A process for computer-assisted teaching, which is also known as computer-aided-instruction and computer-based-training is disclosed. Computer simulation may be used to present images which depict an actual physical system that is operated by user actions on a physical control panel. The process is particularly adaptable for teaching persons how to use and maintain various types of industrial machines, teaching students various scientific phenomena and processes, teaching office workers how to use computers and various other office machines, and teaching homeowners how to use various consumer products. Some embodiments are implemented as a two part instructional program comprising (1) presenting a curriculum to the learner that typically includes background material followed by tutorial material which may include a flow chart illustrating the steps for achieving a desired result with a specific process or apparatus based on a specific example and then visually depicting the outcome of performing those steps on the process or apparatus, and then (2) providing a computer-generated "laboratory" wherein the learner uses a simulated controller to perform steps similar to those taught in the curriculum to accomplish a slightly different desired result, and then visually depicting the outcome of those steps on the process or apparatus, followed by a quantitative and/or qualitative comparison of the outcome with the desired result. The process can be enhanced by adding a simulated functional test of the results from the illustrated example in part (1) to further demonstrate that the desired result was achieved, and/or adding a comparable simulated functional test of the learner's work in part (2) to demonstrate visually whether the slightly different intended objectives were achieved by the student's use of the simulated controller.