The purpose of CMI is to diagnose student learning needs and prescribe instructional activities appropriate for the needs assessed. This assessment can come from tests on different levels of instruction which show where the student is lacking. The instructor can then choose appropriate objectives, modules, lessons, and courses in the curriculum for the student to study (Park, Electronic Version, 2003).
The student has the option of proving mastery of the objectives through module tests that can be taken immediately, or after completing the instructional activities. The student is also involved in deciding which modules to pursue in which order. The pace at which to complete the modules is up to the student since the activities are mostly instructor-free.
An example of a possible CMI system design is the Plato Learning Management System (PLM) which is shown in the graphic below. Each student will have a slightly different design as it is geared toward the individual.
Example of CMI
The instructor develops the curriculum in stages consisting of objectives, modules, lessons, and courses.
There are one or more instructional objectives within each module. When the student meets those objectives, the module is completed.
One or more modules compose a lesson, one or more lessons compose a course, and one or more courses compose the entire curriculum. How many objectives, modules, lessons and courses are involved depends on the student’s objectives and the instructor’s decision on the appropriate materials to meet the student’s goals.
A student’s performance is typically evaluated by tests, and then instructional prescriptions developed from the results. If a student does not reach the appropriate score on a test of mastery, then learning activities can be assigned to help the student reach mastery. When the student completes the activities, he or she may be tested again. A student must master one module before moving on to the next.
A student may also have the option to test out of a module altogether by proving mastery on a test and/or additional summary tests on the lesson level, course level, and curriculum level. The test-evaluation-prescription process, indicative of CMI, continues until the student demonstrates the mastery of all objectives.