This module is a quiz on the Product Life Cycle, which requires students to answer questions about the various stages of the life cycle and then visually match a list of products with the various stages of the PLC. This would be useful for an Introductory Business class or a Principles of Marketing class (the latter would require some additional materials) as an in-class concept check exercise or stand-alone module.
Type of Material:
Drill, practice, or quiz.
This module would probably work best as an individual in-class exercise after a lecture to reinforce PLC concepts. It may also work well as an individual assignment or quiz, n which case evidence of successful completion of the module would be required.
Internet browser and Flash plug-in.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Site goal: To provide a learning activity that tests student understanding of the PLC concept.
User goal: To demonstrate successful learning by completing the exercise. Students are presented with a quiz on the stages of the Product Life Cycle. They then must indicate graphically where each phase falls, and place products that are in the appropriate PLC stage.
Target Student Population:
Typically freshman class in associate or baccalaureate degree programs in an intro to business class. If supplemented with additional materials, it might be useful for a Principles of Marketing course. It could also be used by anyone that wants to refresh their knowledge of the product life cycle.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Users need to know how to drag and drop icons with a mouse. Additionaly, the user needs to have a basic understanding of the Product Life Cycle.
Evaluation and Observation
The exercise is simple, easy to understand, complete, and presented in animated form. It serves the purpose of providing a basic introduction to the PLC concept and reinforces prior learning about the PLC.
Simplicity, lack of dynamism, and limited overview of the concept are some concerns. First, the exercise does not distinguish between product classes and product variants (e.g., radios as a product class might be on the decline but satellite radio, a product variant is in the introductory stage today). Second, the product list would need to be regularly updated to ensure relevance (e.g., digital TVs are likely to enter the growth stage soon). The exercise has limited scope since it does not require an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the PLC (as would be necessary in a Principles class). Finally, the quiz does not link to a source to provide definitions of the stages of the PLC.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The initial quiz requiring students to sequentially list the stages of the PLC reinforces the order of stages of the PLC. The exercise serves well to reinforce a discussion on the PLC.
The author does not provide learning objectives. Instructors would need to provide a small write-up or a set of verbal instructions stating the objectives of the exercise. Note that correctly matching the products with PLC stages does not guarantee an understanding of the concept. Multiple choice questions regarding prescriptive strategies for the four Ps for correctly matched products might help improve learning.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The strength of the module is its visual appeal and user-friendliness. When you type in the wrong answer it will tell you the correct answer. It will give two tries if one of the answers is not one of the stages in the product life cycle and one try if the answer is one of the stages in the product life cycle.