What Is Computer-Based Instruction in Education?

Group of students working in computer lab.
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Computer-based instruction, or CBI, is a teaching approach that integrates computer software programs with other teaching materials in the classroom. Other terms used for CBI are: computer-based training, computer-assisted instruction and computer-assisted learning. There are many ways CBI can be used in the classrooms or as standalone learning tools. Teachers use CBI for drills and practices, tutorials, simulations, and instructional games.

1 Drills and Practices

Drills and practices are used to help students master specific skills, and also help increase or refresh a body of knowledge. Drill and practice software, often in the form of games for younger students, is routinely used to improve math and language skills. For the programs to be effective, they must provide feedback or reinforcement to encourage and motivate students. These programs are basic and practical and can be applied in primary, secondary and college classrooms.

2 Tutorials

Tutorial software can help introduce content, provide practice and assess the learner's progress. Tutorials can be used in all types of school curriculum and by businesses for worker training. They can also be used as remedial or enrichment lessons. Since tutorials interact with the students on a one-on-one basis, instructors gain the extra time they need to do other things while the computer does the coaching.

3 Simulations

Simulation programs provide representations of real-life situations, phenomena or processes. Simulations are designed to be realistic, which helps students apply their knowledge in a realistic format. They are often used to teach subject areas such as science because they can imitate objects and explain processes as small as atomic interactions. Simulations help students solve problems and improve their thinking skills. Simulations can be implemented in primary, secondary and college classrooms. They are routinely used in law enforcement training.

4 Instructional Games

Instructional games provide students with the rules of play and an end goal. They can be used in primary, secondary, special education and college classrooms. They appeal to the students' senses through puzzles or arcade-style action and can motivate them through competition, fantasy and personal challenges. Instructional games provide and engaging substitute for worksheets or verbal drills.

Based in Southern California, Dorothy Kropf has been writing about education for ezines since 2000. She is currently a Ph.D. student of education with a specialization in educational technology at Walden University. She enjoys research and writing with strong interests in determining factors that can help college students succeed.