Brief History of PLATO – A Computer-Aided Learning System

Current computer-aided learning systems evolved out of primitive computers. As early as 1830, computers were rising as tools for processing information. Charles Babbage invented the “Analytic Engine,” that may receive input and produce output in arithmetic computations. The primary absolutely computer-based learning system, MARK 1, was developed at Harvard University in 1944. Two years later, ENIAC was designed at the University of Pennsylvania. Both of these early systems were the idea of all future computer-aided learning systems.

The PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) system from Control Data Corporation (CDC) is one in every of the primary pc primarily based coaching programs that was developed within the late nineteen fifties and early nineteen sixties. This technique used a drill-based approach to train and allowed students to skip lessons they already knew. PLATO offered an answer by providing higher education to segments of the population that will otherwise never be able to afford a university education. PLATO exists currently as software accessible on single computers or networks of computers. It grew out of Nova net that was originally, and still is, a “thinking machine.” That is, the system evaluates user input individually (i.e., per question) primarily based on “judges” in its open language of code that calculate correct responses. This suggests that the system will settle for a variety of equivalent expressions or responses rather than one or restricted set of answers. The system provides immediate feedback to the user as well. PLATO doesn’t choose answers individually like Nova net. PLATO judges responses holistically; that means that the program detects a student’s level of mastery once a group of apply issues has been completed. By 1976, PLATO had sprouted a range of novel tools for on-line communication, together with Personal Notes (e-mail), Talkomatic (chat rooms), Term-Talk (instant messaging), monitor mode (remote screen sharing) and emoticons.

By early 1976, the first PLATO IV system had 950 terminals giving access to quite 3500 contact hours of courseware, and extra systems were in operation at CDC and Florida State University. Eventually, over 12,000 contact hours of courseware was developed, a lot of it developed by University College for higher education. PLATO courseware covers a full range of high-school and college courses, likewise as topics like reading skills, family planning, Lamaze training and residential budgeting. Between then and its eventual demise within the mid-1980s, PLATO evolved with technology bringing the academic and corporate worlds courseware for training students in mass. With the appearance of microprocessor technology, new PLATO terminals were developed to be more cost-effective and additional versatile than the PLATO IV terminals.

PLATO additionally brought innovations like on-line message boards and numerous communications tools. Because the worth of a CDC-based solution disappeared within the Nineteen Eighties, interested educators ported the engine first to the IBM computer, and later to web-based systems. At the end, it’s been concluded by an external testing agency that whereas it had been not proven to be a far better education system, everybody using it nevertheless enjoyed it a minimum of. But CDC charged $50 an hour for access to their data center, so as to recoup a number of their development prices, creating it significantly costlier than a person’s on a per-student basis. PLATO was so a failure in any real sense, though it did realize some use in big corporations and government agencies willing to take a position within the technology.

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