Simplifying Authoring of Adaptive Hypermedia Structures in an eLearning Context
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In an eLearning context, Adaptive Hypermedia Systems have been developed to improve learning success by increasing learner satisfaction, learning speed, and educational effectiveness. However, creating adaptive eLearning content and structures is still a time consuming and complicated task, in particular if individual lecturers are the intended authors. The way of thinking that is needed to create adaptive structures as well as the workflows is one that lecturers are unaccustomed to. The aim of this research project is to develop a concept that helps authors create adaptive eLearning content and structures, which focuses on its applicability for lecturers as intended authors. The research is targeted at the sequencing of content, which is one of the main aspects of adaptive eLearning. To achieve this aim the problem has been viewed from the author’s side. First, in terms of complexity of thoughts and threads, explanations about content structures have been found in storytelling theory. It also provides insights into how authors work, how story worlds are created, story lines intertwined, and how they are all merged together into one content. This helps us understand how non technical authors create content that is understandable and interesting for recipients. Second, the linear structure of learning content has been investigated to extract all the information that can be used for sequencing purposes. This investigation led to an approach that combines existing models to ease the authoring process for adaptive learning content by relating linear content from different authors and therefore defining interdependencies that delinearise the content structure. The technical feasibility of the authoring methods for adaptive learning content has been proven by the implementation of the essential parts in a research prototype and by authoring content from real life lectures with the prototype’s editor. The content and its adaptive structure obtained by using the concept of this research have been tested with the prototype’s player and monitor. Additionally, authoring aspects of the concept have been shown along with practical examples and workflows. Lastly, the interviewees who took part in expert interviews have agreed that the concept significantly reduces authoring complexity and potentially increases the amount of lecturers that are able to create adaptive content. The concept represents the common and traditional authoring process for linear content to a large extent. Compared to existing approaches the additional work needed is limited, and authors do not need to delve into adaptive structures or other authors’ content structures and didactic approaches.
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