Visual Knowledge Modeling for Semantic Web Technologies: Models and Ontologies

Visual Knowledge Modeling for Semantic Web Technologies: Models and Ontologies

Gilbert Paquette (LICEF Research Center, Canada)
Indexed In: SCOPUS
Release Date: June, 2010|Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 494
ISBN13: 9781615208395|ISBN10: 1615208399|EISBN13: 9781615208401|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-839-5


How can we make the Web more useful, more intelligent, and more knowledge intensive to fulfill our demanding learning and working needs?

Visual Knowledge Modeling for Semantic Web Technologies: Models and Ontologies aims to make visual knowledge modeling available to individuals as an intellectual method and a set of tools at different levels of formalization. It aims to provide to its readers a simple, yet powerful visual language to structure their thoughts, analyze information, transform it to personal knowledge, and communicate information to support knowledge acquisition in collaborative activities.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Modeling competencies
  • Modeling for knowledge management
  • Modeling for learning
  • Modeling for research and communication
  • Modeling for tools and environments specification
  • Modeling multi-actor activity scenarios
  • Modeling tools and techniques
  • Representing knowledge
  • Visual modeling in practice
  • Visual ontology modeling and the Semantic Web

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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This book is the result of a research program that I have led at the LICEF research Center of Télé-université since 1992. Télé-université is the oldest distance university in Canada, founded in 1972.

Learning and Teaching at a distance implies a very different context than in a Campus university, even though knowledge modeling is central in both cases, as in any educational or knowledge management situation. In distance learning, teachers and learners are not in a classroom at the same time. They interact in a Virtual Campus supported by information and communication technology. This implies that the courses must be carefully planned for autonomous study by the learner, and for networked interactions between learners and trainers or professors. On the professors’ side, while keeping the general responsibility on the quality of learning, the teaching activities are shared with education professionals, media and technology specialists, and the tutors that interact directly with the learners. There are multiple interactions between these actors in three main processes: design, where courses and programs are conceived and planned; production where the learning material and environments are produced, and the delivery of these environments where learning take place.

The research program at LICEF has been influenced by this challenging context. Modeling is the central idea that provided the backbone of our research and application activities. Modeling multi-actor processes was necessary both to describe the flow of the activities between actors involved in design and production of on-line courses before learning occurs, as well as to define the learning processes themselves. These are seen also as multi-actor processes where learners achieve learning task supported by the learning material and the interaction with tutors, facilitators and peer learners. An instructional engineering method was build by modeling these processes, supported by a first visual modeling tool built by us at the beginning of the nineties. Modeling also proved critical to organize knowledge acquisition goals in the form of competencies, both to plan the activities and the design of the learning environments. Finally knowledge construction and competency acquisition was seen also as a learner’s activity to be supported also by friendly visual modeling tools.

We soon found out that these tools and methods were useful outside the context of universities. Early in the nineties, we started interacting with large companies and professional organizations that were seeking similar approaches, most of the time in blended learning contexts involving some classroom activities, but mostly training outside the classroom. Our first projects were achieved in partnership with the DMR group, a large software consulting company, where we built a courseware support system integrating a visual modeling tool, and the Bank of Montreal, where our method and modeling tools served to design a training program for the personnel involved in a new set of banking services.

Later on, we interacted with 6 technology-based companies in the Multimedia Telecommunication project, with 7 laboratories in French Campus Universities within the HyperGuide-Recto project, and also with a large set of Canadian universities and companies grouped in the TeleLearning National Centers of Excellence (TL-NCE). We have also been leading the eduSource integration project on learning object repositories and worked on two projects with professional organizations to help them build knowledge-based competency profile and use it to orient a training program. The visual modeling tools have been translated in foreign languages and used in some European and Latin American countries.

More recently, in the last six years, we extended the generality of the Visual Modeling tools and methods to knowledge management and the Semantic Web, mainly through the LORNET research network that was led by the author and heavily founded by the Canadian Government.

Internationally, since the beginning of the century, an increasing number of organizations had recognized the importance of learning technologies and knowledge management in organization. This new awareness resulted in attempts to identify, structure, organize, and sustain knowledge by reengineering professional processes for work and training, supported by the increasingly ubiquitous online technologies. At the same time, an important international movement started to elaborate eLearning standards that would enable users from all over the world to interoperate and reuse computerized resources, “learning objects” or “knowledge objects” available in “learning object repositories” distributed on World Wide Web. Both these major movements converged and integrated another pervading trend, the construction of the next Web generation, the “Semantic Web”, where knowledge models in the form of ontologies are the central element. These important international trends formed the core of the LORNET Research Program. They provided guidance to specify, structure and organize the scope, the goals, the objectives and the themes of the research program.

At the moment I write this book, we are involved in a three year project with Hydro-Quebec, a large public utility company, where we participate in building a knowledge management system based on the tools and methods developed in the LORNET network. We are also using visual knowledge modeling in other contexts such as a the Canada School of Public Services, or representing knowledge for a group of small manufacturing companies, as well as planning and support environment stages for young students. We also continue to apply Visual Modeling in our own teaching and research activities where we use knowledge and ontology modeling intensively.

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Gilbert Paquette holds a Ph.D from the Université du Maine (FRANCE) in Artificial Intelligence and Education. Researcher at the Center for Interuniversity Research on Telelearning Applications, (CIRTA-LICEF) he has founded in 1992, Gilbert Paquette holds a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive and Educational Engineering, has acted as the Scientific Director of the LORNET Canadian research network and is a professor at Télé-université du Québec in Montreal. In 2007, he has received an Honoris Causa Doctorate from the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). He has pioneered strategic projects in the field of knowledge-based systems, instructional engineering and distance education. Recent publications include three books on technology-based learning. He has given invited conferences in many parts of the world and sits on the scientific committee for six Journals, three in France, one in the US and two in Canada. He is “fellow” of the World Technology Network, a group of international experts. He represents Canada on the Globe consortium on learning objects and sits on the scientific committee of the European networks TENCompetence and Share-TEC. He has also founded two companies and has acted as Minister for Science and Technology in the Quebec Government (1982-1984).