ECHO: A Layered Model for the Design of a Context-Aware Learning Experience

ECHO: A Layered Model for the Design of a Context-Aware Learning Experience

Hadas Weinberger (HIT – Holon Institute of Technology, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-384-5.ch030
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In this chapter, we suggest Echo, a model for utilizing Web technologies for the design of Web-based context-aware learning. Web technologies are continuously evolving to enhance information retrieval, semantic annotation, social interactions, and interactive experiences. However, these technologies do not offer a methodological approach to learning. In this chapter, we offer a new approach to Web-based learning, which considers the role of the user in shaping the learning experience. The key feature in Echo is the analysis and modeling of content for the design of a Web-based learning experience in context. There are three elements in Echo: 1) a methodology to guide the learning process, 2) techniques to support content analysis and modeling activities, and 3) a three-layered framework of social-semantic software. Incorporating this framework facilitates knowledge organization and representation. We describe our model, the methodology, and the three-layered framework. We then present preliminary results from on-going empirical research that demonstrates the feasibility of Echo and its usefulness for the design of a context-aware learning experience. Finally, we discuss the usefulness of Echo and its contribution to further research in the field of Web technologies.
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Web-based learning is a multifaceted phenomenon informed by a spectrum of theories. Theories of communication (Alavi & Leidner, 2001; Rafaeli & Raban, 2005; Te’eni, 2001) eLearning (Al-Kahlifa & Davies, 2007; Paavola et al., 2004; Parameswaran & Whinston, 2007; Schmidt, 2005; Schmidt, 2008; Tzitzikas et al., 2006) and eLearning 2.0 (Downes, 2005; Ebner, 2007; O`Hear, 2006) guide the design of the learning processes and media integration. Theories of knowledge management (Grace & Butler, 2005; Nonaka & Tekeuchi, 1995), information science (Hjorland, 1997; Latham, 2002; Muresan & Harper, 2004), information retrieval (Feng et al., 2005), organizational memory (Weinberger et al., 2008b) and organizational learning (Argrys & Scon, 1978; Paavola et al., 2004; Weiling, 2006) inform the management of content related aspects. Other research contributions have taken the technology perspective (Ebner et al., 2007; Schmidt, 2008) or focused on specific media (Abel et al., 2004; Bao et al., 2007; Hotho et al., 2006b, Javanovic et al., 2007) to inform the design of learning activities. What is yet lacking is a comprehensive and systematic model of systems and practices for the design of Web-based learning.

In this chapter we define Web-based learning as the manipulation of a set of content analysis techniques aiming to establish a conceptual model of a task specific domain. This definition indicates that the learner is responsible for constructing the learning process in context. Context awareness and the design of a conceptual model are essential to this process since without context the learning experience would be meaningless.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Object: Domain-specific or task specific knowledge aggregated using social-semantic software that is the result of individual or collaborative learning.

ECHO: A model for the design of a three-layered framework that is guiding context-aware learning experience on the Web.

Content Analysis: Applying a series of techniques for the identification of core concepts in a subject domain as basis for of domain modeling. This could be done using KOS methods as well as facet analysis and genre-based classification.

Social-Semantic Software: Applications that are designed to enable the development, maintenance and evolution of semantically enabled collaborative knowledge management, such as: Bookmark management system, Folksonomy, concept map, ontology and Mashup; also known as web 2.0 tools or Web 3.0 social-semantic technologies.

Mashup: Web application hybrid, is an architecture using AJAX (Asynchronous Java Script and XML) allowing the integration of different content types of various digital genres

Folksonomy and Ontology: KOS can be applied independently (logically) or as part of social-media software.

Web-Based Learning: The manipulation of a set of content analysis techniques aiming to establish a conceptual model of a task specific domain.

Action Research: IS research paradigm encouraging participation between researchers and participants.

Context-Aware Learning: Establishing learning based on descriptive or prescriptive representation of a subject domain.

Knowledge Organization System (KOS): a means for knowledge management and knowledge representation by specific method, such as: thesaurus, Taxonomy,

Ontology: Structured representation of conceptual model.

Conceptual Design: Modeling (i.e., using content analysis methods) of information knowledge in a subject domain (e.g., using folksonomy, concept map or ontology) and its structuring in a more formal approach.

Organizational Memory: The memory of an organization.

Metadata: Data assigned for the description of information and knowledge. Social-semantic software uses several types of metadata such as: tags, labels, folders and tags.

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