A Framework for Virtual Learning Environments
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Rochefort, S., Dahl, V. & Tarau, P. (1999). A Framework for Virtual Learning Environments. In B. Collis & R. Oliver (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 1999 (pp. 1538-1539). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/6890.
As more and more people are moving towards obtaining higher education, a subset of them find it difficult or impossible to achieve their goals. This difficulty arises due to a number of reasons: disabilities limiting access, distance from institutions, and the requirement to maintain employment. But the educational doors are not closed for these individuals since the advent of education environments through Internet delivery. Distance education has two broad categories, synchronous and asynchronous learning (Wang & Mitchell 98). Asynchronous learning occurs when a student has access to course material and can progress through the course on their own schedule. This form of education requires little or no involvement of the instructional team. On the other hand, synchronous learning occurs when there is involvement by the instructional team, allowing students interactive communication with the instructor. Research developments have resulted in numerous advancements in synchronous learning environments (Gividen 97). In the area of asynchronous learning environments, the advancements have been much slower. Most educational environments, both synchronous and asynchronous, provide web authoring, communication mechanisms, progress tracking and administrative tools. These tools leave us with typically two choices: deliver static information for students to peruse or set up synchronous interactions between students and the instructional team. Since the students that we are trying to assist will generally have a sporadic nature of attending to their educational needs, we need to enhance the asynchronous interaction approach and provide students with a greater method of learning through exploration and discovery. Our research involves the development of educational environments in Jinni (Tarau 98), a lightweight, multi-threaded, Java-based pure logic programming language. Jinni allows us to take advantage of Internet delivery technologies while at the same time supplying us with numerous mechanisms for developing intelligent tutoring tools. This paper presents a framework developed in Jinni that is being used for the development of advanced educational environments. Our first development was a variant of LogiMOO (Rochefort et al. 98), a multi-user virtual environment. The environment provides all the basic categories of tools available in current systems while providing intelligent tutoring tools to support asynchronous learning.
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