About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4474-4483
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

REASONING ON THE ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF LEARNING OBJECTS

G. Vercelli1, G. Vivanet2

1University of Genoa (ITALY)
2University of Cagliari (ITALY)
In the last years, we have witnessed the evolution of web technologies and e-learning systems in the direction of the collaborative Paradigm. Nowadays, the number of educational resources and environments (such as social networks and digital repositories) where is possible to retrieve and share resources and experiences is rapidly growing and the web offers great opportunities to teachers and instructional designers in order to design complex learning paths and/or single lessons.

In this scenario, the adoption of semantic technologies has shown promising perspectives, especially with the aim of supporting learning content design and increasing the performances of educational search engines. The development of semantic-based educational repositories and intelligent e-learning systems is usually based on the use of ontologies or other types of controlled vocabularies for learning objects (LOs) indexing and retrieval. However, the LOs ontology modeling is often carried out without referring to a clear learning theory and using informal and pragmatic methodologies depending on the convenience of the specific application frame.

In the authors’ opinion (based on a literature critical review), the development of LOs ontologies should be founded on the one hand on a well-defined learning theory, and on the other hand on a rigorous ontological analysis. In fact, the innovation of learning environments should always be guided by a learning theory representing the reference framework that justifies the instructional structure and give value to the implementation strategies of technology. Moreover, a formal approach is required to avoid some critical situations, such as problems of internal and external consistency.

Given these premises, a phenomenological analysis (comparing two different perspectives, based respectively on the concepts of “physical object” and “social object”) aiming at providing a well-founded definition of “learning object” has been proposed here. As a matter of fact, if the philosophical ontology is essentially a descriptive ontology whose aim is not to provide an explanation, but rather a description of a certain reality (in the sense that it can provide a way to classify entities of a given domain), then it should be founded on a unambiguous definition of the reality and entities taken into account.

This study is part of a more extensive project whose main goal is the development of a formal and pedagogically oriented ontology of LOs that will be defined by means of different steps: (i) the definition of the state of the art of LOs descriptive models; (ii) the phenomenological analysis of the LO ontological status; (iii) the development of a LOs primitive taxonomy and the related vocabulary; (iv) the design of a LOs ontology; (v) the definition of specification required to implement the LO ontology in real-world scenarios (e.g. learning content design).
@InProceedings{VERCELLI2011REA,
author = {Vercelli, G. and Vivanet, G.},
title = {REASONING ON THE ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF LEARNING OBJECTS},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {4474-4483}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Vercelli AU - G. Vivanet
TI - REASONING ON THE ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF LEARNING OBJECTS
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 4474
EP - 4483
ER -
G. Vercelli, G. Vivanet (2011) REASONING ON THE ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF LEARNING OBJECTS, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 4474-4483.
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