background image
by immediate provision of an appropriate
learning service needed in a particular con-
text.
S
uch a personalised view on the con-
cept of space creates a notion of Smart
Space for Learning.A space that has
been created by connecting various know-
ledge resources adapts itself to the individual
learner through a personalised view.This
personalised view then adjusts itself with
each change in the learner profile, context
and individual user demand.
T
o find out more about Smart
Spaces for Learning, visit the
ELENA project at
http://www.elena-project.org/
(http://edutella.jxta.org/), educational nodes
such as those mentioned above can connect
instantaneously to the network and provide
their resources. Furthermore, instead of tradi-
tional centralised approaches, a schema-based
peer-to-peer network like Edutella along
with the searching power of the Semantic
Web provides a completely distributed solu-
tion where content owners do not lose con-
trol over their resources.
5
Such an interope-
rable network becomes a tremendous know-
ledge resource, empowering users to reduce
search cost and time considerably by brow-
sing through the resources of multiple sites
simply by submitting one search request.
INTELLIGENT
F
inally, Smart Spaces for Learning have
inherent intelligence to personalise the
service offers for the individual user.
Opening various repositories of knowledge
resources and connecting them into a space
provides learners with more possibilities to
satisfy their demand for gaining or increasing
their knowledge concerning a particular area
of interest or supports them in solving cer-
tain tasks. However, broadening the spectrum
of available learning offers also raises a pro-
blem of finding appropriate high-quality
learning services that satisfy individual
demands.To overcome this, intelligent perso-
nal learning assistants are capable of handling
a learner's profile
6
and using it to recom-
mend appropriate learning services
7
and lear-
ning path according to the user's needs and
preferences. In a corporate setting, the intelli-
gent offer can also be aligned with the overall
corporate strategy and specific requirements
defined by the human resource or training
managers.
A
rtificial intelligence techniques are
employed in this context to realise
the matching of knowledge about
learners, learning services, and knowledge
sources and to provide personalised views
over the ELENA Smart Space for Learning.
This contributes to effectiveness in corporate
settings by reducing the probability of getting
lost in the space of knowledge sources and
DigiCULT
.
Info
15
EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF
LEARNING
R
eturning to the first usage scena-
rio in the context of a corporate
environment, the main advantage
of such an intelligent service is the improved
effectiveness of the training management
process. Even in economically difficult
times, Europe's companies continue to make
significant investments in training activities
and skill development processes, since they
have realised that human capital is one of
the most valuable resources of any organisa-
tion. However, it is becoming increasingly
important, especially for training managers,
to show evidence of the effectiveness of trai-
ning activities. Interviews with human
resource managers have revealed an existing
need for flexible tools that support the opti-
misation of the planning, control and imple-
mentation of corporate training. ELENA
provides guidelines for semi-structured
interviews that help to convey crucial lear-
ning management know-how into all sphe-
res of an organisation. Relevant data concer-
ning the evaluation of the learning service,
the consumption of the individual learner,
the budget, and so on is tracked and can be
further processed to optimise the whole
process of training management.
OPEN AND INTEROPERABLE
T
he second main advantage of Smart
Spaces is their open interfaces and
interoperability with heterogeneous
systems. Knowledge resources are important
but scarce goods in today's information
society. Due to the lack of interoperability
these resources are increasingly stored in
closed systems, such as external and internal
course databases, best practice repositories,
online bookstores or learning management
systems. ELENA opens up these knowledge
sources by providing a standardised query
application program interface (API).
4
This
standardised API connects heterogeneous
knowledge pools.Taking advantage of the
Edutella peer-to-peer infrastructure
4See `Simple Query Interface (SQI) for Learning
Repositories' available online at
http://nm.wu-wien.ac.at/e-learning/interoperability/
query.pdf
5Cf. Bernd Simon, Zoltan Miklos,Wolfgang Nejdl,
Michael Sintek, Joaquin Salvachua, `Smart Space for
Learning: A Mediation Infrastructure for Learning
Services' in Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference
on World Wide Web, Budapest, Hungary, 20-24 May 2003
(http://www.im-c.de/elena/cms/
downloads/p616_simon.pdf)
6Cf. Peter Dolog and Wolfgang Nejdl,`Challenges and
Benefits of the Semantic Web for User Modelling' in
Proceedings of AH2003 workshop at Twelfth International
Conference on World Wide Web , Budapest, Hungary, 20-24
May 2003.
7Cf. Peter Dolog and Wolfgang Nejdl,`Personalisation in
Elena: How to cope with personalisation in distributed
eLearning Networks' in Proceedings of Conference on
Worldwide Coherent Workforce, Satisfied Users New Services
For Scientific Information, Oldenburg, Germany, September
2003.
Elena Pr
oject,
2004,
www
.elena-pr
oject.org