Interactive Learning Environments

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1049-4820
Publications
Article
Design is a critical to the successful development of any interactive learning environment (ILE). Moreover, in technology enhanced learning (TEL), the design process requires input from many diverse areas of expertise. As such, anyone undertaking tool development is required to directly address the design challenge from multiple perspectives. We provide a motivation and rationale for design approaches for learning technologies that draws upon Simon's seminal proposition of Design Science (Simon, 1969). We then review the application of Design Experiments (Brown, 1992) and Design Patterns (Alexander et al., 1977) and argue that a patterns approach has the potential to address many of the critical challenges faced by learning technologists.
 
Concept map created by the author, after adding nodes, relationships, etc.
Concept map drawn by university student as study aid.
Article
The concept map is becoming a ubiquitous tool in education. In recent years there has been a growing interest in "diagramming" or "mapping" ideas to be learned (e.g., Jonassen et al., 1998). The approach has been championed by study skills proponents such as Buzan (1993). Maps of concepts and relationships have been used by many researchers and practitioners to help diagnose misunderstanding, improve study methods and glimpse how learners come to know. In other areas, the representation of knowledge in formalisms such as the Net greatly assisted the development of intelligent tutoring systems (e.g., Sowa, 1983). In order to better understand the claims made for its efficacy, reference to how concept maps have been used and defined will lead to a plausible explanation of the process of "off-loading" of concepts during learning or study (McAleese, 1994, 1998). In order to demonstrate the widespread application of supporting learners with external "1earning spaces" (c.f. ISLEs/ and REALs-...
 
Article
Select-a-Kibitzer is a computerized tool that gives feedback to students on their compositions in a unique way. The feedback is based on composition research which describes the process of writing as one of simultaneously solving multiple, possibly conflicting constraints. In Select-a-Kibitzer, each constraint is personified by a di#erent character. A student enters a composition into the tool and then asks for feedback. A variety of natural language processing techniques are used to analyze the text. Then, each of the characters gives feedback on the text from its particular point of view. Select-a-Kibitzer di#ers greatly from standard "style checker" mechanisms that focus on surface features of the text. By using Latent Semantic Analysis, Select-a-Kibitzer can address a wide-range of meaning-oriented composition issues, including coherence, purpose, topic, and overall quality. This paper describes the composition research that forms the basis of the project, and the intera...
 
Article
This paper describes a series of classroom trials during which we developed Summary Street, an educational software system that uses Latent Semantic Analysis to support writing and revision activities. Summary Street provides various kinds of feedback, primarily about whether a student summary adequately covers important source content and fulfills other requirements, such as length. The feedback allows students to engage in extensive, independent practice in writing and revising without placing excessive demands on teachers for feedback. We first discuss the underlying educational rationale, then present some results of the trials conducted with the system. We describe the collaborative process among researchers and teachers which enabled the development of a viable and supportive educational tool and its integration into classroom instruction. Keywords: Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA), educational technology Summarizing with LSA-Based Feedback 3 Summary Street is an educational sof...
 
An interview within the Interactive Problem Context: The video window shows an employee of the organisation that is called ''Uni Garmisch'' (see heading). In the right part of the display there is a site plan of the virtual organisation showing the office rooms of the different employees (the yellow smiley indicates the user location). The window in the lower part of the display contains questions to be asked. When clicking on a question the video starts and the employee will answer the question.  
Building up a graphical model with the Modeler Tool: The series of Modeler Tool screenshots show an example of building up a graphical model of the information network represented by the Interactive Problem Context. Starting with a few components and connections in Figure 2.1, the graphical model is developed into a complex representation in Figure 2.3 containing the main part of the information from the Problem Context.  
Analysis of static properties: By clicking on the menu of every component (right mouse button) the Modeler Tool provides information about its properties. The smaller display (under the headline ''Behandlung von Nachrichten''), for example, provides information on how the selected person ''Herr Müller'' deals with incoming messages. It shows his varying preparedness (second and third column of the table) to receive different types of messages (column one) and the probability that these messages finally reach him (fourth column).  
Analysis of the dynamic properties: The display of the Modeler Tool shows a complex model of the information network. It can be brought to action by means of a single stepsimulation: Step-by-step the flow of information can be simulated from the beginning till the end of the information process. The small display on the right of the screen allows the user to control of the single steps of the simulation. During each step of the simulation the components that are actually involved in the flow of information change their colour to green.
Good modelling result of one working group: This graphical model being made by one of the working groups during the working session is the result of trying to represent the problem they were working on. Apart from the icon ''Herr Berger'' which is not correctly connected the representation is complete and correct.
Article
Up to this point, university education has largely remained unaffected by the developments of novel approaches to web-based learning. The paper presents a principled approach to the design of problem-oriented, web-based learning at the university level. The principles include providing authentic contexts with multimedia, supporting collaborative knowledge construction, making thinking visible with dynamic visualisation, quick access to content resources via ICT, and flexible support by tele-tutoring. These principles are used in the MUNICS learning environment which is designed to help Students of computer science to apply their factual knowledge from the lectures to complex real-world problems. For example, students may model the knowledge management in an educational organisation with a dynamic visualisation tool. Some more general findings from a formative evaluation study with the MUNICS prototype are reported and discussed. For example, the ignorance of the students concerning the additional content resources is discussed on the background of the well-known finding of the phenomenon of insufficient use of help systems in software applications.
 
Student L's two-dimensional projectile motion simulation 
Article
Programming is an activity through which students can learn about other domains, but the difficulty of programming diminishes its usefulness as a learning activity. One approach to facilitate the use of programming for learning is to view programming as a skill like those taught through apprenticeships, and to use the apprenticeship concept of scaffolding to facilitate doing and learning through programming. Scaffolding means providing modifiable support (through fading) that communicates process, coaches, and elicits articulation. Software‐realized scaffolding embeds scaffolding in a computer‐based environment. Emile implements software‐realized scaffolding to facilitate student learning of physics by facilitating students building computer‐based models and simulations. In this article, I present Emile's features as examples of software‐realized scaffolding, and I present the results of an evaluation of Emile's effectiveness. Students were able to use Emile to create fairly sophisticated programs and gained a qualitative understanding of kinematics in the process.
 
Article
This paper presents a comprehensive conceptual framework and notation for learner modelling in intelligent tutoring systems. The framework is based upon the computational distinction between behaviour, behavioural knowledge, and conceptual knowledge (in a 'vertical' dimension) and between the system, the learner, and the system's representation of the learner (in a 'horizontal' dimension). All existing techniques for learner modelling are placed within this framework. Methods for establishing the search space for learner models and for carrying out the search process are reviewed. The framework makes clear where particular learner modelling techniques are focussed and shows that they are often complementary since they address different parts of the framework. 1 A FRAMEWORK FOR LEARNER MODELLING Pierre Dillenbourg and John Self 1. THE FRAMEWORK Learner models are important within computer-based systems intended to promote learning because they provide the means to support intelligen...
 
Article
: This research is about the problem solving activities of novice programmers as they learn to create recursive LISP programs. Their problem solving not only includes the issue of mental models, but also how to use these mental models in conjunction with other problem solving techniques. In fact, at various stages of their learning, learners seem to use different packages of problem solving methods. Each of these packages we call a mental method. In this paper, we discuss the PETAL learning environment which assists learners in the use of three of these mental methods: the syntactic method, the analytic method and the analysis/synthesis method. PETAL externalizes each mental method through its own customized interface, called a programming environment tool (PET). Such externalization helps learners internalize concepts, and organize relevant knowledge and generally leads to improved learning. The PETAL System itself is presented. Next we discuss a study where one group of students used...
 
t-test results of the scores for three group assessment dimensions.
A comparison for the number of articles posted between experimental groups and control groups.
Article
Although Web 2.0 technologies have been recognized as effective means of conducting group learning activities, a critical and challenging issue of Web 2.0-based learning is the lack of mechanisms for promoting information exchanges and sharing among participating students. To cope with this problem, an intelligent blog system is proposed in this article to assist teachers in conducting group learning activities on the Internet. In this system, a promotion mechanism is provided to encourage the exchanging and sharing of information and learning resources by collecting and analyzing the frequently asked questions and the historical contents selected from relevant discussion forums. On the basis of the experimental results, the system is proven to be able to fulfill the need of the students and the teachers and also very helpful for enhancing students' learning efficacy.
 
Article
A Web 2.0 environment that is coupled with emerging multimodal interaction tools can have considerable influence on team learning outcomes. Today, technologies supporting social networking, collective intelligence, emotional interaction, and virtual communication are introducing new forms of collaboration that are profoundly impacting education. In this study, an empirical analysis was conducted on a Web 2.0 learning space designed to promote and support project-based group learning. Three different group reflection (GR) methods (i.e., self-reflection, GR, and instructor-supported reflection) were implemented for a micro community of undergraduate students completing a team project. Findings from this study suggest that promoting and supporting ‘deep learning’ through GR is essential for team project learning in a Web-based community. In addition, effective instructor intervention is a crucial component leading to better group performance. In terms of group learning evaluation rubrics, structural equation modeling revealed that the level of activeness in online contributions may not be as important as the evidence of collective reflection and critical thinking in team learning scenarios.
 
Article
Universities can offer eLearning 2.0 tools and services to learners while obtaining clear benefits from releasing the control over some learning content. This means a shift from the institution centred and monolithic model of traditional virtual learning environments (VLEs) to a more heterogeneous and open model. This article tries to plot an architecture to be put in practice by universities to give learners the control of their learning processes by using eLearning 2.0. We propose an institutionally powered personal learning environment (iPLE) that constitutes our vision of how Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, starting pages), services (del.icio.us, Flickr, YouTube) and people arrangement and data sharing (social networking, learn-streaming) could be applied in an integrated manner to learning processes. First, this article justifies the suitability for a PLE in the context of eLearning 2.0 and European Higher Education Area. Second, an overview of the evolution from VLEs to PLEs is given, and different PLE approaches are reviewed. Third, the concept of an iPLE is presented, and a conceptual architecture for it is detailed. Finally, this article also describes the technological aspects of a prototype of iPLE Network designed for the University of the Basque Country, which will be used as a test-bed for a case study in the Faculty of Medicine.
 
Article
This article explores Web 2.0 in interactive learning environments. Specifically, the article examines Web 2.0 as an interactive learning platform that holds potential, but is also limited by learning styles and cultural value preferences. The article explores the issue of control from both teacher and learner perspectives, and in particular the cultural challenges that impact learner control. From the control perspective, the issue of access to Web 2.0 technologies from both cost affordability and government censorship is also addressed. Finally, the article concludes with implications and recommendations for Web 2.0 learning environments.
 
Basic lay-out of the allocation algorithm 
The client window. 
Article
This paper presents a Web 2.0 approach for the arrangement of peer tutoring in online learning. In online learning environments, the learners’ expectations of obtaining frequent, one-to-one support from their teachers tend to increase the teachers’ workloads to unacceptably high levels. To address this problem of workload a self-organised peer allocation mechanism is proposed for the easy arrangement of instant tutoring by fellow students. The approach is based on a computational model which selects the most appropriate peer from a population of learners. A software prototype has been developed and tested with learners in two different educational settings. The evaluation shows that the use of a self-organising, synchronous peer-allocation system is not self-evident. It may be successful, but context variables have great impact on its functioning. Although the system technically functioned appropriately, students often appeared to use alternative ways for asking for help. In view of its potential for the efficient arrangement of distributed online support recommendations are given for successful appliance of the approach.
 
Article
Berlanga, A. J., García Peñalvo, F., & Sloep, P. B. (2010). Towards eLearning 2.0 University [Guest Editorial special issue]. Interactive Learning Environments, 8(3), 199-201.
 
Article
A social annotation model learning system (SAM-LS) was created using multiple instructional strategies thereby supporting the student in improving in critical thinking, critical writing and related literacy. There are four mechanisms in which the SAM-LS methodology is believed to improve learning and performance. These mechanisms include providing relevant activities such as (1) examples, (2) practice, (3) reflection and (4) collaboration. The Social Annotation Model uses HyLighter, an online annotation system that amalgamates reading and writing, facilitates shared annotation practices and coalesces annotations from multiple reviewers. This article reports on three studies conducted using HyLighter. The purpose of the first study was to determine student perceptions on the benefits and weaknesses of the learning environment, using HyLighter, with a focus on peer critique. The findings indicated that users' experiences were positive and specifically the annotations and tags were useful in a peer critique activity. The second study was a nonexperimental comparative study that looked at students' ability to critically analyze information and reading comprehension using HyLighter in collaborative activities. Initial findings show that working in small collaborative groups may promote deeper thinking through peer interactions. The third study was to determine whether there was a change in reading comprehension, critical thinking and meta-cognition skills from the use of SAM-LS instructional strategies. Results indicate that HyLighter may help students in several areas including enhancing the students' ability to think critically.
 
Article
While the growing prevalence of Web 2.0 in education opens up exciting opportunities for universities to explore expansive, new literacies practices, concomitantly, it presents unique challenges. Many universities are changing from a content delivery paradigm of eLearning 1.0 to a learner-focused paradigm of eLearning 2.0. In this article, we first articulate the paradigmatic differences between eLearning 1.0 and eLearning 2.0 based on technological, social and epistemological dimensions on which we make the case that current social practices of learning in many universities are not keeping up with the possibilities afforded by the Web 2.0 tools. To illustrate our argument, we draw upon our observations of a course in which tertiary students exhibited a traditional, divide-and-conquer disposition while using wikis. There is little in-depth collaboration leading to higher order meaning making or knowledge building among these students. From these observations, we contend that to realize eLearning 2.0, there is a need to change the social-technological infrastructure in universities, and we discuss the various dimensions in which these changes could be implemented.
 
Article
This article examines the potential of mobile computing and Web 2.0 technology to support knowledge building in formal and informal settings. Desktop-based knowledge building tools have limited affordances of supporting one-to-one access, learning in situ, and seamless integration in and out of school environments. In this initial study, we explore how recent advances of mobile and Web 2.0 technologies can be utilized to support seamless knowledge building processes and to enhance contextualized learning experiences across multiple locations. Using design research as a methodological framework, we analyzed current practices and configurations of mobile learning in one primary school in Singapore, and codesigned a learning scenario with teachers toward seamless knowledge building experiences. The artifacts of primary grade 4 students created in the Google Maps space were analyzed to examine the knowledge building processes based on a location-based mobile learning scenario. We conclude by discussing both possibilities and challenges of knowledge building using mobile Web 2.0 technologies based on our early experiences.
 
Article
This paper reflects on the current position of virtual learning environments (VLEs) in universities and speculates about likely future directions for e-learning. Using accepted models of technology innovation and looking at current Web trends, it considers the extent to which e-learning is truly embedded in institutions, how Web 2.0 is being used by the upcoming generation and what this might mean for teachers, learners and higher education institutions. The paper concludes that optimism about the impact of e-learning on higher education based on the market penetration of VLEs is misplaced and suggests that Ivan Illich's concept of learning webs may be a more reliable guide to future developments.
 
Article
This article summarises the key findings from a UK survey of higher education institutions, focusing on the development of technology enhanced learning (TEL). TEL is defined as any online facility or system that directly supports learning and teaching. The 2008 survey builds upon previous UCISA surveys conducted in 2001, 2003 and 2005 and for which at each stage after 2001, a longitudinal analysis was undertaken [see Browne, T., Jenkins, M., & Walker, R. (2006). A longitudinal perspective regarding the use of VLEs by higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. Interactive Learning Environments, 14(2), 177–192]. The findings, confirmed by other studies published since 2005, reveal that ensuring the quality of learning and teaching activities is consolidated as the primary driver for using TEL with a committed local champion representing the highest ranked factor in supporting TEL development within an institution. External strategies have been influential, contributing to the rise to prominence of institutional e-learning strategies. The delivery of course content continues to be the most common way in which TEL is used to support teaching and learning. The tools that have increased in prominence are those for podcasting, e-portfolios, e-assessment, blogs and wikis. Regarding new activities, streaming media, mobile computing, podcasting and Web 2.0 are discernibly the greatest. Upgrading staff skills were overwhelmingly noted as the greatest challenge that these new activities would create, with staff development and supportive strategies being seen as the primary remedies. However, the perception of lack of time was identified as the main barrier that needed to be surmounted. Though much of the data remain subtle, clear identifiable differences continue to be discernible between Pre-92 and Post-92 universities.
 
Article
Recent applications of technology to mathematics education have been designed with cognitive and constructivist theoretical perspectives in mind, viewing mathematical learning as the acquisition of knowledge through the construction of meanings and connections between concepts. With the advent of increasingly flexible communication technologies, there is both the need and opportunity to consider how they might be utilised, particularly since emergent socio-cultural theories advocate learning in mathematics as an inherently social activity where understanding is developed and negotiated collaboratively. The need to examine effective technology-facilitated learning arose in the context of a research project, currently underway in a number of secondary schools in the state of Victoria and funded by the Australian Research Council. It is investigating the learning needs of pupils who are absent from school for prolonged or intermittent periods owing to chronic illness yet continue with their school studies. An emerging understanding of the significant difference between computer-mediated contact for mere information exchange and communication for teaching and learning has led to a consideration of socio-cultural perspectives on effective mathematical learning and a focussed investigation of technologies able to facilitate them. Early data have demonstrated the potential of videoconferencing, online whiteboarding and interactive whiteboard application sharing, but which require particular resources, aligned infrastructure and teacher support. This article explores issues surrounding the use of such technologies for collaborative mathematical learning in a context where online interaction is being considered for the learning support of pupils unable to attend school.
 
Article
This research aims to study how a resource-based learning environment (RBLE) helps primary students develop better understanding of the Earth's movement. One objective of the study is to establish an RBLE by creating authentic contexts, selecting appropriate resources, designing relevant tools and adopting necessary scaffolds. The other objective is to examine the effects of the RBLE on primary students' understanding of the Earth's movement in different classroom settings with varied teaching support levels. Research methodology includes pre-lesson and post-lesson tests to study students' understanding, observation and analysis of lessons to examine the teaching scaffolding employed, interviews and teacher's written reflection after all the lessons to investigate their views of the use of RBLE. The findings indicated that there is an interaction effect between students' academic background and settings of learning, and that the RBLE provides little support to students of low academic background, but is very effective to students of higher academic background helping them to construct an improved understanding of the Earth's movement. The article suggested an integrated use of teacher-regulated inquiry approach and interactive inquiry approach for the better use of the RBLE.
 
Article
The purpose of this study is to examine pre-service teachers' attitudes to computers. This study extends the technology acceptance model (TAM) framework by adding subjective norm, facilitating conditions, and technological complexity as external variables. Results show that the TAM and subjective norm, facilitating conditions, and technological complexity were significant determinants of pre-service attitudes to computer use. A multiple square correlation revealed that the proposed model in this study explained 48.7% of the attitude to computer use. Various contributions to research and practice are discussed.
 
Article
The use of instant messaging to support e-learning will continue to gain importance because of its speed, effectiveness, and low cost. This study developed an MSN agent to mediate and facilitate students' learning in a Web-based course. The students' acceptance of the MSN agent and its effect on learning community identification and learning achievement were investigated using the technology acceptance model. Results indicated that the MSN agent proved easy to use, and that students recognized its benefits with regard to their learning. In more detail, students perceived that the MSN agent would be beneficial to learning community identification, but this perceived usefulness had less effect on their learning achievement. However, it was found that perceived system usage of the MSN agent was significantly related to learning achievement, which differed from the result of analyzing students' perceived usefulness of the agent. Rather than using a systematic recording log, the perceived system usage of the MSN agent was measured through questionnaires. Interview feedback revealed that effective learning was related to the learners' engagement in the MSN agent and not just from their perceived usefulness of it. Therefore, the MSN agent could have more potential to facilitate students' learning in an online environment if learning activities related to study are designed to promote students' engagement.
 
An example of a community of practice for reflective purposes
Inter-rater reliability (Cohen's Kappa) on content analysis posts and comments Weblog contribution Cohen's Kappa
Time investment as perceived by the students
Total number of weblog contributions, average numbers per student/teacher during the internship, and average numbers of contributions per student/teacher per week.
Article
This study examined the use of weblogs as a means to promote student teachers' reflective practice. The assumption was explored that weblogs are suitable tools to support and stimulate reflection on action in teacher training and consequently to enhance the students' ability to reflect. Three groups of student teachers used weblogs to reflect on teaching practice during an 8-week internship. Students were asked (a) to reflect on their own teaching experiences and (b) to provide peer feedback. Analyses of the student contributions show that weblogs are useful for reflection on critical incidents in the classroom and that they can stimulate interconnectivity in groups of students. However, weblogs do not incite deep reflection or spiral reflection, which can only be the result of explicit instruction. This exploratory study further shows that large-scale quantitative research is needed to support the premise that weblogs are suitable tools for reflection.
 
Article
In this article, we present the characteristics and the design of a modular personalized multimedia testing tool based fully on XML learning specifications. Personalization is based on the characteristics of the individual learners, thus the testing paths are tailored to their needs and goals. The system maintains learner profiles rich in content from which diverse information can be elicited and presented to educators to help them understand their learners. At the end of the article, specific use cases are discussed and the educational advantages are discussed on the basis of an evaluative study.
 
Article
Active learning facilitated through interactive and adaptive learning environments differs substantially from traditional instructor-oriented, classroom-based teaching. We present a web-based e-learning environment that integrates knowledge learning and skills training. How these tools are used most effectively is still an open question. We propose knowledge-level interaction and adaptive feedback and guidance as central features. We discuss these features and evaluate the effectiveness of this web-based environment, focusing on different aspects of learning behaviour and tool usage. Motivation, acceptance of the approach, learning organisation and actual tool usage are aspects of behaviour that require different evaluation techniques to be used.
 
Article
An adaptive educational system that uses adaptive presentation is presented. In this system fragments of different images present the same content and the system can choose the one most relevant to the user based on the sequential–global dimension of Felder–Silverman's learning style theory. In order to retrieve the learning style of each student the Felder–Soloman ILS questionnaire is used. A prototype adaptive educational system was developed and pilot tested. Evaluation of the prototype system was based on the USE questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using the results of the ILS questionnaire, as well as using the results of USE questionnaires completed by students in order to evaluate the pilot application of the prototype adaptive educational system. The results of the statistical analysis are presented and conclusions for future development of adaptive educational systems are discussed.
 
Article
This article argues for a flexible model of learning for adults which allows them to make choices and contextualise their learning in a manner appropriate to their own professional practice whilst also developing as a member of a learning community. It presents a design based around online ‘learning activities’ which draws on ideas of constructivism, collaborative learning and reflective practice. The model was developed for adult learning in Higher Education, and has been adapted and extended to a number of different programmes. Implementation of the model for the Teaching Qualification (Further Education) has been the subject of an interpretative evaluation using a multiple methods approach. Learners' experiences of this programme together with issues associated with the application of the model to other programmes are discussed.
 
A (6, 6) partition of the interaction data, with learners as rows and topical discussion threads as columns. The lines forming an irregular grid superimposed in the matrix separate the partitions on each of the two models. 
m-slices for the threads in the network. 
Article
The on-line interaction of learners and tutors in activities with concrete objectives provides a valuable source of data that can be analyzed for different purposes. One of these purposes is the use of the information extracted from that interaction to aid tutors and learners in decision making about the configuration of further learning activities or the filtering of learning resources. This paper explores the use of an affiliation network model for such kind of purposes. Concretely, the use of blockmodelling and the examination of m-slices are explored as tools to decide on the configuration of topics and/or learner groups.
 
A PAMS 2.0 annotation Entity-Relation model.  
PAMS system architecture
Students' online group reading activity with PAMS 2.0.
Examination performance of experiment group vs. counterpart group.
Article
Knowledge sharing in computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) requires intensive social interactions among participants, typically in the form of annotations. An annotation refers to an explicit expression of knowledge that is attached to a document to reveal the conceptual meanings of an annotator's implicit thoughts. In this research, we develop a Semantic Web and Web services-supported multimedia tool to facilitate collaborative annotation sharing in the context of CSCL. Our experimental results demonstrate that our tool can facilitate knowledge sharing and improve participating students' reading comprehension: it helps participants to raise good questions and provide proper answers through the practice of reading, commenting, reviewing, and discussion.
 
Article
The paper proposes a framework for building ontology-aware learning object (LO) content. Previously ontologies were exclusively employed for enriching LOs' metadata. Although such an approach is useful, as it improves retrieval of relevant LOs from LO repositories, it does not enable one to reuse components of a LO, nor to incorporate an explicit specification of domain semantics into the LO content. We propose the use of domain ontologies to annotate LO content as well as content structure ontologies to enable direct access to LOs' components. That way, the same LO can be used in different ways and by different users, that is, it can be repurposed. In order to show the benefits of our proposal we discuss its application in adaptive learning systems. We also explore Semantic Web technologies and tools that are needed to support the presented approach.
 
Characteristics of the 23 analysed courses. Each course has a numeric ID. Active participants include pupils and teachers – some courses had more than one teacher, and some teachers participated in several courses. 
SNA indices that were calculated for the dataset. 
Results of the factor analysis. All loadings of over .30 have been highlighted. 
Correlations between factors and SNA group level indices. Correlations that were caused by outliers were removed after a visual inspection of the distributions. Dichotomous matrices are denoted by (D).
Article
Studying networked learning (NL) by applying social network analysis (SNA) has gained popularity in recent years. However, it appears that in the context of NL the choice of SNA indices is very often dictated by using easily achievable SNA tools. Most studies in this field only involve a single group of students and utilise simple indices, such as density and Freeman's degree centrality. This study uses data collected from 23 groups of pupils and correlates various SNA indices with the pupils' experiences of the learning process, thus identifying SNA indices that actually relate to the experiences of a learning process. The results show that density is not very useful in studying NL, and Freeman's degree centrality is meaningful only in certain cases. Further, the study points out several potentially better suited indices for use in further studies of NL.
 
Article
Students in the vocational schools in Taiwan largely care little about their grades and do not get involved adequately in their schoolwork. To respond effectively to this challenge of teaching, two cases were studied and compared; one is a class using a traditional method of teaching and the other a class deploying innovative teaching methods of blended learning (BL) with web-mediated self-regulated learning (SRL). The effects of combining BL with SRL on developing students' computing skills in applying database management system (DBMS) to solve authentic problems are encouraging. The students in the case of BL with SRL paid positive attention to this newer teaching method and had a statistically higher rate of passing a certification test than those in the traditional class.
 
Conference Paper
Educational robotics involves using robots as an educational tool to provide a long term, and progressive learning activity, to cater to different age group. The current concern is that, using robots in education should not be an instance of a one-off project for the sole purpose of participating in a competitive event. Instead, it should be a sustainable long-term progression spanning the primary school to pre-university level. This article presents a framework for robotics using a multiphase approach to enhance user learning in a competitive arena.
 
Conference Paper
The technique for creating diagnostic tutors for arithmetic has been established for over a decade, but progress towards the creation of an educationally viable system has been disappointingly slow. The SUMIT intelligent teaching assistant for arithmetic was designed explicitly to meet the requirements of classroom arithmetic teaching. Unlike earlier arithmetic tutors, SUMIT is intended to function as a teacher's assistant, rather than a surrogate teacher. It is fully interactive and is able to give adaptive help; to diagnose misconceptions; to generate graded sequences of sums; and to summarise or replay whole user sessions for each of the four rules of number. This paper outlines the design philosophy and the system architecture of the SUMIT system, and it reports two evaluation studies of the classroom effectiveness of the system, demonstrating excellent learning via the use of SUMIT, and a further advantage of the availability of the diagnostic help. It is concluded that construction of intelligent teaching assistants may provide cost-effective and valuable educational resources.
 
Article
Today's technology-enhanced learning practices cater to students and teachers who use many different learning tools and environments and are used to a paradigm of interaction derived from open, ubiquitous, and socially oriented services. In this context, a crucial issue for education systems in general, and for Intelligent Learning Environments (ILEs) in particular, is related to the ability of leveraging these new paradigms for creating, maintaining and sharing the knowledge that these systems embed. This will enable ILEs to benefit from shared information from disparate systems, which is related to learning content and student activities, so that the overall complexity of system development and maintenance would be reduced while at the same time improving the capability of personalization, context-awareness, and interaction. In this article, we investigate how the Social Semantic Web can be leveraged for enabling and easing this process. We first analyze each module of a typical ILE, showing how it can benefit from the Social Semantic Web paradigm and then proceed to investigate how this new paradigm can be leveraged for increasing interactivity level of ILEs.
 
Article
Asking learners standardized questions during performance of a self-directed inductive learning task might be a useful way to complement think aloud protocol data. However, asking questions might also scaffold the learning process and thus influence the exact processes one wants to study. In the study described in this paper two groups of learners performed a computerized self-directed inductive learning task in which they conducted experiments to discover the relations between five independent variables and one dependent variable. In one condition, the learners thought aloud, in the other the learners were asked additional standardized questions pertaining to specific reasoning steps during learning. Measures of learning outcome and learning processes were collected. It appeared that the questions did not influence learning outcome. With respect to learning processes no differences were found, except that learners in the no questioning condition more often repeated experiments. It was concluded that the questions do not seem to threaten the validity of research findings.
 
Article
This study examines the effect of a Web-based portfolio assessment system on the performances of students undertaking project-based learning (PBL). The research targets were 60 students from two grade-8 classes taking senior high school computer courses. The experimental group comprised 30 students, who used the system to perform PBL and assessment in one class. The control group comprised of 30 students who employed conventional assessment for PBL of another class. Experimental results indicate that the system has no significant effect on student achievement, but had a statistically positive effect on self-perceived learning performances. In addition, teacher-assessment and self-assessment of project achievements produced different results.
 
Article
Solving ill-structured problems is regarded as an important learning outcome in education as it allows learners to apply theories learnt into real practice. An asynchronous online discussion, with extended time for reflection, is an appropriate learning environment to engage learners in solving ill-structured problems. However, scaffolds may be needed to support learners in the online discussions. This study explores the effect of online scaffolds in supporting a group of graduate students' ill-structured problem-solving processes in asynchronous online discussions. The results of this study showed that the use of the online scaffolds did not lead to a significant difference in the number of ill-structured problem-solving processes. Further analysis revealed that wrong selection of message labels and under-usage of sentence openers affected the results of this study. Improvements for online scaffolds include having more precise message labels and sentence openers based on Socratic questioning approach.
 
Article
The present study focuses on the use of thinking types as a possible way to structure university students' discourse in asynchronous discussion groups and consequently promote their learning. More specifically, the aim of the study is to determine how requiring students to label their contributions by means of De Bono's (19917. De Bono , E. 1991. Six thinking hats for schools, resource book for adult educators, Logan, IA: USA Perfection Learning. View all references) thinking hats affects the ongoing critical thinking processes reflected in the discussion. The results suggest that tagging thinking types significantly promotes critical thinking in general and the critical thinking processes during problem identification and problem exploration, in particular. More specifically, it appears that requiring students to reflect on the type of thinking in their contributions stimulates more indepth and focused contributions and, more frequent input of new problem-related information and new ideas for discussion.
 
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The discovery or re-construction of scientific explanations and understanding based on experience is a complex process, for which school learning often uses shortcuts. On the basis of the example of analyzing real seismic measurements, we propose a computer-facilitated collaborative learning scenario which meets many of the requirements for authentic learning, knowledge construction, and collaboration. The implementation of the learning environment called SeisModes is based on a general platform for supporting collaborative modeling activities. SeisModes provides a tool to allow students collaboratively learn about earthquakes and thus reduce the fears they might have concerning them. First formal evaluations showed the approach motivates students.
 
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In this article TENCompetence will be presented as a framework for lifelong competence development. More specifically, the relationship between the TENCompetence framework and the IMS Learning Design (LD) specification is explored. LD authoring has proven to be challenging and the toolset currently available is targeting expert users mostly working for institutions of higher educations. Furthermore these tools re-enforce a fairly rigid top-down workflow approach towards design and delivery. This approach it is not always the most suitable model in all circumstances for all practitioners. TENCompetence provides an alternative bottom-up approach to LD authoring via its first implementation: the Personal Competence Manager (PCM). Constructs such as competence profiles and competence development programmes, let users define, modify, and acquire competences they need for achieving their personal goals. We will show how the PCM provides support for these constructs and stimulates the bottom-up development of learning materials. We will also show how these concepts can be mapped towards LD. This allows the ad hoc designs of the PCM to be captured in a unit of learning (UOL). These UOLs can be enhanced and eventually fed back into the PCM, therewith closing the edit cycle. This editing cycle allows for a gradual integration of bottom-up ad hoc designs with more formal top-down designs introducing LD in a gentle fashion.
 
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The aim of this article is to present an approach for generating tests in an automatic way. Although other methods have been already reported in the literature, the proposed approach is based on ontologies, representing both domain and multimedia knowledge. The article also reports on a prototype implementation of this approach, which automatically creates tests using the Semantic Web standard technology OWL (Ontology Web Language) as well as proper annotations of images. The proposed approach is independent of specific domain characteristics, since question items are generated according to generic ontology-based strategies. In the presented prototype implementation, simple natural language generation techniques are used to project the items in the tests.
 
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Using classroom response systems (clickers) to accumulate grade-points has become a controversial practice as response systems have become more widely used in the last decade. Although some instructors opt to use clickers on a non-grades basis, it has become quite common to reward students for (a) correct answers, (b) participating in clicker questions regardless of whether their answer is correct or incorrect, and (c) a combination of participation and correctness. Here, we discuss the appropriateness of using clickers for accumulating grade-points in academia and address two of the most common concerns raised with such practices: technology failure and cheating. The paucity of literature on clicker technology failure suggests that it is more sensationalized than real. Cheating remains a real issue, but can be minimized by educating students about clicker-related cheating policies and by staying away from high-stakes clicker-based testing. Research and expert opinion leads us to believe that the appropriateness of using clickers for accumulating grades depends on how they are used. We recommend rewarding students for giving correct answers or for participating in high-value constructivist learning activities. Rewarding students with participation grade-points for incorrect answers to trivia-style or simple-factual questions should be avoided because it primarily serves to reward students for their attendance in class.
 
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There have been a number of frameworks and models developed to support different aspects of interactive learning. Some were developed to deal with course design through the application of authoring tools, whereas others such as conversational, advisory, and ontology-based systems were used in virtual classrooms to improve and support collaborative activities. Although these methodologies have brought new processes and practices to interactive learning systems, current applications have not fully capitalized on the rising power of social computing to discover and explore the wealth of social-based information derived from the communities of practice that are formed. This article presents a comprehensive social computing framework for web-based learning environments that aims at representing a systematic means of acquiring, sharing, and using relationships effectively within an interactive learning environment so that participants can use them to create opportunities to work cooperatively in learning communities with other students. The proposed framework integrates several aspects of those relations into a decision-making criteria engine that is based on social networks and reputation systems. A description of the proposed methodology and its implementation are presented along with an example application. This research is expected to assist participants of online learning classrooms to make decisions that facilitate the exploration and discovery of co-learners while promoting increased awareness of the virtual classroom structure and information exposure given by their social presence.
 
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Because learning English is extremely popular in non-native English speaking countries, developing modern assisted-learning schemes that facilitate effective English learning is a critical issue in English-language education. Vocabulary learning is vital within English learning because vocabulary comprises the basic building blocks of English sentences. Therefore, numerous studies have attempted to increase the efficiency and performance of learning English vocabulary. ‘The situational learning approach’ proposed that ‘context’ is an important consideration in the language learning process and can enhance learner learning interest and efficiency. Restated, meaningful vocabulary learning occurs only when the learning process is integrated with social, cultural and life contexts. With the rapid development of context-awareness techniques, the development of context-aware mobile learning systems, which can support learners in learning without constraints of time or place via mobile devices and associate learning activities with real learning environment, enables the conduct of a novel context-aware ubiquitous learning mode to enhance English vocabulary learning. Accordingly, this study proposes a personalised context-aware ubiquitous learning system (PCULS) for learning English vocabulary based on learner location as detected by wireless positioning techniques, learning time, individual English vocabulary abilities and leisure time, enabling learners to adapt their learning content to effectively support English vocabulary learning in a school environment. Experimental results indicated that the accuracy of the employed wireless positioning scheme is over 92%, which is sufficient to help learners detect their locations. Additionally, the PCULS has been successfully implemented on PDA devices in a school environment to support effective situational English vocabulary learning. Experimental result indicates that the learning performance of learners who used personalised English vocabulary learning systems with context awareness (i.e. PCULS) was superior to learners who used personalised English vocabulary learning systems without context awareness.
 
Top-cited authors
Timothy Teo
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Gwo-Jen Hwang
  • National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
Olasile Babatunde Adedoyin
  • Near East University
Emrah Soykan
  • Cengiz Topel Industrial Vocational School
Chih-Ming Chen
  • National Chengchi University