JCJC SIMI 2 - JCJC - SIMI 2 - Science informatique et applications

Specification of GRAPHIcal Visual Instructional Design Languages centered on LMS languages and directed towards Teachers-designers needs and practices – GRAPHIT

Specification of GRAPHIcal Visual Instructional Design Languages centered on LMS languages and directed towards Teachers-designers needs and practices

Practitioners using existent Learning Management Systems within their academic organizations ask for appropriate tools helping them in focusing on the design of learning situations. <br />Current proposals rely on a same underlying idea about extending LMSs by large add-ons (editors or runtime engines) and new semantics. On the contrary, we suggest to exploit the LMS implicit learning design language in order to allow the elaboration of external, well- suited and dedicated authoring tools.

For a better understanding and use of existent Learning Management Systems

Many schools, public or private, provide teachers and students with some Learning Management Systems (LMS) or educative platforms. Although they are generally used for online education, these platforms are also useful when combined with face- to-face teaching for blended learning: from a simple online access to resources, to complex collaborative learning situations, over several weeks, involving a strong use of the platform communication features. In order to set up such complex activities, teachers must develop high-level skills about how to use the existent LMS: how and when managing and sequencing the available features and tools. Such skills can be acquired through specific teacher education programs, generally focusing on the featuring and technical aspects of the platform, but few courses are about how to design learning situations on the LMS (specific learning design). Because of the multiplicity of educational theories and approaches, as well as the lack of tools and processes dedicated to existent LMSs, teachers develop some ad hoc and individual learning design techniques (whether or not using some computerized tools). They also rarely use learning design tools and languages from research works if these research results are not explicitly encouraged and guided by their academic institution. In such contexts, it seems relevant to help teachers in focusing on the design for the specific LMS they have at their disposal. Whereas improving more and more their know and know-how about the platforms features, a focus on the instructional design possibilities and how they can rely on the platform features should encourage individual reflection about their needs and practices and, by extension, lead to the emergence of communities of practices. We on purpose propose an LMS-centered designing approach in opposition to usual and LMS- independent approaches.

Our main goal is to study the possibilities and limits about the pedagogical expressiveness for operationalizable languages to specify: future leaning scenarios could be fully deployed and automatically operated on an existent Learning Management System (LMS). Such languages aim at promoting and improving the uses of current LMSs by providing practitioners with some LMS-specific designing language and authoring-tool.
For every considered LMS, we propose:
a/ to make explicit the platform instructional design domain;
b/ to extend the learning platform with an adaptative import/export API,
c/ to make explicit teachers' designing needs & practices for this platform,
d/ to specify and tool some LMS-centered and practitioners-directed instructional design languages and editors.
The main challenge of this project is to abstract enough the LMS instructional design to propose teachers some higher design blocks. The LMS expressiveness and limits have to be overcome in order to offer teachers some instructional design mechanisms closer to their practices and needs for specifying and sequencing the learning activities to perform. Our idea is to conduct the platform abstraction in accordance with the formalization of future learning scenarios. This LMS-centered approach guarantees that learning scenarios could be operationalized into the LMS. The underlying scientific issue relies on the identification of the inter-relation between pedagogical expressiveness and operationalization support.
The Graphit project exploits two methodological frameworks: i) Requirement Engineering and Pedagogical Patterns for the identification and formalization of practitioners’ designs needs and practices, ii) Model driven Engineering and Domain Specific Modeling for the formalization of the LMS instructional design domain and for the specification and development of the instructional design languages and graphical tools.

The main scientific result expected is about the proposition of Model Driven Engineering methods and techniques allowing to design meta-models on top of other ones while guiding the specification of their semantics relationships into meta-models transformation rules. Indeed, this point is at the intersection of MDE and instructional design domains, and has never been addressed or tackled, as proposed, by other research works. Also, the elaboration of Visual Instructional Design Languages with some Domain Specific Modeling techniques and tools is a concrete approach very promising and interesting for the VIDLs community. Indeed, one rarely tackled point of research works about VIDLs is the machine-readability and exploitation of specified models.
The most important expected product can be considered as the specific instructional design tooling we aim to produce. It will embeds several graphical editors, a design-pattern oriented authoring-tool, and some transformation rules and services included to the VIDLs editors to automatize the learning scenarios translations, and a communication API for operationalizing the learning situations.

The focus on the elaboration of Visual Instructional Design Languages (VIDLs) is one of the central thematic points we aim to develop as a future expertise. Another central points for which we aim to improve our expertise concerns the Model Driven Engineering and Domain Specific Modeling techniques and tools. Although this project relies on past and present research works, it will allow us to tackle issues identified by the VIDL community (notation systems for instructional design, Visual design applications and editing/authoring tools, Computational modeling in VIDLs, Pattern-based visual instructional design, Meta-models for VIDLs, etc.) and will let us propose some original contributions. Also, although this JCJC proposition shares some thematics and research topics already dealt within our Lab team, it stands out by its strong position centered on LMSs (a specific TEL- environment), its original “from-LMS-to-practitioners” approach, its strong VIDL object-of-study, and its large use of software engineering methods, and techniques as methodological tools to apply.

Several communications in conferences and journals will be published. Some are already availables and listed on the project website.

This research project context is about teachers-designers using Learning Management Systems within their academic organizations. Despite all instructional design propositions, the operationalization of learning scenarios into an LMS is still an issue. These practitioners also ask for appropriate tools helping them in understand the underlying “way of thinking and designing” of their LMS. We aim at supporting practitioners to overcome these LMS' obstacles in order to help them in focusing on the design of learning situations. Current proposals rely on a same underlying idea about evolving existent LMS by large add-ons (editors or runtime engines) and new semantics. On the contrary, we suggest to exploit this implicit language in order to allow the elaboration of some external, well-suited and dedicated authoring tools. The main idea of this project is to provide teachers-designers with some graphical Visual Instructional Design Languages, and their dedicated editors, taking into account their practices and needs, while ensuring that produced models will be operationalized without major semantics losses into the targeted LMS. We originally propose to develop VIDLs on top of the LMS internal language in order to insure the binding issue and the semantics mapping. To this aim, we will identify and formalize the LMS implicit instructional design language. By only extending LMS with a dedicated communication API, binding issues will be addressed. We propose then to target teachers-designers instructional design needs and practices, capturing into analysis&design patterns,. by developing VIDLs designed on top of the LMSs languages by some Model-Driven Engineering and Domain-Specific Modeling techniques and tools. The main issue will consist in the proposition of techniques for specifying meta-models both based on the LMS semantics and directed towards the practitioners' one.

Project coordination

Pierre LAFORCADE (UNIVERSITE DU MAINE) – pierre.laforcade@univ-lemans.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 157,568 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 42 Months

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