Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Towards Situation Driven Mobile Tutoring System for Learning Languages and Communication Skills: Application to Users with Specific Needs

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Towards Situation Driven Mobile Tutoring System for Learning Languages and Communication Skills: Application to Users with Specific Needs

Article excerpt

Introduction

Advances in mobile devices and related technologies are increasingly allowing the emergence of new applications. However, the very changing characteristics of mobile devices and their surrounding environment may lead to undesired and unpredictable situations preventing the user to use required services at a given time. Moreover, even though those characteristics may still unchanged, the user's mobility or her disabilities implies new or different situations and activities requiring new supporting services or adaptation of existing ones (Conde et al., 2009). For instance, during a common day life, the user may experience activities within which she is required to communicate and use domain specific expressions. She may be required to speak in a different language than her native or also experience strong communication problems and can't be aware of her surrounding environment (Massaro, 2004).

Acquiring new communication skills in formal or informal way by making use of technology have been addressed by researches since a long time (Shute & Zapata-Rivera, 2012). Indeed many researches in e-learning had established pedagogical methods, standards, tools and platforms in order to support learners and to provide them with learning as well as assessment activities for learning languages or social skills (Grawemeyer, Johnson, Brosnan, Ashwin, & Benton, 2012).

Some have addressed communication aspects intended to people with disabilities such as autism or impaired hearing (Jaballah & Jemni, 2013; El-Sattar, 2008; Venkatesh, Greenhill, Phung, Adams, & Duong, 2012). While others have focused on reviews to establish the effectiveness of the use of computer to educating people with disabilities (Askari et al., 2015; Sansosti, Doolan, Remaklus, Krupko, & Sansosti, 2014; Sanchez, Bartel, Brown, & DeRosier, 2014).

New challenging learning scenarios taking into account the learner's context has been also provided in e-learning settings and many attempts are being taken in the context of mobile learning (Boticario & Santos, 2007; Fragale, 2014; Judy & Krishnakumar, 2012).

Moreover, intelligent adaptability aspects have been already successfully integrated in ITSs which are considered as a particular category of one-on-one e-learning systems. For instance, ITSs main purposes are to simulate the real teacher's behavior and adapt learning processes and content to one's learners specific needs (Murray, 1999). Unfortunately, this kind of adaptation is always defined at design time. Additionally, even though there are some works that have tackled mobility issues for ITSs (Badaracco, Liu, & Martinez, 2013), those ITSs' architectures have not addressed modularity or dynamic adaptability to take account new user's mobile devices, physical contexts and new emerging needs especially those related to the appropriate use of a language within a specific context (Mahmoud, Belal & Helmy, 2014).

In order to overcome those drawbacks, relevant mechanisms dealing with context awareness, mobility, adaptability as well as adaptation of mobile apps are strongly required.

This paper, aims to provide an adaptable and re-configurable mobile ITS for supporting learning approaches addressed specifically to learning languages and communication skills for people with disabilities. In this ITS, mobility, context awareness and adaptability are addressed by combining and porting OSGi features and Semantic Web technologies on top of an Android platform.

The main contributions of the present paper are (1) the learning approach adopted to take advantages of the user's context (mobility and specific needs) and the ITS provided (2) the flexible ITS's architecture and its modular, lightweight and fine grained components (3) the mechanism provided for handling the user's context and the model on which it is based and (4) the semantic and ontological descriptions of the user's mobile context, the learning approach as well as the components and services provided by the ITS. …

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