Overview of PerfectLearn

The screencast below will walk you through signing in to PerfectLearn, creating two topics, and viewing the web queries for related study materials of the two newly created topics.

PerfectLearn’s web queries overview from Brett Kromkamp on Vimeo.

To sign in, you use the username and password that you provided during the sign-up process. Once you have signed in, you will see PerfectLearn’s intro page. To access your topics, just click on the big green Start learning button which will take you to the Front page topic, the starting point from which you will be able to access all of your documented knowledge.

To create a topic, click on the Topic dropdown and select Create topic from the menu and type "Pablo Picasso" in the Name field. PerfectLearn will automatically generate the topic identifier, in this case pablo-picasso, based on the name that you provided for the topic (the significance of the topic identifier will be explained in a future tutorial). Once you have provided the topic’s name (with the accompanying generated topic identifier), click on the green Submit button to create the topic.

Now, let’s create another topic. The difference between creating this topic and the previous topic is that this time around we will edit the generated topic identifier and provide a shorter topic identifier. Just as before, click on the Topic dropdown and choose Create topic from the menu. In the Name field, type "North Atlantic Treaty Organization" followed by clicking on the Edit button located next to the Identifier field and change the identifier from "north-atlantic-treaty-organization" to "nato".

Before moving on, a couple of observations with regards to what we have seen up until now are necessary. First of all, you saw that each topic has an accompanying topic identifier. Topic identifiers are of special importance when establishing relationships between two or more topics (that is, creating associations) as you need to provide the necessary topic identifiers when creating the association. Don’t worry about having to remember the exact topic identifiers as PerfectLearn has autocomplete functionality in place for all of the fields that require a topic identifier making it very easy to select the appropriate topic.

Secondly, it is important to understand that a newly created topic or a topic that you navigate to becomes the current topic. With PerfectLearn you are always working within the context of the current topic. You can edit and view the current topic’s text, view and download the current topic’s images and files, or view the current topic’s associations and web queries. Finally, and this is an important point, you create associations between the current topic (also known as, the source topic) and another topic (the so-called, destination topic). Creating simple and non-trivial associations will be the subject of another tutorial.

After creating the topic, let’s take a look at the various web queries that PerfectLearn can perform for a topic. To see the results of the web queries, click on the Web queries dropdown and select the View menu item. PerfectLearn will retrieve all of the related articles from Freebase and display them in a list. Click on the Preview link of the corresponding article to see a preview of the article. If you want to see the full Wikipedia article just click on the See Wikipedia article link in the preview window.

Next on our list of web queries is the video query. Click on the Video tab to display the list of related YouTube videos for the topic. Clicking on the View link (or the video’s thumbnail) will open a video player in a separate window for you to view the video.

After the video query, we will take a look at the images query. Click the Images tab to see the most relevant Flickr images for the topic. Clicking on a thumbnail will load the corresponding image in its original size in a separate window. You can view the previous and next image by clicking on the left and right arrows, respectively. You can also view a slideshow of all of the images, by clicking on the Play button at the top of the screen when viewing an image.

Finally, PerfectLearn also provides a web query for news stories. Click on the News tab to see a chronologically sorted list of news stories related to the current topic. Clicking on a link will open the corresponding news story in a new browser tab.

This concludes the first brief overview of PerfectLearn. Stay tuned for more tutorials and screencasts and sign up for the newsletter and get the latest in updates. Subscribe to the PerfectLearn newsletter.

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