On the Convergence of Formal Ontologies and Standardized E-Learning

On the Convergence of Formal Ontologies and Standardized E-Learning

Miguel-Ángel Sicilia (University of Alcala, Spain) and Elena García Barriocanal (University of Alcala, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-935-9.ch279
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Current efforts to standardize e-learning resources are centered on the notion of a learning object as a piece of content that can be reused in diverse educational contexts. Several specifications for the description of learning objects — converging in the LOM standard — have appeared in recent years, providing a common foundation for interoperability and shared semantics. At the same time, the Semantic Web vision has resulted in a number of technologies grounded in the availability of shared, consensual knowledge representations called ontologies. As proposed by several authors, ontologies can be used to provide a richer, logics-based framework for the expression of learning object metadata, resulting in the convergence of both streams of research towards a common objective. In this article, we address the practicalities of the representation of LOM metadata instances into formal ontologies, discussing the main technical and organizational issues that must be addressed for an effective integration of both technologies, and sketching some illustrative examples using modern ontology languages and a large knowledge base.

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