The Project Background
The rapidly changing world and the advent of the Information Society with the continuous change of working conditions and the evolution of information and communication technologies boost the needs for updating people’s knowledge and skills. Current approaches to Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) are fundamentally based on providing a learner with appropriate learning content. In the current Learning Management Systems the allocation of learning resources is done at design-time, relying on expertises of the institutional designer only, and there are not much capabilities to reuse existing blocks. Authoring of adaptive content, realised to some extent in the so-called Learning Content Management Systems, is one of the most important and labour-intensive activities in the modern TEL practice. Traditionally it relies on the design of a fine-grained domain model and careful indexing of various learning objects (LO) with multiple domain concepts.
A possible approach to increase the effectiveness of preparation and use of adaptable learning content is to change the data- and metadata-based paradigm to a dynamic service-oriented approach based on Semantic Web Service (SWS) technologies. Our project follows this idea of providing the learner with a dynamic supply of appropriate functionalities in order to enable a dynamic adaptation to the learning context at runtime of a learning process. By describing a learning process semantically as a composition of learning goals independent from any metadata standard, a learning process model can be mapped to different standards to achieve their compliancy.
At the moment the practical application of SWS technologies is still rather restricted due to several reasons, some of which are:
- The high complexity of both OWL-S and WSMO.
- The lack of standard domain ontologies and unavailability of mature tools supporting WSMO or OWL-S, and
- The absence of pilot applications focusing on every-day needs of consumers, citizens, industry etc., which can demonstrate the benefits of using semantics.
The IST FP-6 research project INFRAWEBS that was successfully completed in the beginning of 2007 and in which Institute of Information Technologies – BAS was a leading R&D partner, proposed a technology-oriented step for overcoming some of the above-mentioned problems. The INFRAWEBS has been recognized as one of the first frameworks for semantic service engineering that covers the whole SWS life-cycle and allows creation of complex semantically-enabled applications.
Some members of the Project team are currently involved in the IST FP-6 project LOGOS, which aims at design and implementation of a platform for eLearning on demand in different domains and diverse delivery channels (Internet, digital TV, mobile devices). After successful evaluation of the LOGOS results from the first two years now the project is in its last phase of extensive experimentation and valorization in several countries, using the feedback for improving and enhancing its solutions.
Main subsystem of this platform is the Authoring studio for creation of learning materials from existing digital repositories, which multilevel architecture is based on hierarchical data models, international metadata standards (METS, MPEG7, LOM) and domain ontologies.
Based on the lessons learnt from both INFRAWEBS and LOGOS projects the current project will develop more mass-user-centred and user-friendly approach and tools to facilitate learning content creation.