Computer Aided Learning


Computer Aided Learning (CAL) is the use of any electronically supported teaching and learning. CAL can be delivered through many mediums including CDs, software, the internet, tapes, and TV. It can be self-paced or led by an instructor using images, texts, or streaming video and audio. CAL also includes using games and multimedia to teach adults and children advanced concepts. Other examples include using Microsoft PowerPoint to give lectures, using computer simulations to demonstrate scientific techniques (such as physics), and web-based training. A popular example of CAL used today is Blackboard. CAL can be as simple as using one piece of software as a teaching aid or as advanced as creating an entire virtual learning environment.

CAL can also be invaluable as a resource for people with disabilities. Such software programs that read text aloud for example, can be a great deal of help to students with vision problems, comprehension problems or anything else that would prevent them from reading or using the computer normally. Voice recognition software can also be helpful for people who have trouble typing.


The idea of Computer Aided Learning originated as early as 1993 by Professor William D. Graziadei. Professor Graziadei began the phenomenon by describing how he envisioned people to use computers, email, wikis and other software to create a virtual learning environment. In 1997 he published an article that defined what he believed should be the attributes of CAL programs. His requirements were that the product(s) had to be easy to use and maintain, portable, replicable, scalable, and immediately affordable. Additionally, they had to have a high probability of success with long-term cost-effectiveness. Today, many technologies can be, and are, used in e-Learning, from blogs to collaborative software, ePortfolios, and virtual classrooms. Most eLearning situations use combinations of the these techniques.

With computers getting bigger and being utilized more and more in the classroom, workplace, and everywhere in general, CAL and eLearning will continue to impact and change the way people learn in the future. Because of this, even if the concept of CAL hadn't been though of and introduced back in the 90s, it certainly would have caught on eventually.


-Teaching K-12 basic skills such as math, science, and history.

-Creating simulations of real environments (ie: a flight simulator).

-Web-based training: taking classes in a totally virtual environment and getting college degrees at online colleges.

-Another area in which CAL has started to appear in is in the teaching of medical students. CAL has proven to be as effective as other methods of teaching and can be used in tandem with the traditional methods of teaching or as a self-instructional tool. Examples of this are using virtual simulations of surgeries and treatments. This allows students to learn their skills in a more relaxed environment without having to operate on a patient.

-learning languages, using software such as Rosetta Stone.

Related Terminology:

Computer-supported collaborative learning
Web 2.0
Computer-based training
Technology-Enhanced Learning
Educational technology
Assistive Technology


Blackboard is an example of CAL that universities like to use

Another famous example: the Math Blaster Series
Another famous example: the Math Blaster Series

This is one of the most famous examples of CAL, The Jumpstart Series.
This is one of the most famous examples of CAL, The Jumpstart Series.

Rosetta Stone, a great example of CAL has helped countless people learn a new language.
Rosetta Stone, a great example of CAL has helped countless people learn a new language.