Despite the existence of numerous standards and specifications in technology-enhanced learning, there is a lack of interoperability of artifacts and services throughout the whole lifecycle of outcome's based education.
ICOPER designed an open architecture that aims to remedy these issues by providing a unified metadata and service layer for making key educational resources shareable, storable, findable, and interoperable. This architecture delivers repository services that best support innovative processes of outcome-oriented higher education. It does so by integrating content providers and content consumers. This architecture creates rich linkages between teaching methods, learning designs, assessment designs, learning content, learning outcomes, achievement profiles, learning opportunities, assessment and evaluation resources. These services are accessible from a variety of environments like authoring environments, learning management systems and personal learning environments. They operate on a critical mass of high quality, reusable content that has been harvested from content providers internal and external to the consortium.
- Adopting a service oriented architecture that makes shareable educational resources accessible from the environments where educational processes take place. Thus maintaining a managed process for the development of an API taking into account developers' feedback.
- Adopting a registry for learning object repositories that maintains consistent technical information and hence improves interoperability.
- Defining a metadata application profile that takes into account rich linkages between shareable educational resources. The use of a validation service is recommended to check both the syntactic and semantic validity of the metadata instances against the used profile.
- Using an identifier service that maintains persistent identifiers for resources that are resilient against changes in layout and naming of services, collections and machines.
- Adopting quality assurance and content acquisition strategies that allow users to access a critical mass of high quality content.
The OICS has harvested a critical mass of high quality educational content through the OAI-PMH protocol. Content was collected from 19 providers totaling around 80,000 resources and providing more than 17,500 documented hours of instructional content. This content is made available to client applications through a Service Oriented Architecture. This architecture allows integration of OICS services into the contexts where outcome related education takes place:
- The Publication Service permits publication of new resources into a collection managed at the OICS. The service publishes a service document that describes the types of objects it accepts for each collection.
- The Search and Retrieval Service provides access to lists of Shareable Educational Resources and supports filtering based on query expressions.
- The Recommendation Service allows retrieving information about like-minded users based on their achievements as learners or learning facilitators.
- The User Management Service gives access to a user store, implemented on the OICS, that allows grouping of users and manipulating learners' learning outcome profiles.
Based on these services, ICOPER has implemented applications that together build a complete workflow of outcome related education:
- Taxonomies for the learning outcomes used in a given institutional context can be published into the OICS.
- Editors of instructional models, like OpenGLM access OICS resources, create new learning designs based on existing teaching methods and link them to learning outcomes managed at the OICS.
- Asset management software (MediaLibrary) and authoring environments (author42) access OICS search services and enable seamless integration of existing media in the authoring process.
- Course management systems (2know2) publish new learning opportunities into the OICS and link them to learning designs, teaching methods and learning outcomes.
- Assessment tools (like the assessment module of .LRN) retrieve assessment designs and assessment methods from the OICS and share annotations about them.
- Learning management systems (Clix, learn eXac, Moodle) make learning designs from the OICS available to teachers. They also publish learners' achievements into their profile stored at the OICS.
- Portfolio systems (Elgg) and social networks (Facebook) have been augmented with functionality allowing users to access their OICS learning outcome profile.
OICS interface at ICOPER web site
OICS client applications
Open ICOPER Content Space
Repository Services for Outcome-based Learning.