A Petri Net Model for Analysing E-Learning and Learning Difficulties

A Petri Net Model for Analysing E-Learning and Learning Difficulties

Tas Adam (Victoria University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/jantti.2011100102
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Petri Nets are tools for the modelling and analysis of the behaviour of systems and analysis of the Petri Net can then reveal important information about the structure and dynamic behaviour of the modelled system. In this article, the author argues that Petri Net concepts (when used qualitatively) are not fundamentally different from those of ANT. For example, the ‘places’ from Petri Nets bear a strong resemblance to the actors in ANT, and the ‘triggers’ or ‘transitions’, are somewhat analogous to ANT’s translations. In modelling, places represent conditions and transitions represent events. Tokens may model the resources or data items that are associated with a place or places. The original research that this article is based on was undertaken using an actor-network framework to develop a model for e-Learning for students with Learning Difficulties. This article explores the qualitative use of Petri Nets to supplement this ANT treatment.
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Socio-Technical Research On Students With Learning Difficulties (Ld)

Students with Learning Difficulties (LD) are catered for in Australia in both ‘main stream’ schools and in Special Schools. There are over 100 ‘Special Needs’ Schools in Victoria and over 1,200 in Australia to provide education for students with various learning difficulties (learning difficulties/disabilities of general nature, intellectual or physical) that fall into several categories ranging from mild to physical and severe learning difficulties. Table 1 shows the various categories of LD that can be found in the directory of special needs schools.

Table 1.
Summary of special needs categories (adapated from Australian Schools Directory, 2011)
Special Need Category
General DisabilitiesIntellectual Disabilities/Autism
Hearing ImpairedLearning Difficulties
English LearningModerate to High Needs
Distance EducationMultiple Disabilities
AutisticPhysical Disabilities
Emotional BehaviourSpeech / Language Disorders
High NeedsVision Impaired
Intellectual DisabilitiesYoung Mothers

A useful definition of LD comes from the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC) who defines LD as:

“A number of disorders which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. As such, learning disabilities are distinct from global intellectual deficiency” (Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, 2002).

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