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CU International European Financed Study & Development Initiative Case Study

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Establishing Requirements for a Mobile Learning System Helen Sharp, Josie Taylor, Diane Evans and Debra Haley The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK 1. Background MOBIlearn was a large, multinational European-funded research and development project that explored new ways to use mobile environments to meet the needs of learners, working by themselves and with others. The aim of the project was to develop a new m-learning architecture for a pedagogically-sound mobile learning environment, and to evaluate an instantiation of that architecture using existing technologies. A user-centred approach was taken to the project, based on sociocognitive engineering (Sharples et al, 2002) and embedded in ISO 13407. The project team consisted of representatives from more than 15 organisations from seven European countries plus one Middle Eastern country. Establishing the requirements for such a project was a complex task, involving many methods and notations. The project produced several documents and results; some of these are available at Publications specifically related to mobile learning are available at This case study draws only on work from the user requirements and evaluation workpackage to explore the use of scenarios throughout the project and the use of the Volere shell and template (Robertson and Robertson, 2006) to document the requirements. The next section introduces the three strands used as learning domains throughout the project. Section 3 describes the use of scenarios throughout the project and Section 4 discusses the use of Volere shells and the technology to support them. In Section 5 we conclude by making some observations about our experiences. 2. The three strands The project chose three learning domains to drive the research, each of which represents a distinct learning situation. These are: the Museum strand, the MBA strand and the Health strand. Data gathering for establishing requirements was conducted by a different project partner, each strand used different data gathering techniques, and each produced its own set of requirements which needed to be rationalised. The three strands and their respective data gathering techniques are outlined below. Museum strand This strand typifies informal learning and concerns visitors to a museum. Museums are the mechanism through which we research, interpret and present our insights into the natural and cultural worlds. They represent our belief systems concerning cultural inter-relationships, our relationship with the environment and of our place in the Universe. Wireless technology is becoming a part of the museum experience. In an effort to bring art and science to life for a new generation of technically sophisticated patrons, an increasing number of museums are experimenting with advanced mobile technologies to make museum going more interactive, more educational — and more fun. Newly emerging portable device and wireless network technologies have the potential to significantly enhance the experience of a visit to a museum. On the exhibit floor, visitors carrying wirelessly connected devices can be given opportunities for exploration, sharing, explanations, context, background, analytical tools, and suggestions for related experiences. In addition, conventional desktop and Internet technologies can help extend the visit: in advance, through activities that orient visitors, and afterward, through opportunities to reflect and explore related ideas. Figure 1 Potential users trying an early prototype at the Uffizi Gallery These visitors are varied, ranging from children on school outings to adults with a passion for art. These learners may have been forced to go by a teacher or spouse, or they may be eager to experience as much as possible themselves. Their motivations might range from learning just enough to pass the test, to seeking enrichment and enlightenment. The Museum strand gathered data initially through questionnaires with visitors and museum staff, then ran field trials with prototypes once they were available. Business strand The second strand represents formal learning and serves business students, both novice first year students and MBA (Master of Business Administration) students. The MBA students are usually highly motivated, extremely busy, and want value for their time and money. Novices may be less demanding and need more support initially, including help in getting around the campus and meeting other students. MOBIlearn addressed both of these student types by providing an Orientation Game for the novices and a collaborative support system for the MBA students. The Orientation Game involves inducting undergraduate students on their entry into the university and supports ad hoc, situation based, serendipitous learning. The advantage of a game context is that the learning is condensed in a comparatively short and intensive period of time. This allows us to observe requirements and effects more clearly than if it is embedded in normal student life. Furthermore, it is assumed that playing games is an interesting learning approach with its own value – after all, gaming is such a fundamental learning style that it is embedded in the human (and animal) genes. The game could be undertaken by executive MBAs; however because of limited field access we chose to use Bachelor students new to the University. This scenario shows the power of ambient learning intelligence in location-based services. The second case study, the Case Study Scenario, was tested with “real” executive MBAs of the University of Zurich. The Case Study Scenario involves executive MBA students following their studies as they work professionally at the same time and covers a teacher-oriented perspective on modern learning. We chose the form of a case study because it is the typical learning form of an MBA. Furthermore it allows us to link the student’s business experiences with the material of the case study. The students have to collaborate with other students and members of their own company. This scenario shows the power of ambient learning intelligence in different learning locations The MBA strand observed and interviewed students and educators to discover requirements. The requirements ranged from making and sharing annotations of PowerPoint slides to remote control of a classroom projector. Health strand The health strand is an example of learning on the job. Initially, we considered several different themes for the Health strand, e.g. general well-being, telematics in support of specialist care, and cancer support. It was not practical to address all of these areas and so the health strand looked at the need for periodic training and updating of skills for first aid workers. First aiders need occasional reinforcement because some time may elapse between their initial training and an event requiring a specific piece of knowledge. There are various information sources targeted at first aid (e.g. which could be accessed by users in a real emergency. Whilst such sites are not envisaged in the MOBIlearn project as a substitute for proper training or advice from a qualified medical practitioner, it would clearly be useful for users to browse such information so that they would be prepared if there were no other options available to them. For example, mountain bikers might like to have acquainted themselves with how to react to a possible broken limb (e.g. don’t try to move the victim) which may occur in an isolated location before they leave. Interactive multimedia medical courseware products have been developed by others for first aid training. User-friendliness, consistency and monitoring of information update are believed to be key issues for market uptake. Using a Web/CD product, citizens will be able to train themselves at a basic level in emergency medicine, in addition to more traditional approaches. The Health strand employed Future Technology Workshops (FTWs) (Vavoula et al, 2002) with first aiders in a University setting. 3. Establishing Requirements MOBIlearn used a variety of techniques to gather data during the requirements activity. This information fed the generation and refinement of scenarios that were used to inform envisionment, design and evaluation. The process was very iterative and these scenarios were, in turn, mined for requirements. Figure 2 below illustrates the overall process, with the experts creating the first set of scenarios which in turn generated the first early requirements for the system. The data gathering exercises with users validated these requirements, produced new ones, and helped to define acceptance criteria. Figure 2 The relationship between scenarios and requirements As requirements were identified, they were captured using Volere shells (Robertson and Robertson, 2006) and through a requirements management database they were made available for all partners to view and comment upon. Each of the strands produced a set of requirements, and many of these overlapped. Furthermore, each of the techniques was deployed by different researchers from various backgrounds, none of whom had used the Volere shell before. They had differing views of what requirements should look like. So requirements sometimes sounded like goals, e.g., “support the learner in everyday situations” but did not specify what the mobile system should do to fulfil this requirement. So one of the challenges the team faced was to rationalise the requirements and identify generic requirements. To do this, use case diagrams were developed from the scenarios and were used to compare the requirements emerging from the different data gathering activities. We don’t explore the role of use case diagrams in this case study, but the generic use case model that was developed in this way is shown in Figure 3. Once a reconciled specification could be developed this was handed to the technical partners to implement the relevant services. EA EA 3 3. 51 0.1 Setup 3 EA nr -U 3 3 e nr 51 3. 3 3. 51 e nr EA –
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