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A vision for the ELF?

Christina Smart
Last modified 05 Jul, 2005
Published 01 Dec, 2004
We asked some of the international e-Learning framework partners, Dan Rehak, Kerry Blinco and Neil McLean, where they hoped that the ELF would be in five year’s time.

Dan Rehak

Learning Systems Architecture Lab, Carnegie Mellon University (US)

Dan says they’ve been discussing using a service orientated approach for five years already, so it's great that now web service technology has arrived and people are using it. He hopes that in five years time there will be sufficient web service alternatives in each of the ELF service definitions or ‘bricks’ to allow institutions to choose the services most relevant to them and their institutional e-learning infrastructure. We mustn’t lose sight of the ultimate aim which is better learning opportunities for students.

The priority for now is to disseminate ELF to the wider development community in order to keep the framework alive and evolving. Once it is more stable we can look at developing the gaps. JISC is currently funding building of some of the web services, but it will probably take another two years to build and collect ELF web service applications.

Kerry Blinco and Neil McLean

Department of Education, Science and Training (Australia)

Although Kerry Blinco says it would be a brave person who would predict where the ELF would be in five years time, both she and Neil have an air of confidence that the service oriented approach will succeed. That confidence is probably built on the experiences of working with the Tasmanian Education Department who have successfully built a service based education environment. The Learning Architecture Project (LeAP) is delivering a number of interoperable online applications to enhance teaching and learning in 218 schools and colleges across Tasmania.

Another factor is the long history that Australia has in teaching innovation and technology, particularly for distance learning. Canada has similarly been involved in electronic distance learning for many years and is therefore an appropriate partner on the e-learning framework project.

Neil thinks that the framework is now at the cottage industry phase where academics, software developers and policy makers are involved in its development. In five years time Neil predicts that open source web services will have taken off and there will be a proliferation of teaching applications for people to use. At this stage it is important to keep both academics and software developers involved by using an iterative development process for the ELF that everyone feels that they can be part of.

Both Kerry and Neil emphasized the importance of the international collaboration in developing the ELF, which validates the approach in different educational contexts.

 

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