CEN WS-LT - Overview
The CEN Workshop for Learning Technologies was officially launched in February 1999. The initial activity of the Workshop has been the preparation of a report identifying requirements for standards-related activity in relation to learning technologies. This report was published as CEN Workshop Agreement CWA 14040 in October 2000 on which the following objective is based.
European Committee for Standardization
The Workshop's objective is to encourage the effective development and use of relevant and appropriate standards for learning technologies for Europe by
The workshop on learning technologies is - like other CEN Workshops - an open working group aimed at producing specifications on a consensus basis, as guidance or other material. The Workshop is open to all; it makes use of electronic working methods, enabling participation by companies, organisations and academia without the need for attendance in person at the Workshop meetings.
- Encouraging participation in global initiatives in order to ensure that diverse European requirements are properly addressed by those global initiatives;
- Creating specifications, agreements, guidelines or recommendations where appropriate, i.e. when no initiative addressing the identified requirements is in place yet or when global solutions developed elsewhere need to be localized to European requirements;
- Providing a forum for the development and implementation of requirements-driven Learning Technologies e.g. through the development of a network or test bed for interoperability testing or through the creation of reference examples;
- Carefully examining and taking into account the various effects, of the diversity of cultural backgrounds and languages that exists within Europe, on learning and training technology standards;
- Publicizing the Learning Technologies Workshop's activities and results to relevant European projects, technology developers and end users;
- Providing a discussion forum for European projects and other initiatives.
The CEN Workshops produce CEN Workshop Agreements (CWAs), which are consensus-based specifications drawn up in the special open Workshop environment. They are developed along straightforward lines, with a minimum of bureaucratic rules. CWAs may contain technical specifications, but they may also contain guidance material of a purely informative nature, such as guidelines or codes of practice, or they may address the implementation of existing standards.
A CWA reflects the consensus of identified companies and organisations responsible for its contents. Unlike a European Standard, it does not depend upon the votes of national delegations for its acceptance, nor is it designed to support legislative requirements. Instead, its purpose is to offer interested parties a flexible and timely tool for achieving a technical agreement where there is no prevailing desire or support for a formal standard to be developed. Approved CWAs are however published by CEN National Members (the national standards bodies).CEN Learning Technologies Workshop
The current work programme in the CEN/ISSS WS-LT is organised around four projects:
- European Model for Learner Competencies
- Accesibility Properties for Learning Resources
- Harmonisation of Vocabularies
- Interoperability of Repositories for Learning
|Previous activities of the WSLT included investigations into digital rights and copyright protection, interoperability frameworks, learner profiles, accessibility, harmonisation of vocabularies, and the establishment of a learning technology observatory. More specifically, below are enumerated and described the previous activities of the learning technologies workshop:
- Copyright. As digital learning materials become more widely available and it becomes easier to edit, combine and redistribute resources, the issues of digital rights and copyright protection become even more complex. Publishers want to protect their investment against illegal copying and non-commercial organisations or individuals want mechanisms to share materials with certain restrictions.
The Workshop examined digital rights management and coordinated with international developments and offered a European perspective. In particular, it focused on use cases and best practice, links to standardization initiatives and made suggestions for developing and harmonising European educational licence conditions.
- Interoperability Frameworks. Most of the information that supports school administration is now stored and transferred electronically. It is important that the correct information is preserved and that information remains up-to-date in all instances of a record, but this is often made difficult because not every application uses the same vocabularies, format and structure.
The Workshop aimed to provide interoperability specifications for a range of information exchange. This work item support the outputs of the OASIS project (Open Architecture and Schools in Society - IST-2000-26216), that enables different applications and systems to share information and the SIF project (Schools Interoperability Framework).
Existing specifications were adapted to meet the needs of a broader audience so they are suitable for standardization. Any specifications produced should not duplicate international standards activity. Additional information available at Interoperability frameworks for exchange of information between diverse management systems
- Learner Profiles. It is inevitable that information about users will be stored electronically and transferred between learning systems. There are issues about privacy and data protection but it is important that various systems can interoperate to exchange learner information records. The Workshop dealed with the development of data models, protocols and bindings that are capable of expressing specific European requirements and concerns for learner information, for example an acceptable model for handling competency that allows the secure handling of this personal information in open and distributed learning environments.
The development of European contributions as part of future international standards was required in order to avoid conflict with European privacy or security demands. The Workshop encouraged harmonization of effort and provided input into international activities such as Participant Information being developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 36 and the Learner Information Package from the IMS Global Consortium.
The Workshop produced recommendations for a European competency repository and various mappings taking into account the European Diploma Supplement, CEDEFOP specifications (European CV format, CV supplement) and language capability definitions. More information available at Handling of Learner Profiles in IT - supported learing environments from a European perspective
- Accessibility. Accessibility to all forms of information and communication technologies for everyone, regardless of their requirements and abilities, was a high priority. The Web Accessibility Initiative of W3C enables, for instance, production of web-sites that are accessible to all, including people that are visually impaired.
The Workshop studied the accessibility requirements for learning objects for learning communities with special needs. One specific activity was to propose vocabulary and elements extensions to be integrated into the IEEE LOM. More information available at Description of Language Resource Capabilities with Respect to Accessibility Requirements
- The Learning Technologies Standards Observatory. (The current Web site) Uptake of learning technology standards is increasing, with numerous commercial products under development, and many RTD projects exploring the issues in this area.
However, there is widespread confusion and misunderstanding about the relationships between the relevant standards and specifications, as well as between the organisations that develop, define, profile or implement them.
To respond to this need, the Learning Technologies Workshop decided to establish an accessible and sustainable web-based repository that acts as a focal access point to projects, results, activities and organisations that are relevant to the development and adoption of e-learning technology standards.
What is thus offered is a neutral source that addresses for instance the relationship and main differences among specifications and standards for the same category (e.g. how do IEEE/LTSC LOM and IMS metadata interrelate).
- The on-line repository of taxonomies and vocabularies. A web based registry of vocabularies, thesauri, classifications, taxonomies relevant to the field of education and learning technology, is available to assist the users of the Learning Object Metadata model who want to create their own controlled vocabulary while indexing their resources.
Users should contribute to the repository’s maintenance by submitting new descriptions of a vocabulary, taxonomy, and thesaurus or by modifying an existing description. Links to the registry are provided through the Workshop’s home-page. More information available at Repository of taxonomies/vocabularies for a European Learning Society
- Quality Assurance. The public perception of the quality and awards obtained through learning schemes that involve use of learning technologies must not be compromised if such schemes are to flourish.
Standards on quality requirements of different processes cannot be established before the processes themselves are defined. Moreover, such standards should not be prescriptive, especially when dealing with stylistic or pedagogical issues. As an example, descriptive elements might be used to ensure the transparency of design and development processes. Such elements may include reports and documentation.
The Workshop produced an analysis of existing approaches, focusing on two main aspects: Process-oriented approaches and transparency of learning resources. The outcome of the project was CWA 14644, "Quality Assurance Standards for IT-supported Learning, Education and Training", published in January 2003. More information available at Quality assurance
- Now that LOM is formally approved in IEEE, the CEN/ISSS/WS/LT has initiated a process to translate it into a number of European languages. Translations are available for downloading from this web-site:
|From its very start, the Learning Technologies Workshop has decided, as a matter of principle, to not duplicate work that is already done elsewhere. The work for instance that was done in relation to the IEEE LTSC Learning Object Metadata (LOM) is a clear example of this principle.
Similar to IEEE/LTSC, the Learning Technologies Workshop has a special status towards the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC36 committee on Learning Technologies, which enables it to feed its deliverables into the formal international standardization process for becoming ISO/IEC standards. For instance, results on Quality Assurance and on Description of Language Capabilities have been input into SC36’s work programme.
Technical specification providers such as the ones mentioned in an earlier section are also following up on the work of the Learning Technologies Workshop. They are feeding their experiences into the Workshop or including the Workshop’s results into their own specifications.
Finally, in the domain of eLearning and eTraining, considerable efforts are invested under the IST programme as well as via many national or European initiatives. Projects producing specifications, architectures, reference models, etc. with an interest of getting a broader support and recognition of their work, can use the Workshop as a useful tool for reaching a European-wide consensus on their deliverables.
InLOC structures and integrates learning outcomes and competences
( 13/12/2012 )
|Comments now can help it be most usefulInLOC -- "Integrating Learning Outcomes and Competences" -- is a project of the CEN Workshop on Learning Technologies, to produce a CEN Workshop Agreement, which is later intended to form the basis of a European Standard. Its subject -- information defining and structuring learning outcomes and competences ("LOCs") -- is important for training and educational information systems, for recruitment systems, for many other systems involved in learning, development, assessment or recognition of skills or competence, and for advances in learner mobility and the labour market.
InLOC provides a relatively simple model for this information in terms of separate "LOC definitions", each of which defines a particular learning outcome: an area of knowledge, a skill or a competence of an individual. LOC definitions are associated together within "LOC structures". This kind of structure can be found in many places, sometimes called "skills frameworks" or "competence frameworks", or sometimes "occupational standards". Representing levels of skill or competence has been a major obstacle in the past, and InLOC introduces a novel approach which is both quite simple and intuitive, and rich enough to support many envisaged functional requirements.
InLOC does not itself define any learning outcomes or competences, but provides a model and guidelines for authorities to define and communicate the ones they own, for use by learners and others.
The InLOC project has consulted many stakeholders, and examined many existing published frameworks and structures. But to ensure that it is effective and fit for purpose, it needs to be checked out fully in practice. Both framework owners, and developers of tools and services, can help at this point. Firstly, they can look through InLOC's final draft materials, and add comments where improvements could possibly be made. Secondly, they can try out the InLOC approach, with help or guidance from the team (up to the end of the InLOC project), and feed back any suggestions to make it even more useful and effective. Any comments will be warmly welcomed by the team.