Welcome to PPLATO, a set of resources for Physics students and educators.

Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy, and therefore underpins many other areas of science, both theoretical and applied, and also technical subjects such as Engineering.

Because Physics draws heavily on concepts and tools provided by its sister subject, Mathematics, PPLATO also includes a section devoted to relevant Mathematics topics.

PPLATO Resources

The PPLATO resources are listed in the table on our main PPLATO page (the same link is also at the top of the menu on the left), and are arranged by topic. There are two types of resources: in the left column are the Open University's FLAP (Flexible Learning Approach to Physics) modules, and on the right are supplementary self-assessment modules produced by the Universities of Plymouth and Salford. Think of the left-hand column as of the chapters of a complete textbook, and of the right-hand column as of tutorials on a selection of topics.

Click on individual topic names to reveal or hide their associated modules. You can also expand or collapse from view all topics at once.

To view a module click on its name. Some links and modules may open in new browser windows.

A brief history of PPLATO and FLAP

Open University logo Flexible Learning Approach to Physics (FLAP) was developed in 1995 at the UK Open University, in collaboration with the University of Reading. The emphasis was on self-guided independent learning by students. The developed materials were distributed as binders full of photocopy masters for the individual modules of FLAP, for different topics in math and physics. The idea was that each student would only complete the modules they needed. This was determined, for each module, through the entry test ("fast-tracking") which would determine if this student could just briefly review the material in the module and go on to subsequent ones, or whether this module required some study, and practice, before an exit test could be attempted. Each module was short and self-contained and could be returned to multiple times, until mastery of the subject was achieved.

A brief history of the first few years of use, and the principles of its design are available here (local copy).

In 1999-2000 the FLAP modules were ported to a computer-based delivery mechanism through the efforts, in part, of Ed Auld of the University of British Columbia.

Salford logo The modules were further integrated into a more comprehensive platform, Promoting Physics Learning And Teaching Opportunities (PPLATO) in a project involving six UK Universities. Under PPLATO, many of the original FLAP modules acquired supplementary self-assessment tutorials produced at the Universities of Plymouth and Salford. Plymouth logo They are in the public domain and can be used freely under the conditions of a creative commons license, with attribution to the various authors.

Reading logo The current home page of PPLATO is at the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Reading, from which the materials were mirrored in 2015 to this server for use by Brock students.