Robert Mills Gagné was born in 1916 in North Andover, Massachusetts. In 1937, he earned his A.B. from Yale University. After receiving his Ph.D. from Brown University in psychology in 1940, he taught at Connecticut College for Women and Pennsylvania State University.
In 1949, he became the research director for the perceptual and motor skills laboratory of the United States Air Force and studied military training problems. He also served as a consultant to the United States Department of Defense. It was during this time that he began to develop ideas known as the "conditions of learning."
Gagne believes that effective instruction should reach beyond traditional learning theories. He supports cumulative teaching that transitions from simple to complex skills. This hierarchical framework is widely used in many instructional environments.
A major contribution to the theory of instruction was the model "Nine Events of Instruction".
* Gain attention
* Inform learner of objectives
* Stimulate recall of prior learning
* Present stimulus material
* Provide learner guidance
* Elicit performance
* Provide feedback
* Assess performance
* Enhance retention transfer