The basic “recognize-act-recognize-end” cycle can be recognized in elementary as well as in more advanced forms of CAI. This article attempts to offer a unifying formal framework in which different elaborations of this cycle (embodied in a “processor”) can be placed. Three different levels of elaboration are distinguished which can be considered to be situated into the nodes of a lattice of models of the instructional process. A formal definition of such a framework can serve at least two functions. In the first place a uniform and precise definition of various elaborations can be given and new elaborations can be created in a logically funded way. Secondly, such a framework can support the modelling of instructional processes and the stimulation of student behavior. Thus, pre-testing of courseware could become feasible. Aspects of the framework have been used to implement two prototypes of support systems for the development of CAI courseware.