A number of thematic workshops will be organised. Potential authors are invited to submit their paper proposals directly to the organisers of the workshops. 



Interoperability Challenges in Learning Technologies



Frans Van Assche

European Schoolnet, Belgium


Frans Van Assche is strategy manager at the European Schoolnet (EUN) office, supporting a network of 25 European ministries of education. In this capacity he is in charge of the implementation of the European Learning Resource Brokerage System, the Learning Object brokerage system in the CELEBRATE project, and the EUN knowledge management system. At the European Standardisations body CEN/ISSS he is project team leader of the project team on vocabularies and taxonomies. He is associate professor at the School of Economics St.-Aloysius, Brussels. He is recipient of the IFIP silver core award and was project manager for some high profile EU funded projects such as Web for Schools (WfS), WfS-ESIS, and the EUN multimedia project.


The approval of the LOM as an IEEE LTSC standard was a major milestone for Learning Technologies. It lays the foundation for tackling a number of interoperability challenges: from technical interoperability to semantic interoperability.

 Application profiles belong now to good practice when using the LOM. However what are the guidelines for constructing application profiles. There is a need for different application profiles even when used within a single community. They may be based on for instance object types such as exploration LOs, drill, simulation, tutorial, teacher's manual, etc or application profiles adapted to audience (e.g. first grade pupil, university student, teacher training). Given that there will be many application profiles used even within the same community how do we sustain interoperability?

 Today many Learning Object brokerage systems have been developed as a means for sharing LOs. How do we ensure interoperability between brokerage systems? Eventually a poly-hierarchy of brokerage systems might emerge.This might however require a poly-hierarchy or a network of quality assurance, digital rights management, and editorial policies. What is the best technology for the interoperability of brokerage systems? What are the experiences with for instance SOAP base web services?

 The LOM standard document defines a Learning Object as "any entity, digital or non-digital, that may be used for learning, education or training". While in principle this includes also for instance experts, discussion groups, projects etc., the data about these objects are quite different. For instance metadata such as copyright do not make sense for persons and other data such as due date and budget might be of interest for educational projects. How do we achieve interoperability about such objects necessary to have well functioning learning communities over the world? Can we for instance have different discussion groups interoperate in a way that is transparent to its users?

 In order to augment the semantic richness of metadata, ontologies are being developed in order to describe more precisely learning objects. Are we however not losing semantic interoperability if everyone is using home-grown ontologies or value spaces when using the LOM?





Quality Management in Education



Dr Jan Pawlowski

Information Systems for Production and Operations Management

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany


The goal of the workshop is to identify, compare, and discuss different concepts, methodologies, and applications of quality in the field of education. The goal is to provide a survey of state-of-the-art concepts and to start the process of harmonization in order to build consensus on a common quality framework.

Quality in the field of education and particularly E-Learning is becoming an issue of increasing importance in both researchers’ and practitioners’ communities. Quality approaches have different perspectives and interpretations of quality, differing in the methodology and implementation. A variety of promising concepts, methods, and certifications has been developed in the last years. Unfortunately, these approaches are only used nationally, regionally, or locally. Secondly, the effort to adapt these approaches to a specific organization is immense. Expensive consulting and training services are necessary. In particular, efficient support functions to implement quality approaches in small or medium enterprises are necessary to stay competitive on the market. The need for harmonization and adaptation for certain users and specific purposes is obvious.

Part 1: Methodologies and concepts of Quality Management, Quality Assurance, and Quality Assessment

Papers in this part shall describe methodologies and concepts of quality in the field of education and E-Learning. Papers should provide a survey of state-of-the-art approaches and research issues.

Part 2: Applications and good-practice examples

Papers in the second section are should cover practical experiences, good-practice examples, and applications.

Part 3: Harmonization of quality concepts in education: Building a flexible framework

The need for harmonization of the variety of approaches is obvious. Will harmonization, such as consensus-building communities or standardization work lead to a common understanding and to efficient solutions or limit flexibility and creativity?

Part 4: Discussion

This part shall summarize the three main parts of the workshop and increase the common understanding of quality in the field of education.

Possible topics

The topics should cover a wide range of concepts, methods, and applications of quality on the field of education. Contributions should focus on (but are not limited to):

  • Basic concepts of Quality Management, Quality Assurance, and Quality Assessment for education

  • Quality Standards

  • Quality applications and tools

  • Good-practice examples in different branches

  • Impact on educational organizations





Tools and techniques for study and evaluation of computer-supported collaborative learning


Prof Nikos Avouris

Univeristy of Patras, ECE Dep.
Human-Computer Interaction Group
GR-26500 Rio Patras, Greece
tel +30-(0)610-997349, fax -997316


Nikos Avouris is professor of software technology and Human-Computer Interaction of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department of the University of Patras, with special interest in collaborative learning technology



Modern approaches in teaching and learning put emphasis on problem solving activities that involve collaboration. It seems that there is a wider acceptance of the fact that these approaches encourage construction of knowledge and building of meaning. Network-based learning environments offer new possibilities in this context and at the same time raise new questions related to the feasibility and effectiveness of distance collaboration. In this context special interest has been recently shown on tools and techniques that permit study and evaluation of collaborative learning processes co-located or at a distance in real time or in asynchronous way. These methods may involve quantitative and qualitative descriptions of collaborative learning behaviour, may be related to specific educational approaches and technological approaches. Original contributions are invited for this workshop on theoretical aspects of evaluation and study of computer-supported collaborative learning processes and environments, on original tools and methodologies to support such processes.




Adaptive Educational Systems


Nikos Mylonakis

Colin McCullough


PO Box 22427 - Thessaloniki
 GR-55102 Thessaloniki
 Tel. (30) 23 10 49 01 11
 Fax (30) 23 10 49 00 49


Purpose/aim:                 The workshop will examine the benefits and drawbacks of the adaptive hypermedia environment based on the existing body of research available, the experience of its adoption in the field by training providers and the end-user response. 

Outcome:                      The workshop would then forward to the plenary a report on its conclusions concerning the main pedagogical challenges posed by the introduction of adaptive hypermedia and initial policy guidelines for implementation and use of such tools in education and training system. This should contain the most important research findings on adapting pedagogy to the user. It would clarify what seems empirically to be the proven benefit. 

Focus:                          The workshop will focus on pedagogy and adaptive hypermedia: i.e. the emphasis will be on the adaptive qualities. It is only since the mid-1990s that there has arisen a corpus of research into adaptive in hypermedia. With the advent of the world wide web adaptive hypermedia tools left the laboratory environment and turned to the web. This fact alone has greatly increased the use of and research into adaptive hypermedia.

                                    The workshop would contain the following:

Ž           an introduction to the history and current state of adaptive hypermedia applications;

Ž            a detailed look at the research on the various approaches to “adaptive”;

Ž            evaluation of comparative research findings on the impact of adaptive versus static hypermedia;

Ž            clarification of current work on user modelling;

Ž            the most advanced applications: what do they offer for lifelong learning?

The workshop will need to provide:

Ž             a definition and clarification of the terminology in use;

Ž             a description of the main challenges and perspectives new hypermedia educational tools (products) present for the learner and for the educator;

Ž             consideration of the theoretical, pedagogical and institutional issues related to hypermedia used for teaching and learning;

Ž             conclusions and ideas to further stimulate the debate.

The workshop will need to examine: 

Ž             What are the rules of Hypermedia, multimedia and Hypertext in educational tools?

Ž             What impressions do Hypertext users have?

Ž          Why does Hypermedia become a different model to articulate meaning and knowledge?

Ž           What are the advantages in using Hypermedia?

Ž           What are the main sets of pedagogical and educational issues that represents Hypermedia and why?

Ž             By which way does Hypermedia offer the users a fundamental editorial change?

Ž             What are the new competencies the users must have to be able to interact with the new electronic space?

Ž             What are the technical problems Hypermedia encounters?

Ž             What are the psychological problems Hypermedia encounters? By which way can we solve them?

Ž             Is it possible to find a balance between old and new pedagogical approaches.

Context:                        There was a general consensus in the meeting of the advisory group for the conference that the topic itself was too vast for the purposes of a one-day workshop and that the theme in itself would need to be more narrowly defined. Secondly, there were anxieties that the workshop would concentrate on a specific tool for the delivery of learning and not on the process, advantages, barriers for its implementation.

The aim of the workshop is to assess the potential, if any, of adaptive hypermedia for learning purposes. With the current use of information and communication technologies in the delivery of education and training, it is a valid assumption that ICT’s will continue to impact to some degree upon how we learn. The implications in the short to medium-term, with the hindsight of e-learning developments over the past 5 years, may exceed our expectations.




Can Constructivist Epistemologies be Successfully Applied in Educational Informatics?


Miguel Baptista Nunes

Department of Information Studies,

University of Sheffield,

 Sheffield, UK

Dr. José Miguel Baptista Nunes, MSc, PhD, FIMIS, is a Lecturer in Information Management and is a member of the Educational Informatics Research Group at the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, and has been involved in research in educational informatics and online teaching (both on and off-campus) for the last 10 years. Has published widely in the field and participated in a number of EU and UK funded projects.

Maggie McPherson

Department of Information Studies,

University of Sheffield,

 Sheffield, UK

Maggie McPherson, BEd, MSc, FIMIS, is Programme Co-ordinator of the distance education programme MA in Information Technology Management and Lecturer in Information Management, at the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield.  Maggie is also a member of the Educational Informatics Group, has been involved in research in educational informatics and online teaching (mainly off-campus distance education) for the last 10 years. Has published widely in the field and participated in a number of EU and UK funded projects.

Iraklis Paraskakis

Computer Science Department,

City Liberal Studies College,

Thessaloniki, Greece

Dr. Iraklis Paraskakis, BSc, MSc, PhD, is a Lecturer in Information Systems at the Computer Science Department, City Liberal Studies College, Thessaloniki, Greece.  His primary research interests are within Information and Communication Technology and in particular include: teaching strategies, ICT, computer algebra systems, and learning technologies.


This session will discuss the applicability of constructivist learning theories to support actual design and development of online learning environments.  In fact, the design and development of these environments requires explicit and clear pedagogical models that can be translated from theory into practice.  Very often, a designer, solely faced with constructivism as a learning theory, would have difficulty in translating this epistemology into an appropriate conceptual model, and ultimately in developing a constructivist online learning environment.

In fact, and as clearly stated by Wilson (1993) “constructivism is a philosophy not a strategy”.  Fosnot (1996) rationalises this opinion by clearly stating that constructivism is a theory about knowledge and learning (an epistemology) not a theory of teaching:

“Constructivism is a theory about learning, not a description of teaching. No ‘cookbook teaching style’ or pat set of instructional techniques can be abstracted from the theory and proposed as a constructivist approach to teaching.  Some general principles of learning derived from constructivism may be helpful to keep in mind, however, as we rethink and reform our educational practices.”

(Fosnot, 1996)

However, this very “cookbook teaching style” - a precise pedagogical model – is exactly what is required by educational designers to develop appropriate conceptual models to support academic learning.

The difficulty with the term pedagogical model is that it is very commonly used, but seldom defined in a precise form.  A pedagogical model is a theoretical construct that can be used by practitioners as a framework for understanding educational action using a specific learning theory.  According to Goodyear (1999), these models allow action researchers and educationalists to engage in more powerful and robust reasoning about what needs to be done and achieved.  Goodyear (1999) goes on to say, “all educational interventions can be seen as unique - but they can also be seen as variations on common themes”.  This common theme is often the pedagogical model.

In order to appropriately support educational research in general, and action research in particular, these pedagogical models need help identify “ways of describing the real-world, concrete activities, processes, people and artifacts involved in a learning activity” Goodyear (1999).  The general questions that will be explored in this session are as follows:

  • How effective are practitioners at translating learning epistemologies into design pedagogical models?

  • What are the main components of these models?

  • How can practitioners ensure that these modules are represented in their design?

  • What strategies can practitioners employ to evaluate their design in respect to the pedagogical models used?

  • Is the promise of constructivism really fulfilling the hype?

This workshop is aimed at all those dealing with online learning design and development within education, both at academic and technical levels.  Some degree of heterogeneity is highly desirable so that discussion is created coming from different backgrounds and points of departure.

The results of the discussions will be collected, discussed, analysed and compiled into a final workshop report. This will then be disseminated through the IEEE Learning Technology Task Force.

Bibliographic References

Fosnot, C. (1996) “Constructivism: A Psychological Theory of Learning” In Fosnot, C. (editor) Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives and Practice” New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 8-33.

Goodyear, P. (1999) Pedagogical Frameworks and Action Research in Open and Distance Learning, Lancaster University: CSALT, Working Paper 99-4-1, [last visited on 10/01/2003].

Wilson, B. (1993) “Constructivism and Instructional Design: Some Personal Reflections”. In: 15th Annual Proceedings of Selected Research and Development Presentations, 1132-1149. New Orleans: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.