Electronic Publishing for Learning (EPL)
(for original detailed information see:
“No matter what we are learning about, how well we participate, from the inside-out, determines the depth, ecology, and efficiency of the process. Improving how well we participate in learning our way through learning objectives is not only the optimal path to learning the particular objectives, it’s the optimal path to improving how well we learn in general”.
Electronic Publishing for Learning is a new kind of learning environment based on a different way of mediating the relationship between information intended to facilitate learning and learners. As a system, EPL mediates a mutually learning oriented relationship between learners, instructors, instructional designers, content providers, and educational administrators. It consists of four components: 1) The “Learner App” 2) The “Authoring Tool” 3) The Feedback Monitor 4) The EPL data base.
The Learner App is a personal learning portal that can run on PCs, Macs, Laptops, Netbooks, Ipads and Android based Tablets (and other coming devices). Learners can log into the App from any compatible device and be immediately returned to where ever they left off regardless of the hardware they are using. Metaphorically, the App is a cross between an electronic book, a game machine, and a Nautilus exercise machine. Subject content are like weights, the electronic book component makes it simple to navigate and the game like qualities make it easy to make high speed choices between (potentially hundreds) of available (learning objective correlated) learning resources. The Learner App is designed to respond to the various kinds of needs that emerge when a person is learning. The principle intention of the interface is to provide an environment that maximizes engagement by being responsive enough to the learner’s articulation of meaning needs that it exercises the learner’s ability to use those needs to pilot their use of the App and therefore their learning. In short, the Learner App provides a way of interacting with information that engages learners’ natural inside-out learning processes within the context of specific (authored) learning objectives.
The Authoring Tool
The Authoring Tool is a WebApp that can be run on virtually any machine that can run a web browser. The tool allow for the creation of (and/or use of previously created) learning materials by authors and instructional designers without requiring the authors or designers to be computer programmers or think like computer programmers. Materials can include text, images, web pages, sounds, videos, EPL sub apps (for branching, simulating, or quizzing/testing) or stand alone software applications. Similar to the Learner App, the design of the Authoring Tool centers on responding to the ‘meaning needs’ of authors. The design is optimized to provide creators the means to express “what they mean” (what they want understood) through many alternative ‘representations’ (including languages), provide reference support for each representation, and to provide sub-steps for each representation. The Authoring Tool automatically manages file management and content connections (linkages), allowing authors to focus on the orders, contexts, experiences and meanings they want to convey. Although the Authoring System might seem similar to traditional hypertext, web and multimedia tools, it is more accurate to describe it as a “hyper context” system. In short, the Authoring Tool is an interface between curriculum, pedagogy, and specific learning objectives, and the creation and management of resources related to them.
The Feedback Monitor
The Learner App has been designed to capture unprecedented detail about each learner’s movement through learning materials and to allow each unsatisfied meaning need to be easily articulated and flow back to the organization (authors, teachers, designers, administrators) as feedback. This information about each learner is then aggregated with that of other learners and topographically summarized to provide the basis for understanding the relevancy and effectiveness of learning materials. The Feedback Monitor provides teachers the information they need to more optimally match materials and instructional strategies to the particular needs of their individual learners. It also allows instructional designers and curriculum designers to see where to cost-optimally target their development efforts. The Feedback Monitor works in conjunction with the Authoring Tool and can launch and position the authoring tool at the exact ‘course coordinates’ the feedback is related to. Similarly, the Feedback Tool can launch and position the Learner App and simulate the learning conditions a Feedback message originated from.
At the heart of EPL is a database designed to minimize the number of network/internet transactions it takes to provide the Learner App with the information it uses to provide learners with choices. We call this “Relevant Random Access“. Essentially the database is constructed around the concept of ‘meaning modules’ or ‘learning objective modules’. Each module in turn has two sub layers. The first is an array of tags and links that inform the Learner App about all the available resources types available in that module (in terms of alternative representations and their representation specific references). This array can convey the equivalent of hundreds of discrete hyperlinks to the Learner App. The second level contains the textual content of the representations. some of the smaller media files, and the URLs of larger media chunks. Thus with a single fast small file transaction the Learner App has all the information it needs to allow learners to see and choose among all the materials available within a module instantly and without ever incurring a network delay until they ask for a larger media chunk.