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R. Llorente, M. Morant, C.M. Julia

Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
In the last decade, e-learning technology has opened up learning opportunities in more and more convenient ways, allowing alumni to build knowledge while at work or even when they do not have access to a University campus at all. E-learning applications have emerged with the rise of personal computer availability and the popularity of Internet access. These applications typically comprise a standalone learning tool installed at a computer. Nowadays, this evolved to network interactive tools where the content is delivered via the Internet. Nevertheless, in the recent years, the paradigm is changing because the ubiquos presence of Internet. Now alumni interact seamless in four-screens: Television, computer (also laptop), tablet and mobile phone. This interaction is done sometimes with and Internet connection active, e.g. in the University campus, and sometimes without connection (off-line work). This is a complex alumni scenario that should be addressed by next-generation e-learning applications.

In this paper we propose and report the development of an e-learning task flow tool capable of seamless operation in the four screens, with Internet connection and also in off-line operation. Operation in the four-screens permits to extend the learning process further over the classroom to the different environments, taking advantage on their peculiarities: Theoretical studies in the computer at the classroom or at the office, or more relaxed test and puzzles on the TV. Note-taking processes on the field on a cell phone, or on a conference on a tablet. This ubiquos-learning strategy targets to maximize the knowledge building efficiency.

The cross-platform multi-screen application developed permits virtually any learning process. The application has been developed in an Adobe AIR® framework. Very few application development frameworks can address the four screens paradigm, i.e. can be used to develop applications that can be run in a TV, in a computer, in a tablet and in a cell phone despite the underlying operating system. The widest reach application framework recognised in the industry is Adobe AIR®. This allows to build desktop applications on Windows, Mac OS or Linux and standalone applications to target Android or iPhone devices in the by the end 2010.

The final result is a desktop rich Internet application (RIA) in Adobe AIR® that can be used in different operating systems (e.g. Windows, Linux, Mac OS or Android) and can operate in a computer, in a mobile phone, in a tablet or in an Internet-connected TV. The tool permits off-line operation and full-customization for processes used in different learning techniques: portfolio, problem solving, laboratory reports or task monitoring. Also, full-user customization is possible. The tool is designed to be adaptable to the user completely transparent. User profiles are implemented permitting different set of options to be displayed to the user, and different program interfaces are presented to the user.

In conclusion, the developed tool is the first attempt, to our knowledge, to address the four-screen paradigm and opens-up opportunities to maximize the efficiency of the knowledge-building process in e-learning applications.