Learning with an active e-course in the Knowledge Grid environment

Hai Zhuge, Yanyan Li
2006 Concurrency and Computation  
An active e-course is an open, self-representable and self-organizable media mechanism. Its kernel idea is to organize learning materials in a concept space rather than in a page space. The tailored content and flexible structure of the e-courses can be dynamically formed to cater for different learners with different backgrounds, capabilities and expectations, at different times and venues. The active e-course can also assess learners' learning performances and give appropriate suggestions to
more » ... uide them in further learning. An authoring tool for constructing course ontology and a system prototype have been developed to support an active e-course, enabling a learner-centred, highly interactive and adaptive learning approach. The results of an empirical study show that the system can help enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of learning. 334 H. ZHUGE AND Y. LI creating their own knowledge. Thus, the learners feel inactive and often drop off, so learning efficiency and learning outcome are relatively low. The literature in education research suggests that learners who are actively engaged in the learning process will be more likely to achieve success [1] [2] [3] [4] . So, how to motivate learners to actively learn knowledge becomes an important issue with respect to Web-based learning. The approach of constructivist learning process has its emphasis on engaging learners in the learning process, which encourages free exploration of the learning materials and enables a greater level of interactivity. So far, a number of research teams have implemented different kinds of Web-based education systems to support learner-centered, interactive and active learning. The Web is used not only as a delivery medium but also to foster free exploration of learning materials and to allow the learners to interact with materials, instructors as well as other learners. Almost all of the systems fall into one of two categories: intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) and adaptive hypermedia systems. The goal of various ITSs is to use the knowledge about the domain, the learner and about teaching strategies to support flexible individualized learning and tutoring. Examples are DCG [5] and ELM-ART-II [6]. Adaptive hypermedia systems aim to adapt the content and links of hypermedia pages to the learners, such as AHA [7], InterBook [8] and Hypadapter [9]. The current Web is challenged by complex, intelligent, geographically dispersed and heterogeneousresource-based applications. The Semantic Web (http://www.semanticweb.org) is an effort towards the next-generation Web by using markup languages and building ontology mechanisms. The Grid (http://www.gridforum.org) is used to share, manage, coordinate and control distributed computing resources, which could be machines, networks, data and any types of devices. The ideal of the Grid is that any compatible device could be plugged in anywhere on the Grid and be guaranteed the required services regardless of their locations, just as in the power grid. The Semantic Grid (http://www.semanticgrid.org) is used to absorb the advantages of the Semantic Web and the Grid. The next-generation Web will provide the ideal support to realize complex, intelligent, geographically dispersed and heterogeneous-resource-based applications. The Knowledge Grid (http://www.knowledgegrid.net) is an intelligent and sustainable Internet application environment that enables people and roles to effectively capture, publish, share and manage explicit knowledge resources. It also provides on-demand services to support innovation, cooperative teamwork, problem-solving and decision-making. It incorporates epistemology and ontology to reflect human cognition characteristics; exploits social, ecological and economic principles; and adopts the techniques and standards developed during work toward the next-generation Web [10]. It will be an ideal support platform to realize effective cooperation and learning across regions and cultures. By incorporating the intelligent agent and adaptive hypermedia technologies, this paper proposes an active e-course mechanism that focuses on the dynamic organization of learning materials with various semantic links to better support the learner-centered, highly interactive and adaptive learning approach. By separating the concept structure from the learning materials, the generic knowledge structure can be reused by a wide range of people to easily develop educational systems for different domains, and the maintaining and indexing of the learning materials become easier and more flexible. In addition to the authoring assistance provided to the instructors, the e-course effectively supports learners in active study with pleasant interaction facilities, dynamically organizes and provides adaptive learning content, automatically evaluates the learners' learning performances and gives appropriate suggestions.
doi:10.1002/cpe.941 fatcat:davrh5f5ojfuth5s5aw5i4mto4