Encyclopedia of Education and Information Technologies

2020 Edition
| Editors: Arthur Tatnall

Teaching Machines

  • Eric BruillardEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10576-1_32


Teaching machines are mechanical, electrical, or other automatic devices that present items of information in planned sequence, register users’ response to each item, and immediately indicate the acceptability of each response. The best known are from Pressey, Skinner, and Crowder and follow general principles of programmed instruction.


A teaching machine can be considered as any mechanical device used for presenting a program of instructional material. Since antiquity, instruction has relied on machines as teaching aids (Buck 1989). Sometimes they are referred to as teaching machines, but these devices are associated with a particular type of educational purpose or activity (e.g., training soldiers). Teaching machines have a universal character, obeying a program.

According to the history of teaching machines (Stolurow 1961; Benjamin 1988; Bruillard 1997; Januszewski 2001, p. 33; Fernster 2014), Thorndike ( 1912) provided the rationale for teaching machines and...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire EDAUniversité Paris DescartesParisFrance

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eric Sanchez
    • 1
  1. 1.CERF, University of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland