Educational Technology & Society 4(2) 2001
ISSN 1436-4522

ADVISOR 3.5

(Software review)

Reviewer: Bhavani Sridharan
Department of Information Systems
Massey University
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Tel: +64-6-354 4211
Email: b.Sridharan@massey.ac.nz

Product details:

 

Product Name:

Advisor V 3.5

Product Category:

Media Solution & ROI tool

Producer Name:

BNH Expert Software

Producer Link:

http://www.bnhexpertsoft.com

Product Link:

http://www.bnhexpertsoft.com/demo.htm

 

 

Snapshot review:

 

Ease of Use

**

Ease of Navigation

**

Documentation - software

NA

Documentation - Analysis

***

Price/value ratio

**

Pedagogical foundation

***

Instructional values

****

Interactivity

***

 

The software helps organizations in deciding about the best mix of delivery methods to meet the training needs based on the set of variables like experience, cost, goals as input from the organisation.  The reporting system of the software about the analysis is very good and easy to follow.  The program does have some bugs as it keeps coming up with the application error - not a valid Windows NT image although it claims that it is compatible with Windows NT.  It is also not very user friendly, at times the user will get lost as it does not tell the user how to proceed further.

Many management executive programs are conducted to upgrade their employee's knowledge and skills to keep them up-to-date in the changing technology.  It is becoming more and more common for companies to take decisions on various issues like whether to have on-campus course or sending them offshore, what delivery method in given situation would be best for the organization and so on.  In this situation, the ADVISOR 3.5 can be very helpful in enabling the top management to analyse all possible options and choose the best one.

Advisor 3.5 contends to provide the best alternative solutions for organization interested in choosing certain method of delivery in training their employees.  It has very good visual layouts to highlight the advantage of one or more delivery methods in its analysis.  It also has good help system in terms of context sensitive help, search by index and so on.  It enables the user to take notes in their own words.  It also enables to do 'what-if' analysis, as it demonstrates the impact of change in any variables instantaneously. 

However, navigating the ADVISOR 3.5 is not as easy and user friendly as it claims to be.  I also found that it has some impediment in terms of manoeuvrability through the program as it gets stuck at times.  For example, if one chooses the course analysis section and enters the values, it does not tell what should be done next?  One has to close that particular window, which then takes the user to the original screen. Top-level management community will not have very much tolerance or time to really learn the software, unless it is made much more user friendly.  Future versions should try to address these issues.  

Another important bug it contains, is that it allows invalid characters to be entered in the course analysis section of the input. Some mechanism, by which users could be given a range of valid characters to enter or an example of the input, would enhance the software. The minimize button does not work for certain windows. 

The real use of the software will be realised only if it comes with the documentation about the various aspects of using ADVISOR 3.5. Though the software itself contains some tutorial presentation about the utilities of the software it does not come with the documentation about how to use the software. The 'user guide' documentation could not be located anywhere in the website. From the users page, I surmise that the user guide is available once you buy the software. With all the improvements to the software with bugs removed from the tool, it will be a good decision making tool for any organization interested in choosing the best combination of training methods and getting best return from investment.


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