Reviewed by Khanh Hoang and Tokkie Segers
DuPont, Valdosta, Georgia, US
Academy Savant has been developing and selling educational software to teach HPLC since 1990 and consequently enjoys a worldwide reputation for setting the standard. They have now released Introduction to HPLC troubleshooting, an e-learning module written by John Dolan and Dennis Saunders. This new version is a fitting successor to the previous one. The graphics, animations and simulations are sleeker and fresher as a result of adapting to the Flash platform.
The self-paced course explains the concepts of troubleshooting HPLC systems from a generic standpoint, avoiding the specifics of any manufacturer’s instrument. It covers typical problems which an HPLC user encounters, such as blockages and leaks, component malfunctions, baseline and peak distortions, extra and negative peaks, retention time and sensitivity problems, preventative maintenance and repairs. A glossary of HPLC terms and a bibliography are also included at the end of the e-learning module for references and further advanced studies.
In the quiz, 20 questions are selected from a bank and presented in random order. This approach makes it difficult to score highly simply by trying the quiz repeatedly and memorising the correct answers to the questions. The quiz is automatically scored and students achieving more than 75 per cent can print out a certificate of completion.
Savant states that this e-learning module is available both online (as web-based training or WBT) and on CD (computer-based training or CBT). Licensing ranges from short-term to permanent, and the program may be deployed on a single computer (PC or Mac) or a network (LAN or intranet).
Users who want a black-box solution to a specific problem should look elsewhere. This course focuses on how to troubleshoot HPLC problems and understand the underlying causes. The goal of the program is ’to simplify the process of locating and correcting problems in HPLC systems.’
As the course itself points out, there are definite benefits to having the ability within an organisation to carry out a technical level of instrument troubleshooting. One of the most important is cost, and it also reduces down-time. These are good reasons to learn how to troubleshoot HPLC systems, and an e-learning program of this type makes it easy to master the troubleshooting skills of HPLC upkeep.
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