Courseware abstraction: reducing development costs while producing qualitative improvements in CAL

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Abstract Courseware abstraction is an approach to CAL whereby the lesson author creates a general parameterized CAL lesson that is then applied to many concrete examples. This approach has the following advantages over alternative approaches to lesson development: it is cost efficient; it facilitates lesson verification; it encourages the provision of as many examples as are desirable; it simplifies the selection of appropriate examples for presentation to each student; it provides a convenient framework for student evaluation, and it supports the development of factually exhaustive lessons. In short, it provides qualitative improvements, while at the same time reducing lesson development costs. Although widely used, courseware abstraction has not previously been identified as an important CAL technique and its relative merits have never received attention. In particular, there has been a failure to recognize that generative CAL derives most of its power from the use of courseware abstraction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Courseware development
  • Generative CAL

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