Integrated Multi-Agent-Based eLearning System as a Strategy to Promote Access to Higher Education in Africa

Integrated Multi-Agent-Based eLearning System as a Strategy to Promote Access to Higher Education in Africa

Geoffrey Nafukho Omulayi (Kenya School of Government, Kenya) and Peter Barasa Wawire (Kenya School of Government, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8170-5.ch016
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Abstract

In this chapter, the authors present the integrated multi-agent-based eLearning system as a strategy to promote access to higher education in Africa. The integrated multi-agent eLearning system breaks through the traditional barriers of time, location, and the cost of delivering educational content. The power of the Internet in an educational context has always been that it simplifies access to content and contact with the experts. An agent-oriented methodology is used in this chapter to demonstrate how multi-agents can help to design an eLearning system. This integrated multi-agent-based eLearning system brings in merits of portability, convenience, collaboration, instant response, and multi-literacies, and provides solutions in cases where expertise is distributed all over Africa. Given the rising population in Africa and scarcity of qualified professors in higher education, the best strategy is to implement the designed eLearning system to help support the learning processes in higher education institutions.
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Background

In this chapter, the authors focus on the design of a multi-agent systems model, where the components involved in eLearning scenario are intelligent and can reactively and proactively participate in facilitating learning in higher education in Africa (Wooldridge, Jennings, & Kinny, 2000). An agent-oriented methodology –Prometheus- is used in the analysis and design of the integrated multi-agent based eLearning System (Wooldridge, Jennings, & Kinny, 2000). The overall solution to the integrated multi-agent based eLearning system is the settlement resulting from communications and negotiations of individual agents in the eLearning process. This is a multi-agent scenario. It is important to note that several researchers are still working on the design and utilization of eLearning system designs to make its performance better. Multi-agent systems are interesting in their own right. It is interesting to reflect on how they will change software development approaches in the near future. The use of multi-agent systems in an area such as eLearning presents good opportunity to gain insight into their architecture and also use them to solve educational and training problems facing the continent of Africa.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Artificial Intelligence: Study that attempts to made to make computers that think and act like human beings that is building rational agents (Russel & Novig, 1995 AU106: The in-text citation "Russel & Novig, 1995" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Agent: Component of software or hardware which is capable of acting exactingly in order to accomplish tasks on behalf of its user. Examples will include software such as Internet Search Engines, Robots, etc. (Nwana, 1996) AU105: The in-text citation "Nwana (1996)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. .

Information and Communications Learning Technology (ICT): These refer to computer and telephonic meaning from some object or process, technologies, usually working in a following manner which allows a demonstrable integrated mode.

Multi-Agent Systems: A system that consists of a number of agents which interact with one another usually through cooperation, competition, coordination or negotiation (Wooldridge, 2002 AU107: The in-text citation "Wooldridge, 2002" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

E-Learning: Used to refer to educational processes that utilize information and communications technology to mediate asynchronous as well as synchronous learning and teaching activities.

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