Aromatherapists aren’t known for their technological prowess, but the discipline of healing physical and emotional ailments with essential oils derived from plants and herbs is pretty information-intensive. Enter “Essential Aromatherapy”, a self-paced CD-ROM course developed by Essential Training Solutions Ltd. of Daventry, England. By covering the basics of aromatherapy in a well-planned if not terribly sophisticated manner, the course offers a good model for designing self-paced training.

All too often, CD-ROM courses assume a working knowledge of computers. The introduction to “Essential Aromatherapy” begins — as it should — with a lesson to help you navigate the screen. Contrary to what many IT pros might think, mousing around a monitor is not an intuitive exercise for most people.

Then there’s the content. By organizing the material into clearly comprehensible sections (the history of aromatherapy, an index of essential oils, a glossary, blending techniques), “Essential Aromatherapy” makes it easy to locate specific information. And the developers of the CD-ROM take full advantage of the computer by including links to cross-referenced materials, interactive quizzes and pop-up boxes pointing out related information in other sections.

Perhaps the only shortcoming of this CD-ROM is the absence of scratch-and-sniff technology.

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