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Intelligent Open Learning Systems: Concepts, Models and Algorithms (Intelligent Systems Reference Library)

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The book addresses the problem known in the literature as Open and Distance Learning (ODL). ODL describes new concepts of the process of learning-teaching organization. ODL is becoming very popular at universities that offer education via online and/or distance learning, both in synchronous or asynchronous modes. More precisely, the book addresses Intelligent Open Learning Systems (IOLS), i.e., the systems where traditional methods of online teaching are enhanced through the use of artificial intelligence methods. Taking this approach helps to achieve the desired teaching goals and greatly improves the quality of student learning. In the book, the IOLS concept is used in the sense of an information system for learning process management. Introduction of the idea of social and information system organization, such as ODL, requires deep analysis of its nature and structure. The complexity and scale of ODL is reflected in the IOLS management capabilities.

IOLS combines characteristics of the traditional understanding of the term Distance Learning and the new understanding of the term Open Learning. The open learning is focused on each individual student. Each and every student actively cooperates with the teacher in order to learn and “discover” new knowledge during their interactions. IOLS is designed to support this kind of collaborative work. It supports the social idea of global understanding and transparency of qualifications, and open access to educational resources. In the framework of new type of education process, such as the European Higher Education, every student in spite of his or her place of residence can participate at different national and/or university educational processes through the use of the Internet and similar technologies. Moreover, each student can achieve her or his educational goals based on personalized learning characteristics.

IOLS is a complex management system. Its many components have their own goals that determine their behavior. Moreover, these components are mutually related but can have conflicting goals. IOLS’s complexity arises from the fact that it strives to satisfy and make use of many different stakeholders and resources: the students, subject matter experts, organizations, IT systems, telecommunication infrastructure, and information and knowledge resources. The success of IOLS implementation depends on the system’s ability to efficiently manage its aggregate components. In order to automate parts of the IOLS the information system for its management should be based on an integrated model. Having such a model is a necessary condition for interpretation of the IOLS as one coherent system.

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