Courseware is software that contains educational content, instruction, and instructional strategies. Its meaning was originally used to describe additional educational material intended as kits for teachers or trainers or as tutorials for students, usually packaged for use with a computer. The abbreviation CAI and educational software are terms that are also used to describe Courseware. CAI stands for Computer Assisted Instruction or Computer Assisted Instruction.

CAI is a program that contains instructional content and instructional aids using a computer. It is difficult to distinguish between CAI and courses. Sometimes Courseware and CAI were used as the same concepts in reference to a kind of educational software that refers to all types of software for education. Courseware is like this, educational material conceived as kits for teachers or trainers or as tutorials for students, usually packaged for use with a computer. The training materials are also widely used in information technology industry certification programs, such as the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and the Computing Technology Industry Associaton A + exam.

Origins of Courseware

As technology is being integrated into class curricula and more online courses are offered in many educational institutions, it is necessary to examine the ways in which technology is used in these courses and to recognize the ways in which technology could positively affect student learning. Information, computing, and multimedia are three popular components found in educational software.

When using the operational capabilities of the computer to provide information, computing and multimedia, it is important to recognize three premises:

Information delivery ʻlearning

Provide performance computing learning

Include multimedia in the course ʻlearning

Information delivery: transmitting information does not mean that learning has occurred

Instructional materials of various types (for example, linear presentations such as PowerPoint, non-linear teaching aids, web pages used to facilitate class and online courses) often provide students with screens full of information and students must scroll through the pages or click buttons to go through the delivered material your way. However, the fact that the material was delivered is not enough to assume that learning has actually occurred; there is no guarantee that students have correctly processed and retained information.

To acquire information and learn, students need tools with which they can process the information that is transmitted to them. Tools designed to help process information must address a variety of individual differences between students. Some of these individual differences include the level of concentration, the amount of information, different backgrounds, ideas, or habits that students bring to the learning environment, and different learning styles, strategies, and tactics. For any information provided, the processors should be designed to help students learn the material. These processors include motivational and creative strategies that allow students to handle the material in various ways.

Courseware Methods

Different types of educational material require different methods and strategies of their own, since the teacher does not provide any other. The exploration methods give students navigation responsibilities, however it is quite questionable whether learning has occurred. First, students can spend more time browsing than processing the information they find. Second, even if students find relevant information, that information still needs to be processed and retained.

Analysis methods require students to act only after much thought. By working with these methods, students are more likely to generate robust learning outcomes as they have to process parts of the information and interact with the material. When using the Do or Be methods, students are assigned a role or a task while working with the program. In this way, students follow pathways that specifically address their learning options and needs. These methods ensure that learning occurs.

Achievement calculation: reporting student performance does not mean that learning has occurred

Since computing is what computers do best, it is quite natural for course developers to use this capability as a performance analysis tool. Therefore, many course programs include a quiz or similar assessment engine and then provide feedback such as, "You have correctly answered 14 out of 20 questions." Some programs make use of the ability of the computer to calculate the time and add it to the previous evaluation "in 3 minutes and 45 seconds".

By providing computation to analyze student performance, the programs function simply as a delivery agent rather than a learning resource. In this way, the programs are similar to a letter with GRE scores or a blood test result: the recipients of these letters get the facts, but are not given any advice on what to do or how to improve the situation. Students still need an analysis tool to understand what they did wrong and what is necessary to improve their performance.

Adaptive learning

Performance Computing Instructional Link: Provide Individualized Feedback

To understand and correct performance problems, students need feedback. Feedback must be tailored to specific errors. You should also try to analyze the thinking process of the students. Interestingly, feedback in a non-linear environment is in fact "content" or "general information" in a linear environment.

Converting a traditional course to a course program by designing lectures and then administering quizzes would not guarantee robust learning outcomes. Course syllabi often provide comments such as "No, please try again" along with a score. "No, try again" would be completely unacceptable feedback in a classroom situation and is equally useless when used in courses. In class, teachers often analyze their students' wrong answers and understand how and why they made a mistake.

The instructors then decide the best approach to handle such errors, e.g. Eg Change the topic of discussion, give a hint, provide the correct answer or ask another question. The same process should be designed in the teaching material. Feedback "No, please try again" is used very frequently in teaching materials because it provides programs with a way to target a large audience in a very small programming effort. However, this programming convenience is not enough to guarantee robust learning outcomes; What students learn from generic feedback beyond the fact that they were wrong remains unknown.

Solid Learning Outcomes in Courseware

A solution that ensures robust learning outcomes should utilize the ability of the computer to address large numbers of students individually, making students feel that they are being addressed individually and not as a crowd. With a combination of reinforcement, direction, analysis, and resulting feedback, student performance is analyzed in an effective manner that ensures good learning outcomes.

Multimedia: including multimedia in the teaching material does not mean that the learning has actually happened

Educational course programs often include pictures, sounds, and movies. Unfortunately, in many cases, the inclusion of media in teaching materials has very little effect on learning. Showing an image, for example, because it "is cute" or because it breaks a text segment does not mean that students learn better with it. Analysis of the characteristics of each medium leads to many potential learning obstacles.

Video captures the attention of students, yet it is a very passive medium. After a short time of watching videos, the level of concentration and interest of students often diminish. Learning from audio is quite difficult; it requires concentration, internalization and processing skills that in many cases are not easy to apply. Also, audio requires a high level of imagination and creativity that is not common to all students. Images often require help to process the information that is conveyed in them. Long text segments are difficult to read on the screen and very difficult to retain.

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