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Pressey's Teaching Machine

In 1924, Sidney L. Pressey created a crude teaching machine suitable for rote-and-drill learning. In 1926, he published the first paper on the use of a teaching machine in School and Society. He showed that automated-instruction facilitated learning by providing for immediate reinforcement, individual pace setting, and active responding. He wrote:

Teaching machines are unique among instructional aids, in that the student not merely passively listen, watches, or reads but actively responds. And as he does so he finds out whether his response is correct or not. And a record may be kept which aids in improving the materials.

Thorndike had a great influence on Pressey. In his machine Pressey sought to incorporate Thorndike's laws. In one version of his machine, a user had to answer a question twice correctly before it was eliminated; this addressed the laws of exercise and effect.

B. F. Skinner was also interested in a teaching Machine. He conceptualized a teaching machine for the classroom for use by individual students.

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