Title: Introducing qualitative dimensions to analyse the usefulness of Web 2.0 platforms as PLEs

Authors: Stephane Sire, Evgeny Bogdanov, Denis Gillet, Matthias Palmer, Fridolin Wild

Addresses: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. ' Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. ' Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. ' Uppsala Learning Lab, Uppsala University, von Kraemers alle 1A, 750 02 Uppsala, Sweden. ' Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, Walton Hall, MK7 6AA, Milton Keynes, UK

Abstract: The trends in web development of educational applications and of Web 2.0 or social applications are converging. Platforms are designed to host a variety of software components (called widgets or plugins), which can be organised or combined (mashed-up) at user|s convenience. Such platforms can be exploited as both personalised learning environment (PLE) and as social network applications. This article argues that six qualitative dimensions can be defined to analyse the main features of these platforms: the screen dimension measures the visual integration, the data dimension measures the portability of data, the temporal dimension measures the rate of data synchronisation, the social dimension measures the networking of users, the activity dimension measures the structuring of users| interactions with the environment, and the runtime dimension measures the flexibility in accessing the environment from different end points. As a proof of concept of the introduced dimensions, a few familiar Web 2.0 platforms are first measured along each dimension and then, using the results visualised as spider diagrams, compared with respect to their usefulness as PLEs.

Keywords: comparison; dimensions; personalised learning environments; PLEs; personal learning environment; widgets; mashups; Web 2.0; social computing; technology enhanced learning; social networking; electronic learning; online learning; e-learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTEL.2011.039063

International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 2011 Vol.3 No.1, pp.40 - 60

Published online: 15 Mar 2011 *

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