The Elements of CAL


286 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88878-203-9





Reviewed by Ross Willmot

Ross Willmot is Executive Director of the Ontario Association for
Continuing Education.


This book claims to be the first “that actually tells, step by step, how to create Computer-Assisted-Learning courseware.” Previous books on CAL either theorized how learning and computers relate or described what a single computer language or piece of hardware is. This book not only does both but gives general background on CAL as well as specific instruction on computer programing. Its Instructional Management and Presentation System (IMPS) simplifies and clarifies the long process of conceiving, designing, verifying, coding, testing, and maintaining good courseware. This book’s stated purpose is to encourage all those in the learning process to reconsider their roles and to use available technologies to improve the whole of that process.

Literary activist Godfrey, through the publishing house he founded (and with the assistance of computer program researcher and producer Sterling), has made another communications breakthrough. Their book, because of its logical presentation and simple language, serves as a reference to anyone interested in the new, rapidly developing field of Computer-Assisted-Learning and Computer-Based-Training. (The differences between the two, the book incidentally says, are not fundamental.) Two “sample” courses allow the reader to demonstrate the methods and concepts described. A basic CAL glossary, a specific discussion of languages, hardware, networks, and databases, are included.

A generalist novelist, whose The New Ancestors won a Governor-General’s Award, co-editor of books on CUSO, on Canadian books, and on Canadian economic nationalism, Godfrey has recently written and lectured widely on the field of CAL and CBT. His Gutenberg Two and The Telidon Book have led the way to producing this readable and useful text on what could be an abstruse subject.


Godfrey, David, and Sharon Sterling, “The Elements of CAL,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,