ECER 2001 Proceedings
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Does training have any history? The enduring influence of behaviourism in Britain, 1940 – 1966
Vocational education and training has a lengthy history, but its influence is rarely acknowledged openly. This paper will consider the influence of behaviourism on the training strategies and styles adopted in Britain between 1940 and 1986. Behaviourist principles were initially adopted by trainers working in the state sector during World War Two. Subsequently, government promoted the use of behaviourist techniques through such mechanisms as training programmes for trainers and its sponsorship of academic and industrial research. This created a receptive audience across industry for the introduction of programmed instruction, which was widely adopted across British industry as a pedagogic platform for inculcating and developing skills and techniques. Both during the War and in the following two decades, British training specialists relied heavily on North American expertise. The lasting legacy of this period was exemplified in the decision in 1986 to restructure the UK's vocational qualifications framework along broadly behaviouristic principles.
Manning, Sabine; Dif, M'hamed (eds.). 2001. VETNET ECER 2001 proceedings: Current research in European vocational education and human resource development. Berlin: Wissenschaftsforum Bildung und Gesellschaft e.V. [Internet: http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/vet/ecer01.htm].