Machines, Change and Work: An Educational View on the Digitalization of Work

  • Christian HarteisEmail author
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 21)


The history of industrial development is also a history of technological, economic and societal changes which at each of their phases had crucial impacts on workplaces and work practices. Most important driver always had been technological development that ended up in the invention of new machines that improved industrial production. The current transformation of industrial production to digitalized work often is called fourth industrial revolution. This counting system considers the invention of steam power and its utilization for mechanical production systems (i.e. the first mechanical loom “power loom” in 1784) to be the first industrial revolution. The second followed in 1870, when the implementation of the principle of division of labour was combined with the use of electric power for driving a conveyor belt in the Cincinnati slaughterhouse. As third revolution counts the application of the first programmable logic controller in 1969 for the broad use of IT and electronic systems to increase the automation of industrial production. Nowadays, information and communication technologies developed so far that the fourth industrial revolution is supposed to appear in recent times by using cyber-physical systems for industrial production (Brynjolfsson and McAfee 2014). Hence, the question arises what the particular quality of implementing cyber-physical systems is.


Digitalization Change Skill requirements Educational challenges 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Educational ScienceUniversity of PaderbornPaderbornGermany

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