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Bar codes and videodiscs combined in learning aid

A Connecticut training company has taken two highly visible symbols of commercial high technology and combined them in the hope that they will make assembly line workers work smarter.

The resulting product is called ActionCode, and it combines bar codes, similar to those found on supermarket containers such as milk cartons, with videodiscs. Together they provide the student with an interactive program for learning how to, say, align a square wave on an oscilloscope.

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Videodiscs have been used for interactive functions such as training and games for several years, but this is the first time bar codes have been used to enhance and speed up the training process, according to Ronald Tapper, operations vice-president of the International Correspondence School-Intext Division of National Education Corporation.

The ActionCode system includes a videodisc player, a touch-sensitive television monitor, a pencil-like ''scan wand,'' and workbooks. It is the workbooks that contain the bar codes which the student scans with the wand.

In effect, the bar codes become video page turners, helping the student find his or her place in the instructional course or helping review material that was not completely understood the first time. The student responds to test questions by touching the monitor's screen at the appropriate time.

''Students don't have to concentrate on some keyboard system. They're free to concentrate on the course material,'' Mr. Tapper says.

Leonard Gingerella, president of ICS-Intext, says the new system will enhance the simplicity, speed, and learning efficiency of programmed instruction using a video medium. He predicts the first complete course, in electronics, will be available to manufacturers by the end of the first quarter of 1984.

Other courses are to include hydraulics, pneumatics, servomechanisms, programmable controllers, and robotics.

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