University of Genoa (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 2072-2082
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Due to an increasing spread in the last years, mobile technology is nowadays one of the most promising options for distance learning. Accessing online content through mobile devices, however, is subject to a number of technical issues likely to influence the actual effectiveness of learning activities. In particular, a significant share of language learning activities is based on formats not always suitable or even compatible with the different mobile device types.
Our efforts have focused on developing an engine capable of transforming activity formats so as to make them suitable for the specific device in use. This transformation, however, is not simply a mechanical process, but rather a more elaborate task, covering both technical and educational issues.
Our research on this subject resulted in a theoretical framework, which, in turn, resulted in a component made up of a set of tools to accomplish this transformation task. First, we built an ontology representing the different and rich facets of the problem (e.g. the relationship among learning tasks, language abilities and devices features). Second, we designed a set of rules to infer the most suitable format given the device, the activity description and the linguistic ability involved. Third, we developed a special syntax through which activities can be transformed into different formats (e.g. cloze test, multiple choice etc.) according to the engine's inferences so that they are usable on a given device and retain their learning potential.
To test our component, we integrated it into a language learning platform we developedand built a pilot language course to assess the component’s performance and the framework’s validity.
In this paper we describe the process of development, testing and tuning of the component, focusing in particular on the ontology and explaining the relations between learning techniques, abilities, type of activities and device features.
Finally we will present a use case showing the transformation performed by the system when the same activity is accessed through different devices.
Mobile learning, language learning, ontology.