How is Skinner's programmed instruction theory similar to Montessori's beliefs?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Skinner's operant conditioning theory offers that behavior can be achieved through a series of processes that involve motivation, reinforcement, and feedback until the behavior can be achieved without the consistent application of such interventions.

Montessori and OPT are similar in that they both place importance in the individual need to achieve a specific behavior and how to manage it independently. For example, Montessori and Skinner would agree in that students must become independent learners with incremental processes of instruction where they can expand their horizons, and considering the developmental appriopriateness of the activity.

They are different, however, in that Skinner's philosophy depends much on an initiator consistently monitoring the intervals of reinforcement whereas Montessori uses less intervals of interventions by an adult.