Report on the Expressions of Interest, domain Technology ... - Europa

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Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Directorate
-
General Information Society


Information Society Technologies: Content, Multimedia Tools and Markets

Education and training applications





Report on the evaluation of

Expressions of Interest in the research priority 1
.1.2i
“Societal and economic challenges”, sub
-
priority
“Research addressing work and business challenges”



Domain

TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED
LEARNING





November 2002


2

1.

I
NTRODUCTION

Research and technological development in Information and Communication
Techno
logies supporting education and training has long been a priority under
several Research and Technological Development
-

RTD
-

Framework Programmes
of the European Union.

Under the 6
th

RTD Framework Programme (FP6), Technology Enhanced Learning
(e
-
learnin
g) has been set as strategic objective in the thematic priority “Information
Society Technologies” of the Specific Programme “Integrating and strengthening the
European Research Area”. The text of the FP6 specifies that “Work on eLearning
will focus on per
sonalised access to, and delivery of, learning as well as on
advanced learning environments at school, university and in the workplace that take
advantage of the development of ambient intelligence”.

Prior to the formal adoption of FP6 the and Specific Pro
grammes, the European
Commission invited the research community in March 2002 to submit expressions
of interest (EoI) to participate in research actions with Integrated Projects and
Networks of Excellence for topics throughout the seven thematic priorities

of the
Specific Programme proposal “Integrating and Strengthening the ERA” and
thematic priorities 2.2 and 2.3 of the Specific Programme proposal on Nuclear
Energy.

The total number of EoIs received by the deadline of 7 June 2002 was close to
11.500 for t
he whole FP6. 179 of those focused on Technology Enhanced Learning.

This report presents an overview of the research areas addressed by the Expressions
of Interest on Technology Enhanced Learning and provides some interesting insight
into the future resear
ch agenda in this field.

2.

G
ENERAL
S
TATISTICS

179 Expression of Interest were submitted for the Technology Enhanced Learning
domain, of which 118 for
Integrated Projects

and 61 for
Networks of Excellence
.

The total number of participants for both instruments

is above 2000.

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The geographical distribution of participants is shown below:


Geographical distribution of participants
43
2
44
1
17
10
34
3
8
22
197
34
139
12
82
118
51
38
23
191
19
25
10
16
4
81
54
1
4
5
38
35
28
8
43
12
9
14
1
257
18
2
1
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
A
AU
B
BA
BG
CA
CH
CN
CY
CZ
D
DK
E
EE
EL
F
FIN
HR
HU
I
IL
IRL
IS
LT
LV
NL
NO
NZ
MK
MT
P
PL
RO
RU
S
SI
SK
TR
UA
UK
USA
YU
ZA
Statistical distribution of participating organisations
16,9
10,7
36,7
35,8
Industry
University
Research
Other
4


The following diagram shows the composition of the consortia in terms of number of
participants in each expression of interest.

Statistical distribution of numbers of participants per consortium
26,3
26,8
30,2
16,8
< 5
< 10
< 20
> 20

3.

A
NALYSIS OF
RESEARCH PRIORITIES

3.1.

Research topics addressed

A first EoI analysis shows that technologies for collaborative and experiential learning, as
well as personalised access to learning content over broadband networks are relevant
topics to be further investigate
d. Novel applications for creating and delivering e
-
learning
content in different contexts (schools, universities, at work and for lifelong learning) are
sought. They encompass innovative strategies, including organisational changes and new
business models
, and e
-
learning across the extended value chain of e
-
business, for
organisation innovation and facilitating SME access to e
-
business. Building and sharing
competencies for the knowledge society, facing the ICT skills gap and e
-
learning for
social inclusio
n are also major drivers.

The expressions of interest, for both instruments (IPs and NoEs), show a broad coverage
of the domain, and a good balance between the pedagogical, technological and
organisational aspects necessary for the state
-
of
-
the
-
art and inn
ovation in this field.

Although the essence of the new instruments is integration and complementarity, the
following provisional division was made in order to show main research areas. It is based
only on the prime focus of the expressions of interest:


1)

Advanced technologies and architectures for access to learning

The research community strongly highlighted that ubiquitous access, dynamic, adaptive
and intelligent personalisation (ambient learning) are among the major RTD drivers for
the definition of t
he new generation of technologically enhanced learning solutions.

Consequently, the need for
new architectural models

as well as the exploitation of
emerging advanced technologies

was pointed out.

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There was in fact a broad consensus on the importance to
step up the
effectiveness

of
current e
-
learning models, going towards a
mixed
-
mode of technological mediated
learning delivery
. Most EoI are focusing their RTD priorities on the definition of novel
architectural frameworks which include a variety of aspect
s, but where ubiquitous access,
computing power and distributed facilities and services play a major role.

The overall picture presents
technology

as
facilitator

in “experiencing” as part of the
knowledge creation/acquisition process. The need for “person
alisation” is clearly
expressed and this responds to the demand for adapting and re
-
adapting the learning
content to the actual societal and economic dynamics. The analysis reveals the
importance of adapting architectural models to the operational learning

context, paying
attention to the mixture of learning experiences that can appear during the “daily life”
interaction between the individual and the organisation where he/she lives and/or works.
Due consideration was also given to evaluation and assessment

methods, processes and
techniques.

Yet, new architectural models require at the same time the definition of new business
models and strategies and the creation of new organisational and management procedures
for the stakeholders. This issue seems to be co
vered in most relevant EoIs.

The analysis also reveals the importance of Open Source Software in this domain, from
technical standards for learning objects to delivery platforms.

Some issues that appear to be relevant in the technological/architectural co
ntext are listed
below:

1. Advanced technologies and infrastructures



GRID technologies and broadband networks for future scenarios of learning enabling
more powerful computer supported co
-
operative learning, Virtual Campus networks,
visual representation o
f concepts in fields such as mathematics and physics,



new generation of learning content management systems,



mobile
-
based, intelligent ambient learning environments,



intelligent agents to support human tutoring activities on complex cognitive processes
and

social skills,



mixed/augmented reality and simulations for training activities.

2. Learning resources modelling and creation



metadata for learning objects and learners profiling,



semi
-
automatic extraction of learning material from the WEB,



authoring of l
earning content, IPR and quality issues.

3. Interoperability and transferability



interoperability among learning services and tools, learning objects and related
delivery and management systems,

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scalable, modular and component based e
-
learning systems,



s
trategies for learning object exchange,



rationalisation of different approaches of learning technology standards and definition
of coherent architectural models and related enabling platforms.

Finally, although largely investigated in the past, virtual rea
lity for learning remains a
challenging issue, particularly from its psychological perspective.

2) Collaborative learning and virtual communities

Increasingly, researchers are pointing out the needs of strengthening the social dimension
in the use of ICT
supported learning. The EoI analysis shows that the research
community is strongly focusing on the “collaborative aspect” as principal enabler for
effective learning. There is evidence for the need to foster the emergence of learning and
knowledge producin
g communities in different kinds of organisations at different levels
of the society.

In fact, most EoIs address highly scalable frameworks for collaborative learning, where
the technological, socio
-
cultural and organisational perspectives are well integr
ated and
sometimes coherently approached.

Learning is realised, even more, as a co
-
operative process involving the whole
organisation. There is a need to further understand the structural problems of knowledge
management as well as the strong correlation b
etween pedagogical, technological and
organisational issues related to ICT
-
mediated collaborative learning.

The definition, development and implementation of platforms for peer
-
to
-
peer learning,
educational communities and communities of practice is envisa
ged, as well as the need of
investigation on how to scale
-
up and transfer results to create a sustainable impact on
education and work practice in Europe.

Multilingual and multicultural perspectives are well highlighted, and often associated
with the need

to foster mobility.

The term “intelligent systems” appeared often, particularly in relation to systems
monitoring the social interaction and/or providing personalised feedback. It is clear that
the “mobile” infrastructure will play a prominent role.

3) K
nowledge and learning

The strict interconnection between knowledge and learning is subject of several EoIs,
precisely the need for novel platforms integrating semantic, cognitive and technological
aspects. The aim is to enable the learners to find informat
ion fitting his/her learning
needs.

Yet, research should address the challenges related to learning and
knowledge sharing

in
the workplace in a multidisciplinary perspective with the intention to produce knowledge
pools, methods and techniques, unified st
andards, best practices and tools.

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The research community emphasises the role that ontology and assessment can have in
supporting information exchange processes for educational purposes. Research is
envisaged on thesaurus development, indexing scheme, cont
ent analysis, etc..

The analysis reveals that the new learning paradigm should be more linked to current
techniques for building knowledge management systems in organisations, where research
is envisaged in all aspects of knowledge elicitation, retrieval,

etc..

4) Specific subjects

A number of
specific subjects

for the application of technology enhanced learning
solutions can be identified:

1. Language learning

Some EoIs address issues varying from corpora tools, including data retrieval, to systems
for k
nowledge management, natural language processing and dialogue processing.
Furthermore EoIs are pointing out the need to focus more on a communicative rather than
rule based approach.

2. e
-
inclusion

Technology enhanced learning is seen as potentially relev
ant in the European strive to
promote social inclusion, to lower barriers among different users and to assist people
living in rural areas and less populated regions.

The potential benefits of technology enhanced learning in helping people with learning
d
ifficulties is considered a relevant subject of investigations.

The research community sees technology enhanced learning solutions useful to support
the reintegration of unemployed, providing them with new opportunities to learning and
improving their ski
lls.

3. e
-
health

Research actions are proposed to develop novel platforms for occupational health
professionals, training in medicine, continuing medical education, patient information
and continuing health education, and for the development and provision

of training in
European health care management.

4. e
-
skills/business

Several EoIs address technologically enhanced solutions to keep employees up
-
to
-
date in
a rapidly changing marketplace.

The ICT skills gap and the importance of improving skills with b
eneficial effects on
organisation innovation and responsiveness is another priority. Solutions are proposed in
respect to management of change at work, as well as blended e
-
learning solutions for
European executives and managers. Particular attention is gi
ven to mobile solutions for
access to learning opportunities and new knowledge on the move.

Knowledge and learning are seen as key factors for increasing business transactions and
competitiveness in the market. Technology enhanced learning is considered ha
ving
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particular importance for the empowerment of citizens with skills and knowledge for the
21
st

century, even beyond formal education. RTD actions are envisaged particularly for
SMEs to sustain social, human, organisational and cultural impacts of emergi
ng e
-
business.

5. Science and Mathematics

Some EoIs build on the role of science and mathematics in our society, on the difficulties
in conveying scientific concepts to youngsters and, hence, on the potential effectiveness
of technology enhanced learning
for teaching these subjects. Others, build on the
importance of computer games and associated tools and techniques for teaching science.

6. e
-
learning strategies

The research community highlighted the need to explore decision support systems for the
effe
ctive take
-
up of e
-
learning solutions, best practices for the definition of deployment
strategies, in particular in higher education, systems for distance graduate level studies
and research co
-
operation through the internet. Most EoIs consider the promoti
on of
exchange of experiences and knowledge sharing as fundamental, as well as the factors
affecting and influencing attitudes towards new forms of education using technologies
and their effect on economic and social trends.

7. Evaluation and assessment

Ac
creditation and assessment are further subjects of investigation. The underlying idea is
that business perspectives for e
-
learning services would be improved if effective e
-
assessment technologies were put in place. To this end, intelligent, robust and int
egrated
e
-
examination systems are sought.

8. v
-
Universities

Digital networks integrating the activities, in different disciplines, of national and
regional universities, as well as pan
-
European on
-
line universities, and the exploitation
on technological so
lutions for learning in higher education are addressed under this
subject.

9. Remote Labs

Remote laboratories are addressed as a way to improve the education of science and
technology. They build on the importance of leveraging high specialised laboratori
es and
software tools over the internet and making them accessible to education and training
institutions for teaching and experimentation.

Some EoIs tackle the issue of the limited availability of expensive laboratories and/or
technical equipment in educ
ational and research institutions. They propose solutions for
virtual laboratories to access distributed learning and knowledge resources, software and
equipment on
-
line.

10. Games

Some EoIs focus on the importance of games for the learning process, as pa
rt of a
methodology based on discovery learning. Proposed solutions vary from intelligent
computer games and simulations to game
-
based learning networks.

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11. Miscellaneous

Some very specific subjects were also targeted. Among them, it is worth mentioning
RTD actions such as training in welding techniques and practices; sharing specialised
marble and stone production skills; virtual centres promoting humanistic,
interdisciplinary and integrated curricula and networks; solutions in the field of
telerobotics
and advanced telecontrol; complex water and environmental management
systems; architectural design; laboratories for art & business; ocean technologies; fire
safety engineering; etc.

4.

C
ONCLUSIONS

The analysis of the expressions of interest in the field of T
echnology Enhanced Learning
shows a good coverage of the research priorities, in compliance with the outcomes of
previous consultation processes, FP6 workshops, ISTAG recommendations, etc..

The research community highlights the importance of collaborative

and experiential
learning, as well as ubiquitous and personalised access to learning content over
broadband networks, virtual campuses and novel applications for creating and delivering
learning in different contexts (schools, universities, at work and fo
r lifelong learning),
encompassing innovative strategies, organisational changes and new business models.

Among others,

advanced technologies and infrastructures for access to learning
,
GRID and distributed computing enabling simulations and new forms of c
o
-
operative learning, knowledge management and learning, learner modelling,
standards, learning content management systems
,
virtual learning communities,
virtual campuses
, seem to be the major technological drivers.

The analysis reveals that a considerabl
e number of the proposals
take into proper account
the interconnections between technological, pedagogical, social and organisational
aspects
.

The integration of activities in IPs should be broader, not only partner
-
wise, and the focus
should not be just
on one part of the RTD lifecycle. On the other hand, NoEs should
elaborate more on the Joint Programme of Activities (JPA), being their core aspect
around which participants should re
-
shape their own activities, and not include only
universities or researc
h centres.

There have been some remarkable and well balanced consortia, with sound and rather
mature proposals for IPs and NoEs with clear strategic objectives focussing on a common
“programme” vision. These proposals show the necessary ambition and critic
al mass as
well as a sound management and scientific project approach, holistically integrating the
different types of actions. However, the link to Member State activities is not adequately
explored.

Finally, even though some EoIs have not yet

fully explo
red the potential of the new
instruments, they clearly set the ground for long
-
term, high
-
impact research.