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8. Issue

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Eighth Issue - June 2012


Recently I stumbled upon Dörte Giebel's review of e-learning trend predictions that are yearly published in a new Horizon report. She notes that game-based learning and augmented reality, although predicated to spread in 2010 and 2013, did not really lift off and the hype about open content and open educational resources did also not mature to a daily practice as assumed two or there years ago. I share Dörte's preference of mobile apps, tablet computing and learning analytics to be the most interesting trends among those forecast in the report, while it is difficult to judge possible impacts of gesture-based computing and the Internet of Things, which are sketched at the horizon of 4 or five years.

Apple seems to claim leadership in educational apps for mobile gadgets but most of these are aiming at kindergarten, k12, and general education but not much exists in higher education. Another approach pushed by this company is iBooks, which primarily target the open courseware community and exploit tablet-computing features of the iPad.

The constantly growing field of research and applications in learning analytics follows the example of (web) business analytics and uses a range of methods, including log file analysis, data and text mining, learner tracking and monitoring, process mining, and behavior analysis or social network analysis to obtain feedback on technical, pedagogical and social aspects of learning. Aspects of interest include: the learning effectiveness of certain e-learning tools or integrated tool environments, weaknesses and improvement potential in educational methods and content, learning styles, or group effects. A necessary prerequisite for learning analytics are mass data that can now be accumulated in virtual learning environments, learning management systems, and other learning tools.

A recent EDUCAUSE report entitled Analytics in Higher Education: Establishing a Common Language develops a unifying conceptual framework of the various types of analytics found in literature. A tech report of the British Knowledge Media Institute presents a review of the state of learning analytics in 2012. We strongly encourage readers who are or have been involved in leaning analytics projects to communicate their findings in the form of a project report or a scientific paper.

We are grateful to Erik Duval and Katrien Verbert for their survey article on Learning Analytics, which provides a good start into this topic. Further this issue of eleed presents the usual mix of scientific articles, project reports, book reviews, and other community-related information. Ramón Garrote's paper about the use of learning management systems combines learning analytics and interview techniques. In the context of WebCT, the author compares usage data of communication and collaboration tools collected in 2004 and again 5 years later to understand possible changes in tool usage over the years.

The articles Matching form with content and Language Learning in a 3D Virtual World present two different environments for language learning. While the former aims at reducing the visibility of the underlying technology of the authors' computer-assisted environment, the latter employs Second Life (SL) - an online virtual world - for interactive language learning. In this new approach students do not attend a class in SL; instead, the learning experience is based on solving tasks by interacting with robotic agents.

Helen Crompton's paper about How Web 2.0 is Changing the Way Students Learn is more a feature than a research article. It puts the learning paradigm in the context of Web 2.0 and discusses two specific aspects of this perspective: Darwikinism and Folksonomy. Darwinkinism related Darwin's theory of evolution with processes typically observed in Wikis, while folksonomy adapts the idea of creating taxonomies on the fly as users collect and tag sources found in the Web. Helen picks on Prensky's construction of digital natives that is discussed controversially in Schulmeister's article about the net generation published earlier in this journal.

The project report about the use of Moodle presents the results of a survey among teachers on the use of this tool for face-to-face teaching in a Portuguese private higher education institution. Furthermore, we have four project reports on Probado, edu-sharing, DMG-Lib and OpenSC that grew out of a concluding workshop held earlier this year at the FernUniversität. All projects were funded for about 5 years by the German Science Foundation (DFG) under the umbrella theme "Centers of Excellence for Research Information - Digital Text and Data Centers for Science and Open Research" and are more or less related to e-learning.

Let me conclude this editorial with a personal matter: Having been in the editorial board since the very beginning, I am stepping back from the role of an editor-in-chief with this issue as my time with FernUniversität will come to an end soon. The editorial board is overly happy that Jörg Haake, an outstanding colleague at FernUniversität, agreed to take over. Jörg has been an active researcher in e-learning for 12 years. This year he is chairing DeLFi 2012, the annual e-learning conference of the German Computer Society. Jörg's original field of interest is computer-supported collaborative work and learning, with a focus on context-based adaptive collaborative learning environments and learning support for communities of practice. From the next issue on, you will hear more from him as the new editor-in-chief.

Bernd Krämer
Editor-in-Chief, eleed

Articles / Beiträge
  1. Learning Analytics
  2. The use of learning management systems: A Longitudinal Case Study
  3. Matching form with content
  4. Language Learning in 3D Virtual World
  5. How Web 2.0 is Changing the Way Students Learn: The Darwikinism and Folksonomy Revolution
Project reports / Projektberichte
  1. Using Moodle as a support tool for teaching in Higher Education in Portugal: an exploratory study
  2. Workshop: Centers of Excellence for Research Information – Digital Text and Data Centers for Science and Open Research
  3. PROBADO – A Digital Library System for Heterogeneous Non-textual Documents
  4. CampusContent and the Repository Network edu-sharing
  5. Open European Nephrology Science Center
  6. DMG-Lib - The Digital Mechanism and Gear Library
Book descriptions / Buchbeschreibungen
  1. Taxonomie von Unterrichtsmethoden
  2. eLearning - Konzept und Drehbuch
  3. Bildungsdienstleistung eLearning
Dissertations / Dissertationen
  1. Fortbildung online: Entwicklung, Erprobung und Evaluation eines tutoriell betreuten Online-Selbstlernangebots für Lehrkräfte