Profound Learning Systems' PLSystem
The variety of educational experiences possible using Profound Learning Systems' PLSystem, an Internet-based instructional system, makes it a great tool for use in most learning environments, especially schools. The PLSystem is a shell program with a daily review component that allows instructional content to be presented, providing the material has been arranged appropriately. It provides for the possibility of allowing content in the form of audio, text, video and still graphics.
The PLSystem allows students to work in a partially individualized environment. Students can work when it's convenient for them or their teacher. Learners work at their own pace, spend time on skills they need to learn and have a daily skills review on previously introduced material. The PLSystem also has built-in content-retention activities that students review for days or weeks after an instructional session ends. Profound Learning estimates that the review activities should take about five minutes per day.
The program needs no in-school installation other than an Internet browser on a relatively new computer - a Pentium II desktop computer with CD-ROM works very well. The PLSystem has a consistent six-button navigation layout that is always present at the top of the window when someone is logged into the program. There is a second navigation system down the left-hand side of the screen that becomes apparent during training and consists of the table of contents for the learner. The table of contents is expandable, dis-playing headings and subheadings of the content in the program, as well as tracking what each student has covered. In addition, a color-coding system shows the user the current content area they are studying in.
A positive aspect involved with this product is the individualized instruction students receive, which gives them responsibility for their own learning. The structured setup of the material also allows students to become familiar with all of the courses offered on the PLSystem. The asynchronous nature of the material lets students access the PLSystem and review it when they have the opportunity.
A possible disadvantage of this product is the need to sign up with the company to get access to the PLSystem server to find out what educational courses are available. The need to ensure that learners get daily access to an Internet accessible computer, having to rely on the PLSystem server, and getting learners to login and review the retention activities every day are other possible problematic factors. None of these issues, however, overly impact the worthiness of this system.
It is obvious that Profound Learning has recognized the implications of technology's ability to deliver knowledge retention activities to students. These activities would go a long way toward increasing learners' knowledge comprehension, and would be an excellent addition to any classroom.
Edith Cowan University
Perth, Western Australia
Profound Learning Systems Inc.
This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.