Microsoft Productivity Pack. (educational software) (evaluation)
by Barry Brenesal
If Professor Windows is for the computer-shy, Microsoft Productivity Pack is intended for the computer-literate. Its purpose is the same, teaching basic Windows skills to the new user, but it places greater confidence in that user's study habits and familiarity with computers.
The largest of the three modules included in Productivity Pack, Learning Windows provides sections on Getting Started, Windows Essentials, Working with Applications, Managing Your Files, Organizing Your Work, and A Day with Windows. Graphical representations of historical and fictional characters lend each presentation a creative touch. Cleopatra, for instance, multitasks several Windows applications while designing the pyramids.
Productivity Pack doesn't quiz you as lessons proceed, so take notes like a good detective. You'll conclude Learning Windows by using the environment to help Sherlock Holmes solve a case. This calls on all your recently developed skills, and while you can always tab through this section to get at Productivity Pack's answers, who wants to fail Sherlock Holmes?
The other two Productivity Packs modules, Quick Troubleshooting and Working Smarter, are simply fancy titles for problems and hints. Both topics offer Windows Help-style access to simple but effective information. These two areas give the impression of providing more material than they actually cover because many of the extensive help subbranches lead back to a relatively small number of answers.
Productivity Pack is a refreshing, hands-on approach to learning about the GUI that conquered America. While you may find all the same information in the Windows manual, you won't get all the fun pictures.