Compass Learning Inc.

Compass Learning sells two products in the Algebra and Pre-Algebra space called Odyssey Algebra, and Odyssey 5-8. Compass Learning is one of the larger players in the educational market, and like Plato and Carnegie Learning, offers a full line of products that teach reading, science, elementary math, and language arts for ELL students. They also sell their own line of assessment products.

Odyssey Algebra and Odyssey 5-8 Pre-Algebra are some of the most interactive products we reviewed with lots of animation, voice overs, games, and applet-like interfaces. They have five sample lessons on their website which demonstrate these features extensively. In terms of look & feel, these lesson modules are similar to Plato's products, although it could be argued that Odyssey is better produced and that the interactive applets are more informative to the student. Furthermore, the content of the lessons, delivered mostly by animation and voice-over audio, is usually quite in-depth.

One feature that distinguishes Odyssey is that most lessons begin with a short game called a "warm-up" which reinforces skills from previous lessons and is presumably useful for the upcoming lesson. For example, the warm-up to the lesson called "The Distributive Property -- Factoring" is a game which requires the student to choose the factors of small numbers like 24, or 36. The game involves moving your character around the screen with the arrow keys, avoiding incorrect answers, and jumping onto the correct answers. Or, in the lesson called "Organizing Data", the warm-up is a hangman activity where the student attempts to guess important terms like "frequency table" or "tally marks" by guessing one letter at a time.

Another important aspect of Odyssey is that they have obviously put a lot of thought and work into using helpful animations, clear voice overs, and overall a fairly consistent design and user interface across all their activities. To this end, they do a good job defining new terms at the start of each lesson, and intelligently, they reuse the same artwork/animations in the included glossary. Furthermore, whenever they introduce a new onscreen manipulative or applet they go to great lengths to give instructions to the student on how the thing is to be used -- sometimes this goes too far, in that the tutorial has so many options, the tutorial might even seem to need a tutorial! Although this is by no means unique to Odyssey/Compass, they distinguish themselves by taking a lot of care with clear presentation so it bears mentioning.

As with other competitors, Odyssey provides extensive progress monitoring and reporting capabilities to teachers.


Odyssey Algebra, Odyssey 5-8 (Pre-Algebra)

Validation Claims

None mentioned on website

Instructional Model(s)

Supplements teacher instruction

Presentation Style

Scope & Sequence

Delivery Method

On-line over the web or LAN-based local installation






Sold mainly to schools


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Company Information

[1]Sample Activities