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14
mends learning services to the learner. It
may also provide evaluation or reputation
and rating data from the experiences of
previous learners.When it comes to the
selection of learning services, the PLA
supports the confirmation of the selection
decision with the user's line managers and
human resource developers before boo-
king or contracting the specific learning
service. It may even check the knowledge
transfer after a learning service has been
consumed to help assess the effectiveness
of a certain service. Finally the PLA keeps
track of decisions, recommendations and
successful/failed cases and feeds this infor-
mation back into future recommendations.
A
similar scenario can be envisaged
for the individual learner, outside
the corporate setting.Any user can
enter the Smart Space for learning by regi-
stering at the PLA using a normal Web
browser.Thus, a user might be interested in
ancient history, but does not want to
embark on a full university degree. He pre-
fers to enter the Smart Space for Learning
using the PLA to find courses that cover
specifically what he wants to learn and that
meet his preferences.
A
lthough the Internet offers a
variety of learning resources, it is
often very difficult and cumber-
some for the user to identify and select
appropriate learning services such as cour-
ses, seminars,Web-based training applica-
tions or learning material including, for
example, specific cultural objects. A
restricted overview and lack of informa-
tion about the quality and reputation of a
specific learning service or material redu-
ces the choice among the variety of
heterogeneous learning services, and the
search and selection process is a very
time-consuming task for users.
D
riven by these currently existing
drawbacks, the Elena project
(http://www.elena-project.org/)
aims at increasing the effectiveness of the
learning management process by develo-
ping open and intelligent tools for the
realisation of `Smart Spaces for Learning'.
In a Smart Space for Learning each user
has his/her own electronic avatar called the
`Personal Learning Assistant' (PLA).This
PLA is capable of querying an open net-
work for learner-specific learning services,
giving individual recommendations accor-
ding to the user's profile and even contrac-
ting the learning service for the user.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A
s a first concrete use case we have
been focusing on Smart Space for
Learning users from the work
force in companies. A corporate learner
registers at the Personal Learning Assistant
(PLA); using the PLA she defines her pre-
ferences and background and registers for
courses or any other alternative learning
activity or learning material.The PLA sup-
ports the search for learning services in a
variety of sources and frequently recom-
C
R E AT I N G
S
M A RT
S
PAC E F O R
L
E A R N I N G
B
Y
P
ETER
D
OLOG
(L
EARNING
L
AB
L
OWER
S
AXONY
, U
NIVERSITY OF
H
ANNOVER
, G
ERMANY
), B
ARBARA
K
IESLINGER
(C
ENTRE FOR
S
OCIAL
I
NNOVATION
, A
USTRIA
), Z
OLTÁN
M
IKLÓS
(D
EPT OF
I
NFORMATION
S
YSTEMS
, V
IENNA
U
NIVERSITY OF
E
CONOMICS
, A
USTRIA
), D
ANIEL
O
LMEDILLA
(L
EARNING
L
AB
), B
ERND
S
IMON
(D
EPT OF
I
NFORMATION
S
YSTEMS
)
Elena Personal Learning Assistant
© Elena Pr
oject,
2004,
www
.elena-pr
oject.org
© Elena Pr
oject,
2004,
www
.elena-pr
oject.org