What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Computer Assisted Learning?

Advantages of the CAL are given below:

1. CAL is individualized, that is each student is free to work at his own place, totally unaffected by the performance of any other students.

2. Information is presented in a structured form. It proves useful in the study of a subject where there is hierarchy of facts and rules.

3. CAL forces active participation on the part of the student, which contrasts with the more passive role in reading a book or attending a lecture.

4. CAL utilizes a reporting system that provides the student with a clear picture of his progress. Thus students can identify the subject areas in which they have improved and in which they need improvement.

5. By enabling students to manipulate concepts directly and explore the results of such manipulation, it reduces the time taken to comprehend difficult concepts.

6. CAL offers a wide range of experiences that are otherwise not available to the student. It works as multimedia providing audio as well as visual inputs. It enables the student to understand concepts clearly with the use of stimulating techniques such as animation, blinking, graphical displays etc.

7. CAL provides a lot of drilling which can prove useful for low aptitude students and through which high-aptitude students can be escaped.

8. CAL can enhance reasoning and decision-making abilities.

Limitations of CAL: Though CAL has a number of advantages, it has some limitations also. Some of these are as follows:

1. A CAL package may be regarded simply as a novelty, rather than an integral part of the educational process. It may threaten the objectives of the package.

2. Though simulation permits execution of chemical and biological experiments, hands-on experience is missing. Moreover, CAL packages cannot develop manual skills such as handling an apparatus, working with a machine etc.

3. There are real costs associated with the development of CAL systems. It is expensive in terms of staff time to devise and programme effective CAL.

4.Content covered by a certain CAL package may become outdated. A very high cost is involved in the development of these packages. If the course is outdated, the resources involved in its development will be a waste.

Disadvantages of CAL Approach:

1. CAL packages may not fulfill expectations of teachers. Objectives and methods decided by the CAL author and of a teacher may differ.

2. Motivating and training teachers to make use of computers in education is a challenging task. They may have fear of this new device. They may be unwilling to spend extra time for preparation, selection and use of CAL packages. It may also be perceived as a threat to their job.

3. There are administrative problems associated with computer installation. The problems particularly related to the physical location of the computer resources, the cost of hardware maintenance and insurance and time-tabling.

4. The rapid development of hardware makes it difficult to select a system before it becomes obsolete. If a new system is installed by a maximum number of institutions, they may not get courseware required for the system and courseware developed so far may become useless.