E-Learning – how do you run and evaluate it without special skills?
The problem for an EU based University running online courses was that the E-learning systems available on the market were complicated to use and required IT skills and resources for teaching materials to be populated in E-learning format.
Although a simple solution might work, it would not give enough functionality for the course to be effective - for example in testing of the knowledge acquired, automating test results and monitoring progress. The project took the form of a competition to develop an E-learning system that would answer their needs.
The next level of requirement was to implement the system in a high-level performance assessment system, scoring not only the performance of the participants but also the performance of the teaching materials and lecturers. The system would enable the implementation of a Data mining Process to analyse the teaching results and evaluate the performance of people involved.
Our answer to the requirements won the competition and was welcomed by the University staff, who praised its simplicity and functionality and the time and cost savings involved in producing the courses.
SPE – standing for “SDART Presentation Engine” - is an E-Learning Management System developed for a European University in the form of a Rich Internet Application. The system has been designed to make the E-learning faster, easier and less expensive for the teaching provider. The system allows course content to be kept in styled XML-based files. In this way the software layer is separated from the presentation layer, so any updating of presentation materials is extremely easy and fast as it only requires use of any XML editor.
The results of the students are analysed by the performance engine to produce information about the teaching materials and knowledge transfer.
The RIA hybrid approach used in the SPE allows use of the rich features of web pages comparable to traditional desktop applications, keeping the flexibility and platform independence of ordinary web pages. The SPE is a micro online learning system that offers the following:
- Simple installation or normally even no installation steps at all
- Safe to use, as the service is less vulnerable to threats than software requiring installation
- Easily available anywhere and anytime for all users with Internet access
- Offers multi-platform support as it is hardware and Operating System independent solution
- Easily updated as all changes are immediately available for all users
- More ergonomic than web pages, as most tasks can be done client-side without constant reloads of web pages
- Has a Graphical User Interface - more attractive than a standard HTML-based service, and easier to develop than a pure HTML-based service
- Course formatting uses standard HTML tags
- Multimedia files support in e-learning courses
- Interactive add-ons may be used to enhance screens functionality
- Automatic e-book generator, that using XML configuration and multimedia files automatically renders PDF course manual
- Can process the data from users, present it in various forms and interact with users
- Has a high speed and fast start-up time
- Has prototyping capabilities
- Does not require any unpopular plug-in
- Has easily customised GUI components
- SPE reduces the time of production even by 70% (estimated value for one of our partners i.e. West Pomeranian Business School)
- Adaptive courses
- Orientation on Web 3.0
- More run-time platforms
- More formats of the generated e-books
- Use of Artificial Intelligence to improve learning