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A model of organizing information in the electronic learning environment


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Špiranec, Sonja. (2007). A model of organizing information in the electronic learning environment. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Information Science. [mentor Lasić-Lazić, Jadranka].

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Higher education reforms are oriented towards the full integration of information and communication technologies into the learning and teaching practice of academic communities. However, without a high quality infrastructure of digital learning resources, the intended educational reforms can hardly be accomplished. The creation of digital learning materials is a complex and expensive process that requires a significant commitment in time and technical skills. This results in a growing need for the creation of storage and retrieval systems that will allow to access these resources and encourage the discovery, exchange, and reuse of educational material. Their reuse would support the efficiency and improve the performace of learning processes, while harnessing the identification, presentation and use of the intellectual potential of academic communities. Having in mind the large amounts of educational contents available on the web, the author observes that electronic learning environments are quantitatively stable phenomenons. However, educational resources are rather complex and heterogeneous in nature and accessible through a variety of local and global networks, i.e. digital libraries, repositories, educational portals, learning management systems et.c. In this context, there is an evident need to create environments in which knowledge will be organized and integrated in the form of consistent sets of scientifical or pedagogical concepts. To transform the quantitative aspect of the electronic learning environment into a qualitative, the issue of organizing and representing knowledge in the digital learning environment has to be resolved. In order to conceptualize the multidisciplinary focused research problems, theoretical foundations from the field of education and information sciences will be presented in the first chapters. Pedagogical theoretical discussions will be oriented towards the role of information resources in learning processes. The organization of these resources would significantly raise the efficiacy and effectiveness of electronic learning environments. To discuss these goals, theoretical reflections from information sciences will be presented which refer to crucial phenomenons involving the organization of information and information retrieval, with a special focus on networked information discovery and retrieval and the role of metadata. Since the research field is new and multidisciplinary in nature, the terminological apparatus is still in a consolidation phase. Elementary terms involve learning objects, applications for learning object and digital learning resources retrieval like repositories, educational digital libraries, educational gateways et.c. By analyzing the terms, the author stresses some inconsistencies and contradictories in the way terminology is used. This state is a reflection of the perspectives and needs of different professions that are involved in the research activities and discussions in the field. The amount of successfull initiatives shows that the term learning object repository dominates in the present discourse. Next, the author will deal with the contribution of theoretical and practical priciples from the information science field and their application in the electronic learning environment, through the development and creation of metadata and the creation of learning object repositories that facilitate structured and organized information access and support the discovery and use of learning materials. Therefore, the author reflects on the use of controlled vocabularies, discusses the potential role of traditional information organization tools like thesauruses and classifications and analyzes the problem of semantic interoperability. Finally, the role of ontologies in facilitating the development towards the Semantic web is considered. At the end, the results of two investigations are presented: the comparative analysis of learning object repositores worldwide and the structural analysis of metadata for learning resources. The investigations have shown patterns in structural features of metadata shemas and functional modalities of applications for the discovery and retrieval of educational web resources. By developing the theoretical model the author defines a terminological, structural and functional framework for information organization in the electronic learning environment. The model emphasizes the functional, structural and developmental role of metadata and envisions the future in the form of ontological layers that support access on component level for intelligent retrieval, deploy rich semantics and stimulate the development toward the Semantic web. The results of the investigation, together with the proposed model are forming the point of departure for the practical creation of an electronic learning environment and an infrastructure of learning resources in Croatia, that are both essential in the context of intended educational reforms, the use of ICT in higher education and the creation of an high quality infrastructure for e-learning.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital learning material, learning objects, metadata, repositories, semantic interoperability, ontologies, higher education, electronic learning environments
Subjects: Information sciences > Librarianship
Departments: Department of Information Science
Supervisor: Lasić-Lazić, Jadranka
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2013 14:15
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 13:09

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