Monday, November 5, 2007

CTLT: Visual Representation of e-Learning

Following a meeting last week it became obviously clear that a few of us at CTLT are very interested in supporting an application that allows users to visually represent learning and information in a more interesting, and perhaps useful way. This is as opposed to the generic lists and document libraries currently available in SharePoint.

The idea behind the application is the construction of multi-faceted views that could produce visually connected components of information associated with a students learning process and outcomes. For instance, we might want to showcase the transition in associated assumptions over a period of time as linked to a primary goal or concern represented by the student at the outset of their recorded learning process. The point behind this part of the application would therefore be driven to represent this data in a time-line format, perhaps centering around the core value of the student.

Another possible outcome of the application would be to produce a cognitive map representing the various pieces of interconnected data relevant to the student’s project. This could be accomplished through identifying the connections between user-defined tags and the associations these tags imply to student information. Again, the output could be a visual concept or mind-map as defined by the student. If using a concept map, perhaps the student would need to be able to amend the visual map in order to add explicit semantic relationships between the various components.

Overall, the project is very intriguing as it has the potential for usage outside of the SharePoint application framework. However, more directly it is something that could represent a very novel approach to representing the types of trans-disciplinary and longitudinal learning that CTLT is trying to capture and promote. It also has direct relevance to some of my work with patterns as the application could serve as a foundation for usage with the visual representation of patterns and for the construction of semantic pattern maps.

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