  principles have been integrated into delivery systems of all types.
  They are relevant to designers who are producing both stand-up
  training and computer-based instruction.”

“Robert M. Gagne has had a profound influence on the fields of
educational psychology and instructional systems. He has also
had a profound effect on many of us as a colleague and mentor.
His contributions and high standards have shaped this field and
will continue to motivate us to do our best and to strive for even
                                     Marcy P. Driscoll
                                     Walter W. Wager
                                     Tallahassee, Florida, 1999
   American Psychological Association. (1982) 1982 American Psychological Association
    Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology. Appendix A-C. Retrieved
    September 23, 2007, from
   Charles Sturt University. NSW HSC Online Professional Development Node Retrieved
    September 23, 2007, from
   Encyclopedia of World Biography on Robert Mills Gagne. Retrieved September 23, 2007,
   Pedroni, Leilani (2003). Robert Gagne. My Retrieved September 23, 2007,,
   Saba, Farhad, Ph.D., Editor (2002, May 1) Obit. Retrieved
    September 23, 2007, from http://www.distance-
References - continued

   Richey, Rita C.The Future Role of Robert M. Gagne in Instructional Design. Retrieved
    September 23, 2007,from,
   Spoore, Michelle C. A Research Paper on Robert Mills Gagne. Retrieved September 23,
    2007, from University of Maryland, Baltimore County
   Treat, Alena R., Wang, Ying, Chadha, Rajat and Dixon, Michael Hart. (2006) Major
    Developments in Instructional Technology During the 20th Century. Retrieved September 23,
    2007, from Department of Instructional Systems Technology. Indiana University
   Tuckman, Bruce,W. (1996). My Mentor: Robert Gagne. Peabody Journal of Education 71 (1),
    3-11 1996. Retrieved September 23, 2007, from
 Retrieved September 23,