Volvelle Learning Tool

Volvelles are an old fashioned tool that shows the result of calculations. The results are calculated before hand and laid out in a particular and precise pattern on the underneath disc. A top disc with window cut through it overlays the result of the calculations and has a design on it that allows the user to choose inputs and see the result displayed in a window. Slide rules and volvelles do the same job but one is linear and the other is round.

We started developing this volvelle to help truck drivers calculate how many tie down straps are required for their loads. The idea was that it might be a useful thing to have in the cabins of their trucks. Fairly quickly it became apparent that this is more useful as a training aid because the calculation methodology requires drivers to learn a process that is not intuitive. Processes are easier to learn when there is a physical trigger to assist in learning the steps.

The process requires drivers to add in the load weight much later in the calculation that seems intuitive so they need to understand the rationale for making the calculation as well as the calculation itself. Whilst the volvelle was originally intended as a tool for driver to use, the ease of use of an app on a smart phone obviates the need for anyone to understand how the calculation has to be done once the process has been learnt and the day-to-day issue of tying loads down is underway.

They can be a fun tool to use and a bit of fun helps engage students in learning. Volvelles can be made from quite robust materials so that they withstand rough handling, so can be quite useful in dirty environments.

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