This paper describes the use of Intelligent Agents and Ontologies to implement knowledge navigation and learner choice when interacting with complex information locations. The paper is in two parts: the first looks at how Agent Based Semantic Technology can be used to give users a more personalised experience as an individual. The paper then looks to generalise this technology to allow users to work with agents in hybrid group scenarios. In the context of University Learners, the paper outlines how we employ an Ontology of Student Characteristics to personalise information retrieval specifically suited to an individual’s needs. Choice is not a simple “show me your hand and make me a match” but a deliberative artificial intelligence (AI) that uses an ontologically informed agent society to consider the weighted solution paths before choosing the appropriate best. The aim is to enrich the student experience and significantly re-route the student’s journey. The paper uses knowledge-level interoperation of agents to personalise the learning space of students and deliver to them the information and knowledge to suite them best. The aim is to personalise their learning in the presentation/format that is most appropriate for their needs. The paper then generalises this Semantic Technology Framework using shared vocabulary libraries that enable individuals to work in groups with other agents, which might be other people or actually be AIs. The task they undertake is a formal assessment but the interaction mode is one of informal collaboration. Pedagogically this addresses issues of ensuring fairness between students since we can ensure each has the same experience (as provided by the same set of Agents) as each other and an individual mark may be gained. This is achieved by forming a hybrid group of learner and AI Software Agents. Different agent architectures are discussed and a worked example presented. The work here thus aims at fulfilling the student’s needs both in the context of matching their needs but also in allowing them to work in an Agent Based Synthetic Group. This in turn opens us new areas of potential collaborative technology. Details
Brayshaw M., Nganji J., Gordon N. (2017) Collaborative Hybrid Agent Provision of Learner Needs Using Ontology Based Semantic Technology. In: Zaphiris P., Ioannou A. (eds) Learning and Collaboration Technologies. Technology in Education. LCT 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10296. Springer, Cham
The number of students with disabilities in UK higher education institutions increases every year. Delivering education online is becoming increasingly challenging as institutions encounter some disabilities requiring adjustments of learning environments. The law requires that people with disabilities be given equivalent learning experiences to their non-disabled peers through “reasonable adjustments”. Educational institutions have thus utilised assistive technologies to assist disabled students in their learning, but some of these technologies are incompatible with some learning environments, hence excluding some disabled students and resulting in a disability divide. To solve this problem, amongst other solutions, e-learning personalisation has been used and more recently, this is also achieved using Semantic Web technologies such as ontologies. Nevertheless, as ontologies are incorporated into learning environments little seems to be done to personalise learning for some disabled students. This study, in order to bridge the gap, proposes a personalisation approach based on a disability ontology containing information on various disabilities encountered in higher education, which can be used to present disabled students with learning resources relevant and suitable for their specific needs.
Nganji, J.T., Brayshaw, M. and Tompsett, B. (2011). Ontology-Based E-Learning Personalisation for Disabled Students in Higher Education. Innovation in Teaching and Learning in Information and Computer Sciences, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp. 1-11. [Link to article]
Disability legislations such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, 2005 and Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 call on service providers to make “reasonable adjustments” and “reasonable accommodation” respectively to their services in order to accommodate the needs of disabled people. Higher education institutions as service providers can respond through their services. Nevertheless, there is an increasing challenge in using digital media to deliver services due to the numerous problems associated with inaccessibility of some online systems with assistive/adaptive technologies. Personalisation is a solution to such problems as it provides content to students based on their needs. However, very little of such personalisation has been targeted towards disabled students and hence, this paper proposes an ontology approach for a semantic web community of agents that personalises services to disabled students in higher education. We present the architecture of such an agency, including a disability-aware semantic web agency development methodology and also present the ADOOLES ontology employed for such personalisation.
Nganji, J.T., and Brayshaw, M. (2011). Towards an Ontology-Based Community of Agents for Personalisation of Services for Disabled Students. In: Blashki, K. (Ed.). Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction (IHCI 2011), 24-26 July 2011, Rome, Italy, pp. 193-200. [Link to article PDF]