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DigiCULT
.
Info
20
M
OBIlearn is a project within the
Fifth Framework Programme of
the European Union. Its objective is to
investigate the use of mobile technologies
in different learning contexts. In order to
achieve this, a service-based software
architecture is being developed. In the fol-
lowing article we describe the architectu-
ral approach taken within the MOBIlearn
project and some of the experiences gained.
INTRODUCTION
M
obile devices like Smartphones,
PDAs, wireless connected Tablet
PCs, and notebooks provide, in principle,
ubiquitous access to distributed knowled-
ge resources.This opens up new possibili-
ties for learning, not only in an institutio-
nal context but for the everyday learning
activities motivated by interest, curiosity
or professional needs. In an early stage of
the MOBIlearn project it was decided to
develop a service-based framework to
investigate these possibilities.The project
is currently in the final stage of designing
its system of services.
The MOBIlearn Project
T
he MOBIlearn project
(http://www.mobilearn.org), begun
on 1 July 2002, brings together 24 part-
ners from six European countries and
Israel in a joint effort to investigate the use
of mobile technologies for different lear-
ning settings. In addition to these
European partners, MOBIlearn collabora-
tes with partners from the United States
and Australia.The project is co-ordinated
by Giunti Ricerca (http://www.mobilearn.
org/partners/consortium/partner_list/
giunti.htm). It is important to note that
the MOBIlearn partners come from quite
different communities pedagogy is
represented as well as technology, academia
and industry. MOBIlearn intentionally
concentrates not on the usual institutional
learning scenarios.The basic strands to be
investigated in the project are:
museum visitors with specific interests
being supported in their learning;
non-healthcare professionals needing to
learn about health problems for personal
reasons;
experienced managers or first semester
students attending MBA university
courses needing assistance to adapt
quickly to the opportunities offered by
the university.
M
OBIlearn undertook the develop-
ment of a technology that supports
selected learning scenarios in these fields
in a prototypical way. It is planned to test
these prototype tools with small groups of
learners in order to gain a better under-
standing of the possibilities they offer and
of the challenges posed by further deve-
lopment.
I
n the first year of the project, the
emphasis was on the investigation of
user needs. A considerable number of
usage scenarios in the aforementioned
fields was collected from the consortium
members and associated partners, and revi-
sed after discussion. Development began
on a single MOBIlearn system that would
support all four core scenarios decided by
the team (and also any other scenarios cre-
ated from combined activities of the core
scenarios). In parallel, project partners con-
tinued to develop software and to augment
it with features that were likely to be nee-
ded in the project.The most important
software tools, which were also used for
early prototype testing, were:
a learning management system;
a collaboration system;
a context awareness system;
a mobile video delivery system.
A
special workpackage on system inte-
gration investigated state-of-the-art
technologies in order to come up with a
suggestion for an architecture.
T
H E
S
E RV I C E
-
B A S E D
A
R C H I T E C T U R E
O F T H E
MOBI
L E A R N
P
R O J E C T
G
IORGIO
D
A
B
ORMIDA
(MOBI
LEARN
P
ROJECT
D
IRECTOR
, GIUNTI
I
NTERACTIVE
L
ABS
)
AND
I
NGO
D
AHN
(U
NIVERSITY
K
OBLENZ
-L
ANDAU
,
K
NOWLEDGE
M
EDIA
I
NSTITUTE
)
MOBIlear
n 2004,
http://www
.mobilear
n.org (kindly offer
ed b
y He
wlett P
ackar
d)