Title: Supporting learners' activities in a distance learning environment

Authors: Christophe Despres, Sebastien George

Addresses: Laboratoire d' Informatique, de l' Universite, du Maine, Institut d' Informatique Claude Chappe, Avenue, Rene Laennec, 72085 Le Mans Cedex 9, France. Laboratoire d' Informatique, de l' Universite, du Maine, Institut d' Informatique Claude Chappe, Avenue, Rene Laennec, 72085 Le Mans Cedex 9, France

Abstract: In this paper, we describe the social context of a distance learning situation between teachers and learners and its cooperative learning activities. The objective is to make learners cooperate through project pedagogy. The project pedagogy is based on experiential learning and consists of learners working together in a team. During their cooperative activities, learners are supported by the system in a way that depends on the difficulties detected and the support style. When the system is no longer able to provide useful advice, learners are supported remotely by the teacher. We describe a model of multi-agent architecture providing this support. This architecture is made up of various communicating agents distributed across a network like the internet. We have developed a distance learning environment, based on this multi-agent architecture, in the field of educational robotics. We give an example to show how teachers can support learners remotely by modifying their interface or by acting on the distant physical device (a micro-robot).

Keywords: distance learning; learning activities; support; cooperation; multi-agent architecture; educational robotics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2001.000398

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2001 Vol.11 No.3, pp.261-272

Published online: 16 Jul 2003 *

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