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Microcomputer Courseware: Characteristics and Design Trends



A total of 163 microcomputer programs evaluated by the Educational Products Information Exchange (EPIE) Institute through December 1983 were examined in order to identify strengths and weaknesses in instructional and technical design. Programs were evaluated in a variety of areas including the arts, business education, computer languages, computer literacy, early childhood, language arts, logic/problem solving, mathematics, reading, science, and social studies. Courseware types included drill and practice, educational game, tutorial, and simulation. It was found that most of the courseware did not utilize microcomputer features effectively. There was an overwhelming lack of field testing evidence in the course of program development. A large portion of the courseware included no support materials, unclear or developmentally inappropriate learner objectives, and few, if any, instructional suggestions or information to aid in integrating a program into the curriculum. Audio, when included, tended to be distracting. More than half of the courseware examined failed to use an approach which lent itself to an effective delivery. There was little evaluation of student learning and few programs included a management system. Strengths were, however, found in several areas: most programs were accurate in that there were few errors of fact, spelling, or grammar; little controversial content and few instances of stereotyping were noted; there were good warranties on courseware; and there was some effective use of graphics. Courseware development recommendations, a four-item bibliography, and a list of characteristics and criteria used in ranking courseware are included. (Author/ESR)


Bialo, E.R. & Erickson, L.B. Microcomputer Courseware: Characteristics and Design Trends. Retrieved August 16, 2022 from .

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