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December 1, 1962


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1962;182(9):938-939. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050480044011

One greater delight than teaching medicine is learning it. Students, teachers, and society of which they are a part have much to gain from a new tool of learning: programmed instruction. It promises to introduce a new degree of ease, effectiveness, and efficiency into the initial and continuing training of physicians.

The engineering approach is the art of applying scientific knowledge to tasks of living: building roads, lighting rooms, heating houses. We did build roads, light rooms, and heat houses without the help of engineers, but it was not the same. Human engineering is the art of designing objects that serve their users with ease—a knife that fits the hand that cuts, an instrument panel that reveals rather than confuses. It is based on careful attention to the limitations and capabilities of humans as users of objects and services.

Programmed instruction represents a human engineering-type of approach to teaching. Good