Monday, October 24
1:30 PM-5:00 PM
UTC

Setting up your own Learning Object Environment

Tutorial ID: 14226
  1. Martin Memmel
    German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence DFKI GmbH
  2. Lars Zapf
    German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence DFKI GmbH
  3. Eric Ras
    Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering

Abstract: The use of LOs is essential for the abilities of an E-learning system in any learning environment. A lot of decisions on metadata, granularity, tools, etc. have to be made regarding the constraints of the given environment, and each of these decisions requires an understanding of different fields like terminology, system architecture, and its components. Furthermore, each decision has an impact on various aspects, such as the authoring process, the possibility to deliver personalized content, etc. The tutorial aims at giving guidelines for choosing an LO approach by giving a brief overview of LO theory, by presenting a general architecture and associated components, by introducing suitable Open Source tools, and by explicitly stating which factors have to be considered when deciding on a concrete implementation. An outlook about future types of LOs and their development will also be given. Software Engineering approaches and agent technologies will play a major role in the next generation of LOs.

Objectives

The main objective of the tutorial is to give practical insights into the domain of Learning Objects (LOs) and help practitioners from the field of E-learning in academia, industry, or government to decide which LO environment to choose for their special needs and interests and how to get started with available Open Source software. The instructors will provide general insights into what LOs are, what they are useful for and which approaches can be distinguished. Besides clarifying the importance of factors like granularity, reusability, sharability, presentation style, and abstraction level, the tutorial will also deal with differences between domains of use and their impact on these requirements. The instructors will emphasize the introduction of Open Source tools for building and enriching environments for LOs. A perspective on future types of LOs and their development will be also provided. Software Engineering approaches and agent technologies will play a major role in the next generation of LOs. The tutorial is organized around a generic architecture for an LO environment. All roles like author, teacher and learner will be considered, and all important LO lifecycle phases are covered by the architecture: authoring, storing, indexing and retrieving, structuring and presenting.

Topical Outline

In contrast to traditional learning material, E-learning gives the opportunity to exploit all the information, relations and links existing within the material to support the user and to create or offer individual environments. To realize that, content must be structured into fragments which can then be combined in the preferred way. Besides the ability to deliver personalized content there are three other main motivations for dividing learning material into LOs: Interoperability, sharability, and reusability. Although a lot of effort has been put in the definition of standards by different institutions, there is still no consensus on what an LO is. Hence general insights into what LOs are, what they are useful for and which approaches can be distinguished will be provided. The tutorial is organized around a generic architecture for an LO environment. All roles like author, teacher and learner will be considered, and all important LO lifecycle phases are covered by the architecture: authoring, storing, indexing and retrieving, structuring and presenting. Open Source Components for LO lifecycle phases The combination of different Open Source tools for authoring, storage, knowledge extraction and classification, enterprise full-text-search, ontology reasoning and LO presentation in an overall system scenario will be introduced. For using and repurposing LOs in different contexts manually inserted metadata is not enough, so a more general concept that is supporting adaptability, adaptivity and the retrieval of LOs will be presented. The Next Generation of LOs The requirement for personalized E-learning based on LOs will lead us to the next generation of LOs: more interactivity with the learner, highly sophisticated multimedia, autonomous adaptation during run-time etc. In order to develop such LOs, fields such as software engineering and agent technologies have to be considered. An outlook about future types of LOs and their relationship to these fields will be elaborated.

Prerequisites

The tutorial intends to attract practitioners from academia as well as from industry or government who intend to work with LOs or are already involved in the development of LOs and their use. The audience should have an interest in evaluating and using Open Source tools for their everyday work with LOs. Having an understanding of basic E-learning standards like LOM might be useful but is not required. The participants could prepare themselves by thinking about mandatory requirements for an LO environment in their own working context.

Experience Level

Intermediate

Qualifications

Martin Memmel studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Kaiserslautern. From 2001 to 2003 he was working as a scientific assistant in the e-Learning project DaMiT. The practical goal of the project was to provide an e-Learning system for the domain of knowledge discovery & data mining. In DaMiT, he was responsible for the architecture and the metadata specification of the learning object repository and the conception and implementation of the authoring tool. Since 2003, he has been working as a research scientist at DFKI working on knowledge objects and metadata specification for E-learning and Knowledge Management systems. He has organized the workshop LOKMOL (Learner-Oriented Knowledge Management & KM-Oriented e-Learning) in 2005. Eric Ras studied computer science at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. From that time, he has worked as a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering. His PhD topic focuses on pedagogical information agents, which play a key role in personalization of learning and pro-active information delivery at the workplace. He has been chair of the LOKMOL workshop. In addition he is a PC member of the Workshop on Human and Social Factors of Software Engineering’05 an of the Integrated Working and Learning’05 Track during the i-Know Conference. Lars Zapf studied computer science at the University of Ilmenau. He was working in different industrial, government and E-learning projects as a consultant and project manager and was responsible for bringing Semantic Web technology to the Thuringian Education Portal (BPT). Here A semantic architecture of the learning object repository and an intelligent information retrieval and visualization system was added to the portal. Since 2004 he has been working as a researcher for the knowledge management department at DFKI Kaiserslautern. He is responsible for the EU-funded project NEWS dealing with large scale semantic repositories for the news industry.
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