The College of Cape Town hosted a carefully monitored pilot implementation of a computer-assisted learning system (PLATO) during 2004. This was so successful that the Western Cape Education Department decided to implement the system broadly across all six of the colleges it steered. P.L.A.T.O is a comprehensive Windows-based e-learning system with over 3500 hours of course-ware.
The course-ware utilises the Pathways Management System to assess a learner’s current competence against the desired outcomes for their level. P.L.A.T.O. then provides a ‘prescription’ tailored to the individual’s needs to help the learner to bridge the learning gap identified. P.L.A.T.O. is available at all our campuses.
What Does It Do?
Learners typically have their present competence in English and Mathematics assessed and the learning gaps are identified. The Learning Management System then prescribes a personal curriculum for individual learners to follow in order to close the gaps. A similar process is then followed with other learning areas relevant to the student’s chosen course. During the pilot project students at the College of Cape Town improved their score at Mathematics by up to 37%.
It is implemented using the PLATO software system, and currently already covers:
- Social Studies
- Life Skills
- Work Skills
Lecturers use the management processes provided by the system to customise course and subject levels, and assessments. This enables them to see the student’s current competency and to identify any skills gaps. The lecturer then builds learning paths to direct student learning.
Learner progress is monitored, performance is recorded and the progress in learning is tracked.