Member of Staff: Research Fellow
Ph.D. Thesis: Adaptive Composition of Personalised Learning Activities
Research Group: Knowledge and Data Engineering Group
e-mail: Ian dot OKeeffe at scss dot tcd dot ie
The Learnovate Centre is an Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland funded, industry-led centre of excellence for innovation and research in technology-enhanced learning. The centre is hosted in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and includes research partners from University College Dublin (UCD), Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and NUI Galway. The centre's research activities are in collaboration with its 55 industry members ranging in size from globally recognised multinationals to indigenous Irish start ups.
The mission of the centre is to enhance the competitive advantage of the Irish eLearning industry by partnering industry with leading academic research groups. The focus of the centre is on the application and transfer of breakthrough technology into measurable learning innovation. The centre's goal is to be a globally recognised, industry-led centre of excellence in applied learning technology research and innovation. To achieve this goal, the Learnovate Centre leverages the collective research expertise and existing investments in a consortium of leading Irish universities and state organisations research, develop empirically proven and industry validated next practice learning technologies. As the centre is an industry initiative, it's industry partners collaborate with the research partners to drive every facet of the centre including the selection of new research projects and the directing existing projects.
Next generation web based information systems and services need to support a step-change for ordinary web users so that available web resources and services can be easily adapted, dynamically (re)composed and personalised for individual user's purposes with minimal (manual) intervention. The goal of the AMAS research programme is to research and develop innovative techniques and technologies to support dynamic, integrated adaptivity and personalisation of web media and services to enable rich re-purposing of existing content and web application services.
The challenge for PERCOLATE was to design and develop research demonstrators aligned to the specific business needs of our industry partners. We developed a collaborative approach with industry, resulting in a suite of next practice learning technology solutions. Tomorrow's learning must be a more flexible, personalised experience where technology supports learning outside traditional environments. Our research solutions provide innovative learning technologies for informal and formal learning within schools, higher education and organisations.
My role on the project was to lead the design and development of one of the demonstrators by a team of engineers from across four research partners. This demonstrator brought together proven research technologies in the area of personalisation, search and social to deliver an innovative on demand learning and performance support platform for corporate learners. In addition, I was also responsible for the implementation of a learning content personalisation service that provided the demonstrator with its content personalisation functionality.
The Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL) is a dynamic Academia-Industry partnership with over 100 researchers developing novel technologies addressing the key localisation challenges of volume, access and personalisation.
Language barriers constitute a formidable obstacle to the free flow of information, products and services in an increasingly globalised economy and information society.
"Localisation" refers to the process of adapting digital content to culture, locale and linguistic environments at high quality and speed. Localisation is a key enabling, value-adding, multiplier component of the global software and content distribution industry. Localisation seeks to overcome language barriers.
Our objective is to produce substantial advances in the basic and applied research underpinning the design, implementation and evaluation of the blueprints for the Next Generation Localisation Factory.
Our mission is to revolutionise localisation via breakthroughs in automation, composition and integration, focusing on: Integrated machine translation technology, Speech-based interfaces and more personalised speech output, Multilingual digital content management for personalised multilingual content access and delivery, Localisation workflows and system integration.
GRAPPLE is an EU FP7 STREP Project. GRAPPLE stands for "Generic Responsive Adaptive Personalized Learning Environment".
The GRAPPLE project aims at delivering to learners a technology-enhanced learning (TEL) environment that guides them through a life-long learning experience, automatically adapting to personal preferences, prior knowledge, skills and competences, learning goals and the personal or social context in which the learning takes place. The same TEL environment can be used/accessed at home, school, work or on the move (using mobile/handheld devices).GRAPPLE will include authoring tools that enable educators to provide adaptive learning material to the learners, including adaptive interactive components (visualizations, simulations, virtual reality). Authoring includes creating or importing content, assigning or extracting meaning from that content, designing learning activities and defining pedagogical properties of and adaptation strategies for the content and activities.
The educational vision that drove the iClass project was that of personalisation through empowerment. The outcome of the work was a suite of pedagogically coherent tools and a set of pedagogical methodologies.
The underlying pedagogical concept of the iClass platform was self-regulated personalised learning within a user centric approach. This was supported by a set of guidelines towards its application to classroom pedagogy, schooling system change, content development, evaluation, dissemination and exploitation. The system was designed to boost a pupil's motivation to learn by personalising the learning process, placing an emphasis on self-direction and self-reliance, and trusting the learner to make mindful and meaningful choices. This allowed for the tailoring of teaching and learning experiences to individual preferences and needs.
Recognising the increasing importance of informal, as well as lifelong, learning, the web-based iClass platform provided pupils with ubiquitous access and is well placed to link seamlessly the formal and informal learning environment. By promoting greater self-reliance and a passion for inquiry among pupils, iClass helps equip them with crucial attitudes for the emerging knowledge-based economy, which requires people to update and upgrade their skills and knowledge constantly throughout their lives.
Besides supporting learners, iClass also considered the crucial role of teachers in the learning process. With the iClass environment, teachers are empowered through tools and a methodology in order to design and deliver personalised learning. In practice, this means that teachers create learning plans based on a goal to be achieved, suggesting sub-goals and activities, while some activities can be left open for the student to shape. The platform also recognises that the school curriculum in different countries places different demands on teachers, and so has built-in flexibility to allow the system to be customised.
Staikopoulos, A., O'Keeffe, I., Yousuf, B., Conlan, O., Walsh, E., Wade, V. (2015). Enhancing Student Engagement through Personalized Motivations. In IEEE 15th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT) IEEE.
A lack of appropriate engagement in online learning courses is a significant factor leading to poor performance and high dropout rates. This paper presents a framework that provides personalized motivations in the form of feedback, advices and reminders in order to enhance the engagement of students with online learning. It also describes the design, implementation and evaluation of the framework which has been used by over one hundred students. The paper focuses on how the framework by modelling and monitoring the level of engagement of students, it provides tailored motivations to stimulate and sustain their engagement. Finally, the paper compares the results from a previous student cohort (where no motivations were provided) to highlight how the framework has significantly increased the level of engagement of students.
Staikopoulos, A., O'Keeffe, I., Conlan, O. (2015). Lessons Learned-15 Years of Delivering Real-World Pedagogically Driven Courses Using Experimental Platforms. User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization, 228-239
Advancing research and developing innovative personalization platform whilst at the same time striving to evolve and improve learning experiences for learners, is a challenging prospect. This may be achieved through a longitudinal commitment to developing real-world educational offerings that are used in the daily delivery of learning experiences. This gives the opportunity to continuously apply methods, develop platforms and perform evaluations to realize improvements in the field of user modeling and personalization as well as improving the user experiences they support. In addition, there are specific requirements and obstacles that need to be considered like the robustness and reliability of the experimental platform in order to make this process viable and integrated both with the daily tasks of users and the core business activities of the institution. In this paper, we record our experiences in delivering real-world online courses using experimental platforms that advance personalization and user modeling techniques for over 15 years. We also describe how our research and technology, which is driven by solid pedagogical requirements, has evolved during that time in order to deliver richer learning experiences.
Staikopoulos, A., O'Keeffe, I., Rafter, R., Walsh, E., Yousuf, B., Conlan, O., Wade, V. (2014). AMASE : A framework for composing adaptive and Personalised Learning Activities on the Web. Computer Science and Information Systems 2014 Volume 11, Issue 1, Pages: 343-367
Personalised web information systems have in recent years been evolving to provide richer and more tailored experiences for users than ever before. In order to provide even more interactive experiences as well as to address new opportunities, the next generation of Personalised web information systems needs to be capable of dynamically personalising not just web media but web services as well. In particular, eLearning provides an example of an application domain where learning activities and personalisation are of significant importance in order to provide learners with more engaging and effective learning experiences. This paper presents a novel approach and technical framework called AMASE to support the dynamic generation and enactment of Personalised Learning Activities, which uniquely entails the personalisation of media content and the personalisation of services in a unified manner. In doing so, AMASE follows a narrative approach to personalisation that combines state of the art techniques from both adaptive web and adaptive workflow systems.
Conlan, O., Staikopoulos, A., Hampson, C., Lawless, S., & O'Keeffe, I. (2013). The narrative approach to personalisation. New Review of Hypermedia and Personalisation, (July 2013), 37-41.
This article describes the narrative approach to personalisation. This novel approach to the generation of personalised adaptive hypermedia experiences employs runtime reconciliation between a personalisation strategy and a number of contextual models (e.g. user and domain). The approach also advocates the late binding of suitable content and services to the generated personalised pathway resulting in an interactive composition that comprises services as well as content. This article provides a detailed definition of the narrative approach to personalisation and showcases the approach through the examination of two use-cases: the personalised digital educational games developed by the ELEKTRA and 80Days projects; and the personalised learning activities realised as part of the AMAS project. These use-cases highlight the general applicability of the narrative approach and how it has been applied to create a diverse range of real-world systems
Staikopoulos, A., O'Keeffe, I., Rafter, R., Walsh, E., Yousuf, B., Conlan, O., & Wade, V. (2012). AMASE : A framework for composing adaptive and Personalised Learning Activities on the Web. In Proceedings of 11th International Conference on Advances in Web-Based Learning (pp. 190-199). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Personalised Web information systems have in recent years been evolving to provide richer and more tailored experiences for users than ever before. In order to provide even more interactive experiences as well as to address new opportunities, the next generation of Personalised Web information systems needs to be capable of dynamically personalising not just web media but web services as well. In particular, eLearning provides an example of an application domain where learning activities and personalisation are of significant importance for engaging and enhancing the learning experience of a learner. This paper presents a novel approach and technical framework called AMASE to support the dynamic generation and enactment of Personalised Learning Activities, which uniquely entails the personalisation of media content and the personalisation of services in a unified manner. In doing so, AMASE combines state of the art techniques from both adaptive web and adaptive workflow systems.
O'Keeffe, I., Staikopoulos, A., Rafter, R., Walsh, E., Yousuf, B., Conlan, O., & Wade, V. (2012). Personalized Activity Based eLearning. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies (i-Know '12).
The aim of personalizing web information systems is to tailor content (media) to the user's personal preferences, goals and context, in turn increasing the reusability of that content. However, most developers are increasingly seeking to apply 'Web as a Platform' based approaches where web-based content is integrated with web services to provide the platform and environment features that were traditionally offered by desktop environments and applications. Therefore, next generation personalized web information systems need to be capable of dynamically personalizing, adapting and integrating web content and web services to create customized experiences for individual users. The goal of the research presented in this paper is to provide innovative techniques and technologies to achieve this. As part of this research, a novel architecture for the generation of Personalized Learning Activities, which highlights both the need for, and the power of combining and personalizing content and services has been developed. The system has been evaluated in the context of a Higher Education use case based on the user's perception of three key elements of the Personalized Learning Activity: the personalization, the usability and the educational benefits.
O'Keeffe, I., O'Connor, A., Cass, P., Lawless, S., & Wade, P. (2012). Linked open corpus models, leveraging the semantic web for adaptive hypermedia. HT '12 Proceedings of the 23rd ACM conference on Hypertext and social media (pp. 321-322). ACM New York, NY, USA
Despite the recent interest in extending Adaptive Hypermedia beyond the closed corpus domain and into the open corpus world of the web, many current approaches are limited by their reliance on closed metadata model repositories. The need to produce large quantities of high quality metadata is an expensive task which results in silos of high quality metadata. These silos are often underutilized due to the proprietary nature of the content described by the metadata and the perceived value of the metadata itself. Meanwhile, the Linked Open Data movement is promoting a pragmatic approach to exposing, sharing and connecting pieces of machine-readable data and knowledge on the WWW using an agreed set of best practices. In this paper we identify the potential issues that arise from building personalization systems based on Linked Open Data.
O'Keeffe, I., & Wade, V. (2012). Personalizing Educational Activities. In IEEE 12th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT) (pp. 460-461). IEEE.
Web information systems developers are increasingly seeking apply a 'Web as a Platform' based approach in which web based content and web services are integrated to provide the platform and environment features that are typically offered by desktop environments and applications. Taking such an approach, next generation Personalized Web information systems need to be capable of both dynamically personalizing web media and web services to create customized experiences tailored to the needs, tasks and context of the user. This paper discusses the design, implementation of a framework capable of generating and delivering Personalized Educational Activities. This framework is capable of effectively generating adaptive service work flows and adaptively composing multimedia content, seamlessly integrating the adaptive selection, composition and presentation of content and services based on an educationally driven strategy.
O'Keeffe, I., & Wade, V. (2009). Personalised Web Experiences: Seamless Adaptivity across Web Service Composition and Web Content. In User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (pp. 480-485). Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.
Users have become accustomed to a web that is more than an interactive hypermedia but is a complex mix of rich multimedia services and hypermedia content. Users are now contributors and active participants on the web. However, Pesonalisation technologies, such as Adaptive Hypermedia, have so far focused almost exclusively on adaptive content delivery resulting in their failure to become a high impact technologies. The absence of rich multimedia services in the current generation of Adaptive Hypermedia Systems means that they do not live up to the expectations of users. By providing personalised web experiences that combine both services and content in a seamless environment such systems could not only live up to the expectations of users but could exceed them. This paper presents a system that supports the adaptive selection and sequencing of both content and services in a unified manner. By applying techniques used in content based Adaptive Hypermedia to services with making use of the state of the art in service composition, this system delivers personalised web experiences that combine adaptively selected and sequenced content and services. The integration of appropriate content with services can improve the experience of the user as well as making the activity more efficient.
Conlan, O., O'Keeffe, I., Brady, A., & Wade, V. (2007). Principles for Designing Activity-based Personalized eLearning. In Seventh IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT 2007) (pp. 642-644).
Activity-based Personalized eLearning involves delivering to a learner a learning experience that is tailored to their individual needs. Traditionally, these needs have been met through the personalized selection of content that fits the learner's preferences. However, by coupling this approach with the possibilities of interactive services a more engaging form of personalized education may be realized. This paper describes the design principles for producing activity-based personalized distance learning offerings.
O'Keeffe, I., Conlan, O., Wade, V., & Brady, A. (2006). Just-in-time Generation of Pedagogically Sound, Context Sensitive Personalized Learning Experiences. International Journal on eLearning (IJeL), 5(1), 113-127.
The just-in-time generation of personalized learning experiences requires the assembly of atomic learning assets into coherent learning activities for a learner, based on their preferences and requirements. Through the appropriate application of strategy to a learner's learning activities the effectiveness and efficiency of their learning can increase significantly. The strategies behind this process should be pedagogically informed to ensure the learning experience is suitable for the learner and the environment in which they are carrying out their learning. By utilizing appropriate pedagogical strategies in the personalization process, learning objects generated for a learner will not only be appropriate to what they wish to learn, but also to how they should learn it. This paper describes the Selector and LO Generator services of the iClass IST project and the approach taken to producing pedagogically sound personalized learning experiences using a standards based approach.
O'Keeffe, I., Conlan, O., & Wade, V. (2006). A Unified Approach to Adaptive Hypermedia Personalisation and Adaptive Service Composition. In V. Wade, H. Ashman, & B. Smyth (Eds.), Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web Based Systems (pp. 303-307). Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.
Adaptive Hypermedia is utilised in several domains, such as eLearning and professional training, where there is a growing movement towards the use of cognitively richer and more 'active' approaches to user engagement. In order to support this move, it is vital that adaptive personalisation systems, in these domains, are capable of integrating adaptively composed activities into adaptively personalised content compositions. Through the integration of the approaches that are used in the automated composition of web services with those found in Adaptive Hypermedia, we believe that it will be possible to support a unified approach to the adaptation of content and services through the leveraging of the characteristics that are common to both adaptive application domains.
Conlan, O., O'Keeffe, I., & Tallon, S. (2006). Combining Adaptive Hypermedia Techniques and Ontology Reasoning to Produce Dynamic Personalized News Services. In V. Wade, H. Ashman, & B. Smyth (Eds.), Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web Based Systems (pp. 81-90). Springer-Verlag.
Applying traditional Adaptive Hypermedia techniques to the personalization of news can pose a number of problems. The first main difficulty is the fact that news is inherently dynamic, thus producing an ever shifting pool from which content can be sourced. The second difficulty arises when trying to model a users interests and how they may be related to the available news items. This paper investigates the use of ontologies as a means of providing semantic bridges between available news items from RSS news feeds and the interests of a user. Specifically, it investigates the combination of AH techniques with the ideas of loose and strict ontologies as the basis for personalization. This combination is highlighted through the design, development and evaluation of the Personalized News Service (PNS), which is based on the APeLS architecture.
Conlan, O., O'Keeffe, I., Hampson, C. & Heller, J. (2006). Using Knowledge Space Theory to support Learner Modeling and Personalization. In T. Reeves & S. Yamashita (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2006 (pp. 1912-1919). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
A learner's knowledge is often the key aspect towards which personalized eLearning systems attempt to adapt. However, the assessment of their knowledge usually involves tedious and time consuming questionnaires or making stereotypical assumptions about what they know. The Knowledge Space Theory (KST) offers a means of efficiently and effectively determining the current knowledge of a learner. By applying this theory to the analysis and determination of a learner's knowledge, highly configurable adaptive systems, such as the Adaptive Personalised eLearning Service (APeLS), can provide highly dynamic event driven personalized adaptations based on up-to-date information about the learner. This paper describes the culmination of collaborative research that has been carried out by Knowledge and Data Engineering Group of Trinity College, Dublin and the Cognitive Science Section of the University of Graz under the auspices of several European Commission funded projects.