|Rationale of the Project
|Overall description of the Project
|Objectives of the Project
|Knowledge and Technology to be used
|Methodology of the Project
|Phase of the Project
|European Added Value
|Economical and Social Impact
The project “Multimedia Application for Telematics Educational Network”
(MATEN) contributes to meet the following overall objectives of telematics
1. Providing people with equal access to life-long learning
2. Providing existing interactive materials and applications for learning at home, at school and on the work place
Major specific tasks of the work program relevant to the MATEN project are:
1. Developing new products and services on the bases of existing technologies in tertiari education and on the job training
2. Adapting new innovative tools in the area of collaborative learning and telepresence
3. Raising of awareness, developing standards and guidelines and spreading good practice for use of telematics in education and training.
The project’s strategic approach is evolutionary following the permanent improvement of the methodology and its application through sequential evaluation and validation with different users groups. This evolutionary approach is only one applicable in R&D domains where the technology and the user need are changing rapidly and unpredictable. Telematic educational networks are from significant importance accepting the concept of life-long education needs. These needs towards different context and subject areas could be address to common instructional technology using the results of computer mediated communication (CMC) technical developments.
Nowadays multimedia application in education and training are growing rapidly in a big market established with participation of governmental and private institutions and organizations. Driving factors for this development are the improvement of usability and human computer interface in the design and the development of CAI and CBT products and services. This trend is very stable also in the newest developments, taking Internet as carrier and common platform for courseware development and delivering.
The Internet is used currently as one of the main media for distance education. However, only with the development of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the subsequent introduction of graphical browsers such as Mosaic and Netscape etc, the Internet moved from being text only communication tool to being a powerful multimedia platform whose potential applications are still being investigated. Among these applications, the WWW sites dedicated to instruction are generating new interests in the CMC implementation in distance education. Particular attention in distance education should be paid to “multimedia issue”, whereby communication is not only in text form. Non textual communication is important to the nature of what is being studied: in multimedia educational systems learners can apply to their materials not only text attachments, but also video, sound and complex graphics files.
Multimedia WWW distance delivery platform enhances in effective way the functioning of learner’s cognitive processes, providing very good opportunities for instructional design strategies such as chunking, frames, concept mapping, advance organizer, imagenery, mnemonincs etc. Multimedia based WWW is useful for learners with different kind of cognitive and learning styles (For example: visualizer versus verbalizer; reflector versus activist). WWW multimedia applications enable instructional designer to create well functioning performance support environment. Appart from these advantages, multimedia based WWW nurture as well as in the very appropriate way self-directed study of adult learners.
The main objectives of the project are as follows:
I. To research the impact of different media in the process of knowledge and skills transfer in what way multimedia will effect the results from and attitude to education.
II. To expand the FDLS (Flexible Distance Learning Systems) model to describe possible applications of different multimedia means for using in the curriculum and courseware design.
III. To research the usability and the effectiveness of the multimedia applications for distance WWW-based courseware, extending some courses, developed in the scope of Copernicus Project 1445.
IV. To develop a software tool for course design and development, especially for courses delivered through telematic networks, and mainly on Internet. The tool will include the existing design tool COCOS, improved regarding experience of its use during Copernicus 1445 activities, as well as a new development part, which functionality will be based on experience earned during development and extending of CIT (Communication and Information Technology) course.
V. To develop two new experimental courses, applying the extended FDLS model and using the course design and development tool described in p. IV. The new courses should be:
A. Basics of multimedia for training and learning.
B. Human-computer interactions in training and learning.
VI. To improve the developed in the scope of Copernicus 1445 project telematics network for teacher educators by incorporating multimedia WWW-based technologies to support flexible and distance learning.
VII. To support the organization of centers for distance education in the participatting in the Project countries from Central and Eastern Europe, collaborative courseware development and cooperative teaching at all participant sites
Communication and Information Technologies (CIT) continue to remain on the edge of education, but they must become a key to the future value of the Information Superhighway. Nowadays teachers already have experience in utilising of basic Internet features for distance education, but they still need powerful multimedia features for those educational applications. Educational experts and technology specialists, mainly in the developed countries, became involved in research, development, and implementation of multimedia for education. However, multimedia applications for distance education remains not enough explored area of research. There are good examples of such a research in the Netherlands, Great Britain, and USA.
In many cases WWW sites merely represent classroom materials which are
available as an outside resource to students enrolled in a course. Currently
it is very important task to develop WWW sites offering individuals the
opportunity to complete a course remotely, without the need for attendance
in class and to investigate the WWW innovations that will provide the better
distance learning opportunities for those individuals isolated by geography
or other constraints. Significant part of those innovations are related
to the use of multimedia on the WWW.
Innovations with regard to WWW functionally for distance learning are:
The University of Twente, The Faculty of Educational Science and Technology (The Netherlands) provides regular and master-level programs in educational science and technology for prospective academic staff and R&D specialists. Within this program the particular attention is paid to development of multimedia means and their applications to distance education. Various research projects at the Faculty of Educational Science and Technology investigate the above mentioned problems.
Most of developing countries are on the way to using of multimedia technologies in education, but this countries only begin to make experiments with multimedia means for education. A peculiar situation has arisen in countries of CEE and NIS. In Bulgaria, Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine peripheral educational establishment are on the level of developing countries, but the leading research organizations, universities begin to apply multimedia for face-to-face education. For example, at Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics in Kiev, there were performed projects on developing hyper and multimedia systems. So far, this research has not been integrated with distance education. At present, Eastern educational system needs to adapt modern distance educational technologies from the West. The Copernicus Project 1445 has demonstrated a high level of such a cooperation.
Together with the first research results form Copernicus 1445 (framework and guidelines for flexible and distance learning course development and computer aided structured approach to instructional design and courseware development) a telematic network for teacher educators in all participating sites has been developed and two modular courses for open and distance learning are under development on WWW.
During the Copernicus Project 1445 the methodological model for Flexible
and Distance Learning Systems (FDLS) has been developed. The FDLS model
consists of three main semantical components:
|<FDLS model> = ( <CBC>, < Flexibility >, < Learning
& Tutoring> )
<Flexibility> = (<Openness>, < Media >,<Subject Diversity>, <Teaching Methods>)
<Openness>=(<Language of communication>, <Student background>)
< Media > = (Printed material, E-mail, WWW, CBT, Audio cassettes, Video cassettes, Computer conferencing, Audio conferencing, Video conferencing, etc.)
<Learning&Tutoring> = (<Cognitive theories>, <Instructional strategy>, <Intelligence>)
In distance education, different media are required both to deliver materials and to make learning resources available. With the educational situation varying in terms of their goals, contents, providers, target group, working methods and operational environment, and with the different media being appropriate for different situations, there is no universally applicable model media selection strategy. Different situations call for different media.
During the Copernicus Project 1445 a stable CMC infrastructure has been established between the main participants in the MATEN project. Powerful hardware was installed in Sofia, Kiev and Kaunas so that all necessary technical requirements for transfer of multimedia courseware could be covered. At the same time the participants in the R&D teams improved drastically their knowledge and skills, not only for instructional design point of view, but also from technological one. The involved institutions and organization in CEE countries becomes also leader on the local markets for development and delivery of Web based courses. In the same time this groups received a governmental recognition which makes their legal position stable and strategic oriented.
The MATEN project will promote the existing research in distance education and significantly contribute to fundamental and applied research in many related areas such as informational technology, communications, languages, psychology and education. This project will outline some of the key strategic challenges and directions in applying multimedia for distance education.
The expected scientific results will contribute to the research in the area of Communication and Information Technologies in Flexible and Distance Learning & Teaching and promote their efficient transfer into practical applications. They can be applied to the creation and development of Distant Learning Centres (DLC) in East-European countries and NIS countries. Using the multimedia features, which improves the quality of distance teachin, should be one of the main goal of such Centres.
During the MATEN project some courses developed within Copernicus 1445 project will be expanded by modern multimedia technologies. Two new courses that will be developed during proposed project “Basics of multimedia for training and learning” and “Human-computer interactions in training and learning” are intended to support distance courseware development across the Europe.
The development part of the project will also result in an integrated courseware design and development tool, targeted especially to Internet, which will allow many educational professionals, including teachers, to develop their own courses on telematic networks, using a systematic approach and avoiding the need to know the technical details of telematics.
Both research and development proposed are expected to improve the existing telematics network for teacher educators built within Copernicus 1445 project, by incorporating multimedia WWW-based technologies to support flexible and distance learning.
The partners collaboration will be extended through the creation of DLS. The professional and course development will be extended to team teaching across the involved universities. This provides and important infrastructure to support the creation and further development of new centres. Team teaching will extend the expertise found on any one site and this and related collaborative professional development will foster the spread of expertise and courses in European countries.
The MATEN Project should be based on the two dimensional structural
matrix (see p.3.1) where the separate dimensions are:
The list of R&D topics determines the structure of the work plan (See point 3), while the “lifecycle” dimension determines the structure of the content of the work packages.
Some modules of this matrix can open totally new perspectives
for the interpretation of the project results, like:
The MATEN Project can be accepted as a follow-up research and development
project on some earlyer COPERNICUS projects, what increase the mutual enreachement
and the horisontal links in the COPERNICUS Programme. Two projects manly,
has to be
mentioned in this respect. The COPERNICUS Project 1445 - Flexible and Distance Learning Trough Telematic Networks, prepared the platform and and the basic achievements, necessary for the MATEN Project.
Another important link in the same programme is the COPERNICUS Project 1454 - MULTISERVE - Multimedia Applications in Telecooperation, chaired by German National Research Center for Information Technology (GMD).The concept of MULTISERVE is to establish Satellite Communication links from Germany, primarily to be used for Information Superhighway and Multimedia applications to several locations, scattered at different countries in Eastern Europe.
The MATEN Project is also content related to some TAP Projects, like:
ET 1002 ARIADNE (Alliance For Remote Instructional Autoring and Development Networks For Europe)
ET 3106 TETRISS (Telematics For Education and Training - Intermediate Support Structure)
ET 1024 TRENDS (Training Educators Through Networks and Distributed Systems)
ET 1017 PRONET (Multimedia Computer-Based On-line Training and Support Service for Professionals)
ET1007 DEMOS (Distance Education and Tutotring in Heterogenious Telematics Environments)
To obtain the main results of the project the following tasks will be performed:
1. To choose and evaluate multimedia authoring packages capable
to cope with highly structured and heavily interactive multimedia applications,
synchronise and interact with different media elements.
2. To research instructional design aspects of multimedia information technology at university level, particularly for on-line distance learning.
3. To investigate the application of WWW-based technologies and tools (HTML, Netscape, Java and others) with regard to implementation in flexible and distance learning coursware
4. To analyse the use of multimedia in videoconferencing learning activities on broad band communication platforms and WWW directed conferencing groups.
5. To adapt or develop a client-server database for storage and delivery of multimedia data. The database must be sufficiently rich to support and serve both authoring and learning/teaching environmental needs.
6. To expand two existing Web courses by modern multimedia technologies.
7. To study selected instrumentation tools as main innovation for distant learning platform development and investigate the possibility of adding these instrumentation tools to WWW sites.
8. To expand the FDLS model to describe possible applications of different multimedia means for using in the Curriculum and courseware design .
9. To improve the structure and usability of currently used COCOS course design software, according to principles and experience in design the courses for the Internet.
10. To include course development (writing) part to the software toolbox and to experiment with this part during development of the existing courses.
11. To develop two new distance courses “Basics of multimedia for training and learning” and “Human-computer interactions in training and learning” based on improved FDLS model.
12. To make pilot experiments and evaluation of “Basics of multimedia for training and learning” and “Human-computer interactions in training and learning" courses.
13. To improve the existing telematics network for teacher educators by include new multimedia technologies and tools.
14. To create centres for distance education at all participating sites, where the developed four courses will be used.
15. To promote collaboration and cooperative teaching between the distance education centres.
The process of implementation of new information technologies (NIT) in education and training has different dimensions in the different EU countries, what makes the co-operation in R&D projects very valuable. Exchange of instructional design results and technical solutions, bat also exchange of products (courseware and learning resources and environments) is possible only when well established, telematics educational networks are in operation.
For the motivation of the teachers and trainers, both - from West and East European countries, from great importance are user friendly conditions for the common design, development and implementation of the mentioned above products. This means that the Human-Computer Interface (HCI) has to be developed very carefully, according the instructional but also the psychological domain of contemporary research results. In this direction multimedia technology is increasing rapidly the satisfaction of the high level, theoretical and practical based, HCI requirements, coming from the interdisciplinary nature of the NIT applications in education and training.
There are still lot of problems (in design, technology and organization) for the effective use of multimedia applications in distributed educational settings. Communication facilities often don’t support multimedia courseware delivery, or the costs of the equipment exceed many times the available amount of resources in the educational organization. All those requires permanent innovative R&D work, especially using the functionality of existing and every day used communication platforms (e.g. WWW on the Internet).
The added value for the European countries is coming with the synergetic effect of East-West cooperational projects, where the high-qualified East R&D human potential is associated with the West high-tech industrial results. In the same time the mutual enrichment syndrome,build in the MATEN project organization, is contributing for the integration of the achievements not only in the technology related areas of co-operation, but also in the social ones, where education and training are located. Human Resource Development (HRD) becomes more and more important for the future of common Europe.
Distance education has variety of economical benefits, especially in poor and geographically spread countries and regions. Educating people and training staff wit low budget resources is possible only using self-study approaches and technology-supported methods. Open and distance learning systems are giving also equal career opportunities for countries with social order, different then the developed ones.
The basic principle, to move information instead of physical objects
(teachers and learners), is fundamental for the MATEN project, not only
because of the project outputs implementation areas, but also because of
the development of good praxis examples for CSCW applications in instructional
design and courseware development.
The social impact of the project results is connected with the achievement of the overall objectives of telematics educational programme:
1. Providing people with equal access to life-long learning
2. Providing existing interactive materials and applications for learning at home, at school and on the work place
Significant changes in the socio-economical structure in the East European countries, should require new forms of HRD strategies, based on personalization and individualization of the existing educational and training systems. Open learning and training on the job, using NIT, are the right directions of educational change management. The MATEN project is hardly supporting those directions of further development, delivering experience and practical results, which should be used in the pilot change management local projects and programmes.