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Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI)

Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) (sometimes -Aided)

Individually paced instruction and frame-based, computer-aided instruction comprised early attempts to provide adaptive instruction and, although successful for some types of learning, fell short because their learning environments had low fidelity and their ability to adpt was limited to branching between static screen (Murray 1998).

In the sixties the first attempts to use computers in educations were based on rather behavioristic theories with emphasis on feedback and reinforcement actions (Gazzaniga & Scarafiotti 1997).

  • The teaching path was fixed and linear.
  • The communication style was monodirectional (from the computer to the student) and imperative.
  • Individuality was restricted to the amount of time spent in the learning process.
  • The CAI programs proved useful above all for training.
  • Most severe criticism: the rigidness based on the action/reaction principle.

CAI refers to computer programs that provide drill and practice exercises while CMI refers to programs that evaluate and diagnose students' needs, guide them though the next step in their learning, and record their progress. Both CAI and CMI can be used with little teacher intervention. CEI, on the other hand, requires the teacher to be involved in planning and helping to carry out learning activities.