The Brainpower series of tutorial and application programs from Amsoft continues to expand.
Widening the range of subjects covered, this program comprises the three elements that have now become standard format in this series: a comprehensive instruction book, a dedicated tutorial and the main application program.
Learning with the computer is more expedient than previous methods. This is especially noticeable where the discipline is complex and the conventional learning process arduous.
Decision analysis is all about making the best choice from a list of options. Decision Maker ensures that within pre-defined parameters the best choice is offered for consideration.
Many of life's decisions have a pecuniary element attached to their final choice, so it will come as no surprise to learn that this program leans in this direction, and is excellent value for money.
The instruction book comprises 12 chapters, each dealing individually with the various attributes specifically associated with the subject.
A concise explanation of the teaching method adopted for use with the tutorial program is followed by a fully worked example.
Purporting to instruct the newcomer in the compilation and comprehension of analytical trees, the tutorial program is used in very close collaboration with the first part of the instruction book.
Progress through the course is geared to your own speed of learning. Test routines abound to ascertain your understanding and familiarise you with the procedures.
A painless transition from simple to more complex aspects of decision analysis is therefore easily accomplished, resulting in a thorough appreciation of the subject.
During the teaching process the screen display is largely devoted to menus and tree diagrams. Eye strain is reduced to a minimum by printing most of the textual instructions in the book.
Several enlightening examples are used throughout the teaching program. Jumping back and forth from one to the other was a little disconcerting. Perhaps one good example embracing all the main points would have added to the overall clarity.
The application program allows you to evolve your own trees tailored to suit your own problems. The analytical tree is similar in appearance to a family tree turned sideways.
Each branch culminates in either a decision or a chance label, subsequently leading to a termination.
In its entirety, the tree is displayed in mode 2; close inspection of an individual branch is shown in mode I, making for easy reading.
On completion, the tree can be modified using the sensitivity procedure. This alters all of the associated products, giving a valuable insight into the way minor changes of parameter values cause major alteration to the end result.
My only real criticism of this program is the old moan about the slowness of sequential me handling with cassettes. This is only a chore during the teaching process which once learned is no longer relative.
Progress was accelerated by transferring the program to disc storage, which is how it is packaged.
Slightly expensive for occasional use, though time- and money-saving if well worked.