Technological Instructional Media

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Technological Instructional Media


systems, devices, and apparatus that present and adapt information during the teaching process in order to improve the process’s effectiveness. In terms of function, such media are generally divided into three types: informational, testing, and instructional.

Informational technological instructional media are of the audiovisual type and include radio programs, educational films and educational television, slide presentations, and language laboratories. These media may supplement a lecture or lecture series, or they may be used to reinforce the visual aspect of material under study. Audiovisual equipment may also be used successfully to accompany independent study. Computers are used as informational instructional media as well.

Technological instructional media used for testing determine the extent to which subject matter has been assimilated. Such media are used at all stages of a course of study. Testing is an inseparable part of the teaching process, serving as feedback between student and teacher. Testing media are used at regular intervals during a course of study and at the end of the course, and may be used by individuals or groups. Individual and group testing media differ in instructional programs and in methods of input for answers. Such testing media vary from the simplest cards, cassettes, and sheets to complex electronic automatic testing machines and computers. The most advanced testing devices use branched instructional programs with a correct answer for verification.

To a great extent, automatic testing frees the teacher from the time-consuming work required by conventional testing methods. This enables him to devote more attention to the creative aspects of instruction and to individual students. Testing becomes more systematized and reliable and more efficient in terms of time. In higher and secondary schools, testing devices in classrooms or auditoriums enable the instructor to control the testing process and obtain necessary statistical data on the extent to which the subject matter has been assimilated.

The efficiency of automatic instructional and testing media alike depends on the sophistication of the program they use. The program and the media are mutually interdependent. No matter how advanced the media, unless the corresponding program is based on correct principles of educational theory and on the latest advances in the subject under study, the efficiency of the media will be lowered both for instructional and testing purposes. At the same time, any advanced instructional program requires devices with a high level of technical performance.

Automatic learning systems (ALS), the most successful type of technological instructional media, are mutually interrelated complexes of computer-based subsystems making use of methodological, informational, mathematical, and engineering and technical advances. They optimize the instructional process and are used by large groups, each member of which interacts with a computer. The ALS take advantage of the computer’s speed and of its ability to store large amounts of information. They make use of logic, provide remote-control access to data files, and make it possible to accumulate and interpret statistical material on the teaching process.

The ALS have helped resolve many problems of pedagogy, including those of the individualization of instruction in the context of mass education, the development of creativity and cognition, and the standardization of methodology owing to opportunities for generalizing the experience of the best instructors. The equipping of a desk with a data display device that has a cathode-ray tube permits a dialogue with the computer that is close to the natural form of communication between student and instructor.

The comprehensive use of all types of technological instructional media helps resolve a basic task of instruction—the improvement of the qualifications of specialists in accordance with the needs of scientific and technological progress.


Molibog, A. G. Voprosy nauchnoi organizatsii pedagogicheskogo truda v vysshey shkole. Moscow, 1971.
Karpov, G. V., and V. A. Romanin. Tekhnicheskie sredstva obucheniia i kontrolia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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