2 University of Porto, DCC-FC & CRACS (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1345-1354
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
In recent years the concept of eLearning framework emerged associated with several initiatives promoted by educational organizations. These initiatives share a common goal: to create flexible learning environments by integrating heterogeneous systems already available in many educational institutions. These frameworks usually adopt a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and provide several layers of services to support the development and management of eLearning systems. An eLearning framework is a specialized software framework that includes several types of components such as: support programs, runtime environments and code libraries.

The purpose of this paper is to gather information on these initiatives, to categorize them and to compare their features. We start by tracing the evolution of eLearning systems, focusing on their architectural models and interoperability features. We proceed with the analysis of abstract frameworks, whose goal is the creation of specifications, recommendations and best practices for eLearning frameworks. Concrete frameworks, provide complete services and components that can be integrated in actual implementations. Other initiatives that do not fulfil all the requirements of an eLearning framework but have some of its features. Finally, we synthesize the frameworks and we compare them regarding a set of predefined criteria such as: architecture, business model, primary user groups, technical implementations, adopted standards, future development and maturity. We conclude the paper with a summary of the current trends in eLearning frameworks development and open challenges for research on this subject.
SOA, interoperability, services.