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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Julius T. Nganji and Mike Brayshaw

The purpose of this paper is to address how virtual learning environments (VLEs) can be designed to include the needs of learners with multiple disabilities. Specifically…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address how virtual learning environments (VLEs) can be designed to include the needs of learners with multiple disabilities. Specifically, it employs AI to show how specific learning materials from a huge repository of learning materials can be recommended to learners with various disabilities. This is made possible through employing semantic web technology to model the learner and their needs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews personalised learning for students with disabilities, revealing the shortcomings of existing e-learning environments with respect to students with multiple disabilities. It then proceeds to show how the needs of a student with multiple disabilities can be analysed and then simple logical operators and knowledge-based rules used to personalise learning materials in order to meet the needs of such students.

Findings

It has been acknowledged in literature that designing for cases of multiple disabilities is difficult. This paper shows that existing learning environments do not consider the needs of students with multiple disabilities. As they are not flexibly designed and hence not adaptable, they cannot meet the needs of such students. Nevertheless, it is possible to anticipate that students with multiple disabilities would use learning environments, and then design learning environments to meet their needs.

Practical implications

This paper, by presenting various combination rules to present specific learning materials to students with multiple disabilities, lays the foundation for the design and development of learning environments that are inclusive of all learners, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. This could potentially stimulate designers of such systems to produce such inclusive environments. Hopefully, future learning environments will be adaptive enough to meet the needs of learners with multiple disabilities.

Social implications

This paper, by proposing a solution towards developing inclusive learning environments, is a step towards inclusion of students with multiple disabilities in VLEs. When these students are able to access these environments with little or no barrier, they will be included in the learning community and also make valuable contributions.

Originality/value

So far, no study has proposed a solution to the difficulties faced by students with multiple disabilities in existing learning environments. This study is the first to raise this issue and propose a solution to designing for multiple disabilities. This will hopefully encourage other researchers to delve into researching the educational needs of students with multiple disabilities.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2013

Julius T. Nganji, Mike Brayshaw and Brian Tompsett

The purpose of this paper is to show how personalisation of learning resources and services can be achieved for students with and without disabilities, particularly…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how personalisation of learning resources and services can be achieved for students with and without disabilities, particularly responding to the needs of those with multiple disabilities in e‐learning systems. The paper aims to introduce ONTODAPS, the Ontology‐Driven Disability‐Aware Personalised E‐Learning System, which has the mechanism for such personalisation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews current e‐learning systems that provide personalisation for students, including their strengths and weaknesses. The paper presents personalisation and its techniques and then presents ONTODAPS, which personalises learning resources and services to students. In total, three case studies are considered to show how personalisation is achieved using ONTODAPS.

Findings

This paper shows that it is possible to use automated ontology‐based agents intercommunicating to provide an effective personalisation for disabled students. The results reveal that ONTODAPS is flexible enough to provide enough control and freedom to drive their learning. The results also suggest that ONTODAPS has the ability to provide appropriate levels of learner control by allowing them to self‐direct learning through personalising learning resources and then allowing them to choose which resources they wish to access. This thus gives them a sense of ownership and control.

Research limitations/implications

This research reveals that it is possible for e‐learning systems to personalise learning for users with multiple disabilities. Thus, by considering the needs of such users and consulting them in the design and development process, developers of e‐learning systems can produce systems that are both accessible and usable by students with disabilities.

Practical implications

The inclusion of multiple formats of learning resources and personalisation of their presentation to students means students will have increased access to such resources, with the potential of consuming and assimilating the information. This also has the potential of improving understanding and hence and improvement in results.

Social implications

This research shows that ONTODAPS is a medium where disabled students can have equivalent learning experience with their non‐disabled peers. This could potentially increase access to learning for disabled students and possibly help improve their results due to an increase in accessibility of learning resources and usability of the system. This system thus complies with contemporary legislation which requires “reasonable adjustments” or “reasonable accommodations” to be made to meet the needs of disabled people.

Originality/value

Although personalisation has been applied in e‐commerce systems, making them very successful, such personalisation is still a wish for e‐learning systems which struggle to catch up. This research proposes a solution in the e‐learning domain and its novelty is in its application to disabled students, including those with multiple disabilities.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

Keywords

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