The computer-based teaching machine

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<ul><li><p>CHAPTER I I </p><p>The Computer-based Teaching Machine* </p><p>CERTAIN PRINCIPLES OF LEARNING, developed in psychological laboratories and validated in educational practice, have currently been applied with considerable success to the development of new self- instructional textbooks and teaching machines. These principles have been identified with the educational process called programmed learning. </p><p>Programmed learning is a method of self-instruction, carried out by the individual student working with a special teaching device. The teaching device displays educational material to the student. The mate- rial has been broken down into its conceptual elements, with each con- cept taking from twenty to forty teaching machine items for exposition. An item is simply a frame or a slide of information of one or two sentences in length, usually followed by a question. </p><p>As each student proceeds through the instructional material, which is carefully prepared (or programmed) in small easy-to-take steps, he is required to respond actively at each step by filling in a missing word or selecting a multiple-choice answer designed to test his understanding of the information in that step. As the student writes down his answer to each step, the answer is recorded. This provides a basis for revising the educational program so that it will teach better and more efficiently. The data left by studehts also provide a powerful tool for learning about human learning. </p><p>The student's response sets up a means for reinforcing or rewarding the student as he learns. The machine immediately indicates to the student whether he is right or wrong, informs him of the correct answer, and keeps a record of this and subsequent responses. </p><p>*Adapted from "Computer-based Teaching Machines," Journal o] Educational Research, June-July, 1962, p. 528-31, by D. D. Bushnell. </p><p>[11] </p></li><li><p>12 AV COMMUNICATION REVIEW </p><p>Much of contemporary teaching machine programming has been derived from the systematic position advanced by Skinner (7), who holds that the teaching sequence should be organized to maximize successes and minimize failures. The teaching sequence for a given body of material will then necessitate a lengthy series of teaching items to be seen sequentially by all students. Every student will traverse the same sequence regardless of his previous educational experience and aptitude. </p><p>Another position on teaching machine programming is that the ma- chine should be flexible enough to adjust itself to every student's unique abilities for learning a subject. Such a program utilizes a varying number of items and varying sequences of items. Each student will go through a teaching session seeing a sequence that best fits his ability. The student will see additional items when his errors indicate his inabilty to grasp a point or a concept. He then will be shown easier items on the same concept, which are intended to help him over the hurdle he has just met. A student who meets no hurdles will skip redundant items. </p><p>What was developed in this system was a form of "machine respon- siveness" or adaptive control based upon individual student learning needs. The machine does not impose a behavior pattern on the student but seeks a compromise with the learner. First it challenges the student with moderately difficult material and cooperates with him when he needs help by presenting easier questions with more prompts. The ma- chine adjusts the difficulty level and selects a variety of approaches to a given conceptual goal on the basis of needs of the particular student. </p><p>Machine Responsiveness to Student Learning Behavior </p><p>The potential of the computer for handling individual student differ- ences in learning rate, background, and aptitude is of primary interest to most researchers working with computer-controlled automated teach- ing systems. Machine responsiveness to student learning behavior can be achieved by branching the student forward, laterally, or backward through subject materials primarily on the basis of his response to con- </p><p>Figure 3. The sample history lesson in this figure was designed for a machine with decision-making capabilities. Some of the instructional items branch the student to remedial paths designed to correct particular errors. At two points in this lesson, deci- sions are made on the student's cumulative error tallies. At these points, additional instructional items are given to the student if he is experiencing difficulty in learning the material. At the end of the lesson, a self-evaluation item is presented to students who have made at least one error. This allows the student to decide whether or not he needs more instruction </p></li><li><p>COMPUTER-BASED TEACHING MACHINE 13 </p><p>LOGICAL FLOW CHART" HISTORY </p><p>~ !! I -~ ~ o~ ~ ~.~ </p><p>!I ~ I~1 ~* ~ ~I ~ </p><p>~.~1~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ </p><p>T ' * </p><p>I </p><p>oT- </p><p>T' </p><p>~ </p><p>leg~ !I </p><p>ri </p><p>I~ ~ </p></li><li><p>14 AV COMMUNICATION REVIEW </p><p>tent questions seeded throughout the instructional program (see Figure 3 for an example of a branching program). </p><p>Multiple criteria for branching is a goal in research with computer- based teaching machines, but generally, the current teaching machine will only branch for the following reasons: </p><p>1. Characteristics of student response--the promptness and/or de- finitiveness of his reply. </p><p>2. Nature of response--was it right or wrong, what specific errors were committed by the student. </p><p>3. History of student learning behavior his previous response pat- tern, problem areas, and reading rate. </p><p>4. Relevant student personal data--his IQ, sex, personality, apti- tudes. </p><p>5. Nature of subject matter. 6. Degree of student motivation. 7. Student-generated requests for re-routing. The term "flexibility" has two applications in connection with the </p><p>computer-based teaching system. First, the machine is capable of modi- fying its own mode of instruction during the course of a training session. Item sequence, knowledge of results, and other such variables depend on the factors cited above, as well as on the instructions programmed in the machine. It is this type of responsive self-modification which significantly distinguishes this flexible machine from the many non- computer-based teaching devices commercially available. Conceivably, this unique characteristic may lead to a major improvement over other conventional and automated instructional techniques in terms of teach- ing effectiveness. </p><p>A second type of flexibility, of great importance to any teaching machine intended as a research tool, pertains to the ease with which the machine's operation can be altered between training sessions. Such alterations are necessary to permit the investigation of different training procedures or machine characteristics. </p><p>The "responsive" experimental teaching machine demands a con- siderable degree of complexity in type of control unit which provides computer, because the computer </p><p>the machine control unit. The only the necessary flexibility is the digital is the only instrument capable of </p><p>determining the item sequence and knowledge of results to be presented to the student as well as carrying out the bookkeeping activities upon which such determinations will be based. </p></li><li><p>COMPUTER-BASED TEACHING MACHINE 15 </p><p>Inputs from the student are usually introduced by means of a type- writer keyboard connected to the computer control unit. These inputs consist of the student's responses to instructional items, or, in some cases, of requests for further information from the computer. </p><p>Two general types of stimulus material are usually presented by the computer-controlled machine to the student. The first type, consisting of the actual instructional items, can be displayed by a slide projector or TV display acting under the direction of the computer control unit. Signals from the computer control the sequence of items to be presented. </p><p>4 </p><p>I I Storage </p><p>Device 1 l </p><p>Student 1 </p><p>r-i=,- </p><p>Switch Control </p><p>Central Computer </p><p>Slide ] Selector </p><p>Student 2 </p><p>Switch </p><p>Information </p><p>I . t </p><p>Storage Device </p><p>2 </p><p>Figure 4. Equipment diagram for PLATO II </p><p>The second type of computer-based teaching machine output consists of evaluative information concerning the student's performance on the instructional items. This information is often printed out on the page printer of the same typewriter used for student inputs. </p><p>This brief description of the essential elements of an automated teach- ing system controlled by the digital computer does not, of course, hold for the specific configurations of components used in the research described below. It should also be stressed that the tools of this research are of less significance than the purpose for which the tools have been </p></li><li><p>16 AV COMMUNICATION REVIEW </p><p>devised, a point sometimes overshadowed by the luster of the computer. </p><p>Computer-based Teaching Systems PLATO II (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) </p><p>[Bitzer (1)], is the name of a research project using an ILLIAC corn- </p><p>QUESTION: GIVE THE POSITIVE, </p><p>NON-TRIVIAL DIVISORS OF 51 </p><p>IN INCREASING ORDER. </p><p>d 1 - </p><p>d2-! </p><p>Figure 5. Question displayed on the television screen of the PLATO II system </p><p>puter-controlled system of slides, TV display, and student response panel for simultaneously instructing two students in either mathematics or French (see Figure 4). The uniqueness of the PLATO II system lies in its input flexibility and the degree of control the student has over the sequences of educational materials he sees for study. When questioned on the content of material viewed on the TV screen, the student can transmit his answers in numerals, words, sentences, or algebraic expres- sions. The ILLIAC displays each character selected by the student in the blank space appearing with the question on the television screen as in Figure 5. By pressing a "judge" button, the student causes the computer to write either "OK" or "NO" next to his answer (see Figure 6). If he </p></li><li><p>COMPUTER-BASED TEACHING MACHINE 17 </p><p>is wrong, the student has the capability of asking for additional help to which the computer responds by selecting simpler, but related, material until the student presses the "AHA!" button and is returned to the ques- tion missed as seen in Figure 7. </p><p>PLATO II, although fashioned after the model of the human tutor, has only a limited degree of adaptability to student requests. If the additional "help" routines of three or four slides are not sufficient to clear up problem areas, the student is given the correct answer and allowed to proceed. However, richer variable routines are apparently </p><p>QUESTION; GIVE THE POSITIVE, </p><p>NON-TRIVIAL DIVISORS OF 51 </p><p>IN INCREASING ORDER. </p><p>dx- 13. ]OK </p><p>d2 - 118. ]NO </p><p>Figure 6. Question item with student answer and computer feedback </p><p>in design. Additional criteria for branching, on the basis of ( 1 ) specific errors made in a wrong response, (2) the number of wrong responses submitted for a given concept, and (3) how much help was required to complete a given item, are also being explored. </p><p>According to the announcement by the Coordinated Science Labora- tory, PLATO II will ultimately be modified to teach many students at the same time. </p></li><li><p>18 AV COMMUNICATION REVIEW </p><p>At Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc., the PDP-1 computer has been programmed to control two typewriter stations for instruction in lan- guage vocabulary drill (see Figure 8). The computer types out a word from a set of German words. The student responds by typing a corre- </p><p>PLATO </p><p>TEXT HELP TEXT </p><p>PROBLEM </p><p>t ANSWER (STUDENT) I </p><p>PAGE </p><p>Figure 7. </p><p>PROBLEM CORRECT ANSWER </p><p>COMPUTER)' SUB </p><p>ANSWER </p><p>Diagram of the teaching logic for PLATO II </p><p>sponding word in English. If the response is correct, the computer confirms its correctness, posts a hypothetical score, gives a compliment, eliminates the word from the set, and presents a new word from that set. If the student has been incorrect, the computer says "NO," moves the item to a missed set, and offers him the choice of trying again or seeing the correct answer. When the student has finally replied appro- priately, the computer posts a score, makes a suitable remark, and presents the next item in the sequence or a missed item from an earlier set (see Figure 9). </p><p>This research uses the computer to simulate only limited machine responsiveness to errors committed by students. Licklider (5), con- tends that concern with the hardware (displays, controls and proce- dures) is more effective in facilitating learning than adherence to certain learning principles derived from the psychological laboratories. </p><p>Dr. R. L. Chapman (3), formerly of Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, </p></li><li><p>COMPUTER-BASED TEACHING MACHINE 19 </p><p>,~ 03 </p><p>~D "'* O e3 ,~ </p><p>9 ~ o.} </p><p>030~ o </p></li><li><p>20 AV COMMUNICATION REVIEW </p><p>0 </p><p>Good afternoon. This will be your German-Engllsh Lesson No. 4. If you are ready to start at once, please type "s." If you would like to review the procedure, please type "p." </p><p>S </p><p>reichen to reichen to </p><p>64 ~ffnen to to open to </p><p>-120 arbeiten to arbeiten to to work to </p><p>-184 kochen to kochen to </p><p>0 8f fnen to </p><p>64 rauchen to </p><p>64 arbeiten to </p><p>64 kochen to </p><p>64 machen to </p><p>64 8O </p><p>hand. + pass. + </p><p>64 good offer. - ta n open~ </p><p>-56 poor arbitrate~ - ta looko - ta n work. -240 Dumbkopfl cook. - ta y boil. + -240 okay open- + -176 hot dog smoke. + -112 admirable work. + </p><p>-48 good boil. </p><p>16 very good make. </p><p>80 Keep it up. </p><p>Y </p><p>That's it. You did well, I'll be looking forward to the next lesson. </p><p>Figure 9. Typescript of a short illustrative lesson in which a computer plays the role of instructor in language-vocabulary drill. The student typed "O" to start the session, "S" to start the lesson, the English words (and terminating dots) in right hand column, and the abbreviations of "yes" and "no" in response to the computer's "ta" ("Do you want to try again?"). The computer typed the remainder, including scores and com- ments. The procedure is explained in the text </p></li><li><p>COMPUTER-BASED TEACHING MACHINE 21 </p><p>and now with Hughes Aircraft, has developed an auto-instructional device with a control system which is smaller and less expensive than a general-purpose computer, but which incorporates a large amount of operational flexibility (see Figure 10). This device, called MENTOR, provides both visual and auditory display capabilities for training one student at a time. The student responds through push buttons and is given immediate knowledge of results. MENTOR can branch on the basis of single questions, cumulative performance scores, or response time latency. It keeps a record of frame sequences, student responses, and student response times. </p><p>One prototype of MENTOR has been built for research. However, no research with this unit has been accomplished to date, although a long- term program of activities has been drawn up. </p><p>At the System Development Corporation, members of the Automated Education Project developed an instructional system controlled by a Bendix G-15 computer (see Figure 11). Other elements of the system were a random-access slide projector and an electric typewriter. The projector held up to six hundred 35-mm slides, with one inst...</p></li></ul>


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