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There exist many definitions, some of which are not compatible. But usually, the difference is in scope.

More narrow view:

Some people also would add these categories:

  • Educational software designed for classroom use
  • Computer-based learning software.
  • Teaching Material that can be used for self-teaching

We (DSchneider) prefer the general vague definition:

  • Courseware is technology-supported teaching and learning material

Finally, for some people courseware is almost analogous for educational technology or at least the non-human parts thereof:

  1. Programmed instruction (transfer of content proceeds step-by-step)
  2. Computer-based training (Drills and Tutorials) and e-learning
  3. Intelligent Computer Assisted Instruction (ITS Tutorials)
  4. Computer-based learning (Simulations, Hypertext, microworlds)
  5. Intelligent learning environments (microworlds + electronic tutors, helpers, experts)
  6. Cognitive tools, e.g. Cognitive Learning Support Environments (e.g. hypertexts) or Knowledge Construction Environments

In this perspective, the learning material contains what has to be learned in a very broad sense (e.g. knowing what, knowing how). It can be computational in various ways (exploratory hypertext, lesson and task oriented hypertext, simulation software, task solving environments, etc.)\