Interaction of Knowledge Spirals to Create Ontologies for An Institutional Repository of Educational Innovation Best Practices

Interaction of Knowledge Spirals to Create Ontologies for An Institutional Repository of Educational Innovation Best Practices

María Luisa Sein-Echaluce (Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain), Ana Rosa Abadía-Valle (University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain), Concepción Bueno-García (University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain) and Ángel Fidalgo-Blanco (Laboratory of Innovation in Information Technologies, Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/IJHCITP.2017040105
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Abstract

Previous studies have shown the usefulness of ontologies in the creation, consolidation, distribution and combination of new knowledge in the field of educational innovation to obtain a continuous flow of knowledge between individuals and organizations. In this paper, some phases of Nonaka's epistemological and ontological spirals are modified, and a layer to interact between them is added to create an ontology for a specific organization of higher education. The proposed model allows the classification of educational innovation best practices and encourages their transference into the organization through a knowledge management system developed in previous works. The proposed ontology is validated through a descriptive study. This allows a comparison of the different points of view of the authors of the best practices and those of an expert team, all involved in the knowledge spirals. This paper offers an ontology to classify educational innovation best practices and facilitate the search for these and their subsequent application in other contexts.
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1. Introduction

The fundamental basis of European education policy, from the Berlin summit in 2000, is the knowledge triangle formed by education, research and innovation. In today's society, education is the main tool for research and innovation (Koutras & Bottis, 2013).

Innovation is one of the indicators used to establish the rankings of the best universities worldwide in their central missions—teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook (Times Higher Education, 2016).

The OECD defines innovation “as the introduction of new or significantly improved products, processes, organisation or marketing methods” in a study based on surveys of university graduates five years after graduation to identify characteristics of their work as well as their level of innovation and their organizations. Hence it was concluded that the education sector includes a higher proportion of jobs involving innovation than most sectors, even above manufacturing. There are also significant differences in favour of higher education with respect to other (primary and secondary) education levels. According to this metric, higher education is one of the most innovative sectors (OECD, 2014).

The identification of and access to the different types of knowledge are generated by an organization to improve the performance benefits thereof (Boh, 2014). But for an organization or institution, such as a university, to incorporate the knowledge created by itself into usual practice, it is necessary, but not sufficient, to distribute and apply that knowledge (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995).

In this sense, universities are promoting the development of educational innovation projects (hereinafter EIP) generally through ad hoc requests and attempts to distribute the knowledge generated by the best practices of educational innovation. Universities also often store them in institutional repositories in which they are the subject of numerous studies in general and particular contexts (Wu, Gordon & Fan 2010; Krishnamurthy & Kemparaju, 2011; Abadal, 2012; Fernández-Pampillón, Domínguez & Armas, 2013).

Institutional repositories play an important role in education policies in higher education, because they are a gateway to knowledge. Anuradha (2005) states that institutional repositories are digital collections that assemble, manage and keep academic works created by members of individual institutions. Lynch (2003) adds that such repositories are essential for the appropriated long-term conservation of these materials as well as their organization and access or distribution.

In this sense, Koutras and Bottis (2013) state:

Institutional repositories should aim at specific targets in order to work efficiently. Therefore, institutional repositories, as an innovative model of knowledge dissemination, reform the whole educational framework on research methods, information management and education alike. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to keep a rational eye on all processes, stakeholders and governmental decisions about educational politics. Definitely, effective interaction is a crucial as regards education politics with great efficiency.

However, some studies show that teachers often do not use institutional repositories; instead, open courses, social networks and conferences are the most consulted resources to gain information about other experiences (Fidalgo-Blanco, Sein-Echaluce & García-Peñalvo, 2015b). This is because the usual way to classify contents in repositories only fulfils objective criteria such as format, area or type of publication (Anuradha, 2005).

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