Since 1900, the so-called "reform pedagogics" in Europe, like the "progressive education" in the United States, was criticizing the "old school" and the "old instructional method." In a lot of European countries instructional methods were developed, in which the activity of the students, independent learning, a holistic learning approach instead of learning atomistic details, and so forth, were to be realized. Some conceptions of this understanding of the instructional method can be called the precursors of instructional design. "Prepared circumstances" were created (Montessori in Italy), "learning environments" with "learning ateliers," "work cards" for independent learning with technics of self-control were systematically developed (e.g., Freinet in France). In some schools, pupils were taught learning strategies and methods for permanent control of their own learning (Kerschensteiner and Gaudig in Germany). But there had been no empirical research on these models of autodidactic learning. Mostly, the conceptions had been derived from philosophical thoughts about liberal education. So they were normative recommendations, and not prescriptive, theory-oriented statements.