CAI is known as Computer-Aided Instruction. It is also known as Computer-Assisted Instruction. CAI is a diverse and rapidly expanding spectrum of computer technologies that assist the learning and teaching process. Basically, it is using computers for instructional purposes.
CAI systems can be categorized based on who controls the progression of the lesson. Early systems were linear presentations of information and guided drill, and control was directed by the author of the software. In modern systems, and especially with visualization systems and simulated environments, control often rests with the student or with the instructor. This permits information to be reviewed or examined out of sequence. Related material also may be explored. In some group instructional activities, the lesson can progress according to the dynamics of the group.
There are also advantages and disadvantages in using a CAI. CAI can dramatically increase user’s access to information. It can adapt to the abilities and preferences of the individual user and increase the amount of personalized instruction a user receives. Although it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of any educational system, numerous studies have reported that CAI is successful in raising examination scores, improving student attitudes, and lowering the amount of time required to master certain material. While study results vary greatly, there is substantial evidence that CAI can enhance learning at all educational levels.
In some instances, especially those involving abstract reasoning and problem-solving processes, CAI has not been very effective. Critics claim that poorly designed CAI systems can dehumanize or regiment the educational experience and thereby diminish student interest and motivation. Although much effort has been directed at developing CAI systems that are easy to use and incorporate expert knowledge of teaching and learning, such systems are still far from achieving their full potential.