BYU's PACTS:Training and Certification Authoring for Windows and the Internet
Abstract: PACTS automates a training and certification system
in Windows and the Internet. Create training manuals, pretests, and certification
tests in PACTS; all can include text, media clips, and OLE. Manuals and
tests are assigned to trainees and accessed via a LAN or a Web Server.
PACTS consists of three Windows programs: the Editor which is used to create
training materials, the Viewer which is used to view training materials
and take tests, and World Wide PACTS used with a Windows-based Web Server
like WebSite to allow users to read PACTS training manuals and take tests
via the Internet.
PACTS is a product waiting for a software company to continue to develop
and market it. If your company has a plan for making PACTS available to
a wide audience, contact the BYU Technology Transfer Office at (801) 378-6266
for licensing information. If you have specific questions about PACTS that
aren't answered by this page or by the down-loadable documentation, feel
free to e-mail the developers.
What is PACTS?
PACTS automates a training and proficiency testing process. Trainees
can use PACTS to study training materials at their own pace, take tests
to assess their knowledge, and then return to any material that has been
learned but was subsequently changed or forgotten. A trainer can use PACTS
to create training materials, assign those materials to trainees, and track
the progress of trainees and the effectiveness of training materials.
Features of PACTS
Once the trainee feels comfortable with the rules in a page, the trainee
can take an initial test on the material. This initial test is referred
to as a pretest. If the trainee is already experienced in the material,
the Learn step can be skipped and the trainee can go directly to the pretest.
There should be at least one pretest question for each rule in a page.
Pretest questions can be fill in the blank, multiple choice, true or false,
single choice, and yes or no questions. Pretest questions can be text based,
or they can include video, sound, graphics, or OLE objects.
A trainer will set a certain minimum score that must be achieved on
a pretest before the trainee can go on and take the proficiency test.
After taking a pretest, PACTS will highlight the rules that should be reviewed
by the trainee (based on the questions that were missed in the pretest).
Reviewing helps the trainee focus on areas of weakness.
The format of the proficiency test is similar to the pretest. Proficiency
questions can be fill in the blank, multiple choice, true or false, single
choice, or yes or no questions. Proficiency questions can be text based,
or they can include video, sound, graphics, or OLE objects.
A trainer will set a minimum score that the trainee must achieve on
a proficiency test to establish proficiency in that page. If the score
set by the trainer is not achieved, the rules linked to the proficiency
questions that were missed can be reviewed. This will prepare the trainee
to re-take the proficiency test.
Re-establishment of Proficiency or Updates
Once a trainee has established proficiency in a page, the trainee may feel
the page is finished. But what happens if the material in the page changes
at a later date? The answer is re-establishment of proficiency. Should
any page change, PACTS will generate a new page to be learned and tested
on by all the trainees that learned and tested on the older material. The
new page will consist of only the material that has been updated or added
to the page since the trainee last established proficiency on the page.
In this way, PACTS automatically keeps everyone using the training book
up to date on any corrections or changes made to the book.
For example, let's say that during the first part of the year Susan
Phillips learned, pretested, and established proficiency on a page called
"Pell Grant Eligibility" in a training book on Pell Grants. When
Susan learned and established proficiency on the page, she learned that
non-US citizens are not eligible for a Pell Grant. However, later in the
year Congress passed a new law that made certain non-US citizens eligible
for Pell Grants.
In the weeks after the law was passed, the author of the training book
on Pell Grants went into the "Pell Grant Eligibility" page and
changed the rule that said that "Pell Grants are not available to
non-US citizens" to say "Pell Grants are available to non-US
citizens." The author also added some new rules to the "Pell
Grant Eligibility" page explaining which non-US citizens are eligible
for Pell Grants.
When these changes were made, PACTS looked up all the proficiency test
records for trainees who had worked in the training book and found that
changes were made to material that Susan had already completed (and any
other trainees that had worked on the material). PACTS automatically generates
a special "Pell Grant Eligibility" page, called an update,
for Susan to train in that includes only the rules that were changed or
added in the "Pell Grant Eligibility" page since Susan last tested
on that page.
To reestablish proficiency, Susan would be expected to complete the
PACTS learning model for the update on "Pell Grant Eligibility"?that
is she would have to learn, pretest, review, and pass a proficiency test
on the update. This sounds like a lot of work, but remember that only the
rules that have changed or been added will be listed in the reestablish
proficiency update. A page that had fifteen rules the first time Susan
took a proficiency on it might only have one or two rules when she reestablishes
proficiency, depending on how many rules were changed.
If the changes made to a book are trivial, such as a spelling correction,
PACTS allows trainers to select which rules generate updates. If a trainer
is just making a minor correction, the trainer can tell PACTS not to create
updates on the changed items.
Re-establishment of proficiency keeps trainees up to date when policies
change. What about when trainees just seem to forget policies or need special
help on a policy? The answer is a PACTS feature called Lessons.
Let's say that your office is having a hard time remembering the company's
vacation policy. Fortunately, in a PACTS training book you created and
assigned to the office there is a well written page on the policy. It seems
that everyone has forgotten what they learned there.
To help everyone in the office review the policy, the training supervisor
can reassign the page to any trainees the supervisor chooses. The next
time the trainees open the PACTS Viewer, they will be instructed to complete
the page that has been reassigned by the supervisor.
The training supervisor can also create new lessons to train employees.
This feature is useful for seasonal training. Suppose you work for an insurance
agency that gets a lot of claims for ice-related injuries during the winter.
The training supervisor might choose to create a special page that deals
with how to complete ice injury claims, even though there wasn't a page
in the company training book that dealt specifically with ice-related injury
claims. The training supervisor can send this page to the trainees that
deal most closely with these types of claims.
Trainees who receive a lesson must complete the PACTS learning model
for the lesson (i.e. learn, pretest, review, and establish proficiency
on the lesson).
At any time while using PACTS, trainees can make comments on training
material or test questions that are confusing or incorrect. These comments
are sent to the trainer. PACTS allows the trainer to jump right to the
paragraph or question a comment is made on.
Supervisor and Experts
The PACTS Supervisor is responsible for making changes or corrections
suggested by comments. The supervisor can delegate certain sections of
a training book to other users-experts-that have expertise in those sections.
PACTS will then route the comments made on those sections to the expert
who is assigned to the section.
Using PACTS, you can send electronic mail messages between PACTS users.
This makes it easy for trainers to communicate with trainees.
You can create newsgroups?electronic bulletin boards where trainees can
post questions, comments, or concerns about the material being learned.
A number of features are available to help trainees and trainers monitor
progress towards training goals. PACTS displays graphs of a trainee's progress
for a trainee to use in setting training goals. PACTS helps a trainer track
the progress of all trainees and presents charts and graphs to show their
Licensees of the PACTS technology can create PACTS training books and
share them with other organizations. The PACTS Developer Tools allow a
developer to create a PACTS training book that can be distributed on diskette
and installed by remote users. Remote users can return comments and user
histories on diskette for the developer to evaluate as well as receive
periodic updates to the book on diskette from the developer.
There are four major parts to the PACTS training system:
The PACTS Editor
The PACTS Editor is the computer program used by trainers to write
training books, track users of training books, and maintain a complete
The PACTS Viewer
The PACTS Viewer is used by trainees assigned to PACTS training books
to learn, pretest, review, establish proficiency, and reestablish proficiency.
World Wide PACTS Server
World Wide PACTS (in conjunction with a Windows-based Web Server) allows
access to PACTS training books over the internet. Anyone on the Internet
with a Web browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator
can log in to your PACTS training book (providing they have a user name
and password). Internet trainees can learn, pretest, review, establish
proficiency, and receive lessons and updates over the Internet.
The PACTS Developer Tools allow the developer to create a PACTS training
book that updates remote users by diskette. Remote users can then return
comments and user histories on diskette for the developer to evaluate as
well as receive periodic updates to the book on diskette from the developer.