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Semantic Web for Educational Hypermedia and Standards for Interoperability of PES

learning content ontology subject

Learning technologies standardization helps to increase the integration, usability and reusability of heterogeneous systems for education. Many professional organizations and institutions have contributed towards such standardization efforts to strengthen the process of delivering educational services, to define learning data and metadata as well as recommendations for the development of software architectures devoted to computer-based education. One of the main contributors to this effort is the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) Learning Objects Metadata (LOM) working group.

The LOM specification (http://ltsc.ieee.org/doc/wgl2/LOM_WD4.PDF) describes learning content cataloguing information. This specification is the result of the effort of many contributors. The European ARIADNE project uses LOM for indexing and exploiting its network of interconnected knowledge pools (KPS) and the IMS project provides the IMS Learning Resources Metadata Specifications which would be incorporated into the IEEE specifications. Apart from the learning metadata definition studies, the description of learner profiles and records course structure formats, course packaging, questions and tests interoperability , learning architectures and run time environments, have also been investigated with a view to provide recommendations and specifications to enhance interoperability between different educational platforms.

In order for PES to effectively search and make use of the vast amount of potential learning resources that exist in the Web, it exploits the Semantic Web and the development of appropriate ontology for education hypermedia for various subject domains so that content and its inherent educational values can be understood, shared and used across educational platforms. For hypermedia content description, extensible MarkupLanguage (XML) allows users to add arbitrary structure to their documents, the meaning of the structure is expressed by Resource Description Framework (RDF), which encodes it insets of triples, each triple being rather like the subject, verb and object of an elementary sentence. These triples can be written using XML tags. Subject and object are each identified by a Universal Resource Identifier (URI), just as used in a link on a Web page. (URLs, Uniform Resource Locators, are the most common type of URI.) In order to handle theproblem between two different education platforms that use different identifiers for what is infact the same concept, Semantic Web provides a basic component – Ontology. Ideally, an ontology helps a system to discover the common meanings in a subject domain. A typical kind of ontology for the Web consists of taxonomy and a set of inference rules. The taxonomy defines classes of objects and relations among them. For example, English may be defined as a type of subjects, andtopic codes may be defined to apply only to subject, and so on. Classes, subclasses andr elations among entities are a very powerful tool for Web use. A recent development in this area is a set of ontology for high school subjects, e.g. EduOnto. The emergence of ontology for educational content allows educational content available on the Web to be searched and identified effectively for specific subject domains and for meeting specific learning goals.

One of the outcome of a personalized education system is an individualized learning plan that specsifies the sequence for which a set of learning materials should be studied by a learner inorder to achieve his/her learning goal or objective. The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), first proposed by The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative is an emerging standard for sharing and defining learning sequence of educational multimedia content. (Link to SCORM, T Shih). By adhering to such standards and making use of the ontology defined for various subject domains, PES is not only able to search and reuse educational multimedia content generated from desperate sources from the Web, its personalized output such as a plan of individualized learning sequence would also be(re-)used by different educational platforms.


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