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Use of computers in engineering education for interactive design of electrical machinery provides a very attractive media to prepare engineering students for their professional lives. A computer system, named ESPACE, which supplies them with great flexibility of use, precise error detection, and a high level of interaction is described in this paper. Its realization is based upon the notion of a "potential model," which is a set of possible components, their relations in a model and the basic actions existing within a design field. When working on this system, the students can design their own technical projects and simulate them to check if they operate properly. This turns out to be possible because the potential model can generate all their particular representations in the computer memory. This CAI system has been working for two years in the Electrical Engineering Department of the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble. This paper gives some results obtained from this experience.